Different Slide Formats: How to Customize Your Presentations

PowerPoint presentations are usually 16:9, landscape format, which is a good choice for presentations on standard monitors and most projectors. Even if you’re handing out your presentations and planning to print them later, portrait is often a better choice than landscape. However, it’s not uncommon to find 4:3 monitors and projectors as well as (pivot) monitors in portrait format. In these situations, you will need to adapt the format of your presentation. Thankfully, PowerPoint leaves all formatting options open to you.

How to Change the Slide Format

  • Select the Design tab in the toolbar ribbon. Click Slide Size on the far right side of the toolbar.
  • In the dropdown menu you can select 4:3 and 16:9, or choose your own slide size by clicking Custom Slide Size.
  • If a presentation is already set to landscape and you would like to change it to portrait, click Portrait under Orientation.

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Now you can create your presentation using the new slide format. Remember to scale any pre-formatted content if you want to switch to portrait or A4 for handouts. You’ll need to experiment a bit with the scaling to see what works best with the layout and structure of your slides.

Unfortunately this can cause problems, since layouts designed for landscape format can rarely be scaled without affecting their appearance. Adjusting each slide can also be a tedious and complicated task. The best way around this problem is to know what format you want to use before you start building your presentation. You can also create a second set of slides in in a different format, which is the easiest option for short presentations.