Widescreen PowerPoint presentations: making the switch from 4:3 to 16:9

 

Widescreen PowerPoint presentations: making the switch from 4:3 to 16:9

01 Jan Widescreen PowerPoint presentations: making the switch from 4:3 to 16:9

Story ByElizabeth M.
Illustration ByLauren M.

Since becoming the universal standard aspect ratio, we’ve seen 16:9 widescreen monitors, laptops, TV’s and projectors become commonplace. PowerPoint jumped on board in 2013 by setting their default aspect ratio to 16:9. With the push to go wide, is it time for you to make the switch from 4:3 to 16:9? Widescreen PowerPoint is here to stay, folks. 

If your presentation is going to be shown on a 16:9 screen, and odds are that it is, it should be created in 16:9 as well. Widescreen monitors and TV monitors are prevalent in today’s marketplace and are used in many business meeting rooms and conferences. If your presentation is going to be at a conference, knowing the dimensions of the screens in the meeting rooms is key! Large convention halls and larger meeting rooms often have wide screens set up, whereas smaller breakout rooms tend to use 4:3 screens.

Widescreen PowerPoint presentations

While many screens are now widescreen format, the 4:3 ratio is still appropriate for the remaining 4:3 monitors, meeting room screens and projectors, as well as the iPad. While the growing number of tablets continue to battle over 4:3 and 16:9, it is important to recognize the 4:3 aspect ratio iPad and its dominance as the tablet of choice for business.

In a perfect world, you’d have one master template to accommodate both 4:3 and 16:9 formats, but unfortunately it’s not that simple.

A 4:3 ratio can be shown on a 16:9 screen or projector, but there will be black bars on each side of the slide. This is not an ideal way to showcase your content, but because the slide is full height, the text on the slide will appear as it should. When a 16:9 presentation is shown on a 4:3 screen there will be black bars on top and below the slide. This happens because the entire height of the screen is not filled by the slide, and this will make the text on the slide smaller than planned.

Important tips for making the switch to widescreen PowerPoint

If you merely switch the page set up of your PowerPoint presentation from 4:3 to 16:9, template artwork will be stretched out of proportion. And nothing diminishes your professional credibility more than having your own company’s logo stretched out of shape on all of your slides. To combat this, you’ll need to create a new widescreen PowerPoint template.

Each slide in a 4:3 presentation will need to be reconstructed to avoid proportion issues. To properly transition from 4:3 to 16:9:

  1. Copy the content from the 4:3 slides and paste it onto the 16:9 slides. 
  2. If you have photos on the 4:3 slides, go back to the source image and re-crop to fit the images in the new layout. 
  3. Diagrams, charts and tables can typically be stretched without affecting the contents too much, especially trend data, so copying and pasting should work for these as well.

 

If you find that your presentations are being shown in a widescreen format and you are still using your 4:3 presentation template, it may be time for you to move to 16:9. In addition to better utilizing available space, widescreen PowerPoint presentations come across as more modern. They also look much better when converted to video for sharing on YouTube, phones, or your website.

Worried about damaging your carefully crafted presentation with too much copying, pasting, and cropping? Consider partnering with design pros to create a 16:9 presentation template for you. With a solid foundation in place, you can get straight to work creating your presentations in both 4:3 and 16:9. 

If you’re looking to up your game with both beautiful and functional presentations, we’ve got you. Let’s get started.

There’s more where that came from:

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