Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Do you have a widescreen monitor? What you need to know about creating a PowerPoint presentation

If you have a widescreen monitor and create PowerPoint presentations, there are a few things you should know about aspect ratios. All monitors have an aspect ratio. That’s the ratio of the monitor's width to height. If you create your PowerPoint presentation with the wrong aspect ratio, your presentation might not appear correctly when you make your presentation.

Presenting a PowerPoint presentation in a Smart Classroom

If you have received a widescreen display or a widescreen laptop, you do not need to do anything differently. Currently, our Smart Classrooms are still using the full screen aspect ratio of 4:3. Therefore, you should continue creating your PowerPoint presentations in 4:3 mode. This is the default in PowerPoint. When you preview a 4:3 PowerPoint presentation on your widescreen display, you will notice that there are black areas on the right and left sides. However, the projectors, display monitors, and projection screens in the majority our Smart Classrooms are still configured to the 4:3 aspect ratio, so your PowerPoint presentation will look best if left at 4:3.

If you know your presentation will be made using a widescreen projector

NOTE: The Fine Arts Center and the Bytwerk Theatre have widescreen projectors. If you know you are making your presentation in one of those locations you should create your presentation in a widescreen format.

If you know for sure that your presentation will be displayed on a widescreen display (either a wallboard, the projection screen in the art history classroom, a widescreen monitor or laptop at an info booth, etc), you will want to create your PowerPoint presentation in widescreen format or change it to this format. If the presentation is already created, you can convert it to the widescreen format.

Windows users:

  1. Click the Design tab in the ribbon
  2. Click Page Setup on the far left
  3. Changed the "Slides sized for:" option to 16:9.

Change format on PC

Mac users:

  1. Click the File menu > Page Setup
  2. Change "Slides sized for" to 16:9.

Be sure to save the presentation again after making this change. And, be sure to preview the presentation to verify that all the graphics display correctly. Switching from 4:3 to 16:9 will slightly stretch the contents of the presentation. The change to text is barely noticeable, but certain graphics like circular objects might be affected and you may want to manually re-size them after switching to 16:9. If you have not yet created your presentation, change the size to 16:9 first to avoid having to resize graphics.

Additional information can be found in Widescreen display FAQ