Change PowerPoint Slide Size or Aspect Ratio (16:9, 4:3 or a Custom Size)

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated October 26, 2019

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can change slide size or aspect ratio in Microsoft PowerPoint from widescreen to standard or vice versa. Widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) is the default in 2013 and later versions of PowerPoint and standard (4:3 aspect ratio) is the default in 2010 and earlier versions. You can also enter a custom slide size if you prefer (including entering slide size in pixels). The best time to set slide size is when you first set up your PowerPoint presentation before you add any content. If you change the size later in the process, you may have to deal with distorted pictures and you may also need to adjust the position and size of various objects on slides in Normal View and in the slide master(s) and layouts in Slide Master View.

The most common slide sizes or aspect ratios are normally used as follows:

  • Widescreen or 16:9 aspect ratio is frequently used for onscreen presentations using a projector, monitor or a widescreen TV. Older projectors used the standard aspect ratio but most new projectors are designed for widescreen.
  • Standard or 4:3 aspect ratio is often used if slides are intended to be printed on letter size paper.

You should never change slide size just before running a presentation as you may not be satisfied with the results. If you already have a presentation with images and other content, it’s also a good idea to change slide size on a copy of the presentation so you can keep the original deck and slide size.

Note: Some Ribbon tabs may appear with slightly different names if you are working with Office 365 and have a smaller screen or different display settings. Buttons on the Ribbon may appear as icons only and are also affected by screen size and display settings.

Recommended article: How to Add Slide Numbers in PowerPoint (The Complete Guide)

To change slide size in 2010, click Page Setup on the Design tab in the Ribbon:

Page setup button on the Design tab in PowerPoint 2010 to change slide size.

To change slide size in 2013 and later versions, click Slide Size on the Design tab in the Ribbon:

Slide size button on the Design tab in PowerPoint 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 to change slide size.

Setting or changing PowerPoint slide size

Regardless of the version of PowerPoint you use, you should go through your slides after you change slide size to be sure you are satisfied with the results. Be sure to check the slide master(s) and layouts in Slide Master View as well.

To set or change slide size in PowerPoint 2010:

  1. In Normal View, click the Design tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Page Setup in the Page Setup group. A dialog box appears.
  3. Select an option from the drop-down menu under Slide Size. If you’d like to set a custom size, enter the desired dimensions.
  4. Click OK.

To set or change slide size in PowerPoint 2013:

  1. In Normal View, click the Design tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Size in the Customize group. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Select Widescreen, Standard or another option from the drop-down menu. If you’d like to set a custom size, select Custom Slide Size. A dialog box appears.
  4. Enter the desired dimensions or select another option under Slide Size.
  5. Click OK.

To set or change slide size in PowerPoint 2016 and later versions:

  1. In Normal View, click the Design tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Size in the Customize group. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Select Widescreen, Standard or another option from the drop-down menu. If you’d like to set a custom size, select Custom Slide Size. A dialog box appears.
  4. Enter the desired dimensions or select another option under Slide Size.
  5. Click OK. In 2016 and later versions, a dialog box appears with options to maximize content or scale to fit (this dialog appears only if you are moving from a larger to a smaller slide size).
  6. Select the desired option.
  7. Click OK.

In 2016 and later versions, PowerPoint offers to maximize content or scale to fit only when you change slide size to a smaller size (such as widescreen to standard):

PowerPoint dialog box to maximize or ensure fit when changing slide size to a smaller size.

If you select Maximize, the slide content will not be resized when you change to the smaller slide size.

If you select Ensure Fit, PowerPoint will scale your content to fit the smaller slide size.

Entering custom slide sizes

If you have selected Page Setup in 2010 or Slide Size and then Custom Slide Size in 2013 and later versions, you can use custom slide sizes. Simply choose options from the Slides sized for drop-down menu in the dialog box (such as A4 paper size) or enter custom dimensions.

Note that the measurement system in PowerPoint dialog boxes is based on your system settings. If you would like to change the measurement system, check out our article on How to Change the Measurement System in PowerPoint.

The following dialog box appears in 2010 when you select Page Setup:

PowerPoint Page Setup dialog box in 2010 to change slide size.

The following dialog box appears in 2013 and later versions when you select Slide Size and then Custom Slide Size:

PowerPoint Slide Size dialog box to change slide size in 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365.

You can create posters in PowerPoint by entering a custom slide size such as 36 inches wide by 56 inches high or 91.44 cm wide by 142.24 cm high. The maximum slide size in PowerPoint is 56 inches or 142.24 cm. As a best practice, set the slide size before adding content to the poster.

Many PowerPoint users are not aware that you can enter slide size in pixels (simply enter the measurement with px beside the number). This is useful in a number of situations such as using PowerPoint to create social media posts. If you enter slide size in pixels (such as 200px), when you tab to another box or close the dialog box, PowerPoint changes the pixels to the equivalent in the current measurement system.

Dealing with issues when changing slide size

When changing slide size in existing presentations with content, 4 common issues occur:

  • Pictures may be distorted as PowerPoint tries to adjust images to fit slide size. Images on slides in Normal View will be affected as well as images on the slide master(s) and layouts. If pictures are distorted, you will need to either manually resize each image or delete them and insert them again.
  • Objects such as placeholders and shapes that have been created in PowerPoint are not in the position you’d like. You may need to move objects or reset one or more slides (on the Home tab in the Ribbon, click Reset in the Slides group).
  • Extra space is created if you change to a larger slide size. You may need to move or resize objects and adjust the slide master(s) or layouts in Slide Master View.
  • If you have changed to a smaller slide size, you may need to increase font size for placeholders and text boxes.

Dimension differences between PowerPoint 2010 and later versions

In PowerPoint 2010, when widescreen (16:9) format is selected, the slide dimensions are 10 inches wide by 5.63 inches high or 25.4 cm wide by 14.29 cm high. When standard (4:3) format is selected, the dimensions are 10 inches wide by 7.5 inches high or 25.4 cm high by 19.05 cm high.

In PowerPoint 2013 and later versions, widescreen (16:9) format measurements are different and are set to 13.33 inches wide by 7.5 inches high or 33.867 cm wide by 19.05 cm high. This matches the height of the 4:3 format.

If you want PowerPoint 2010 to use the same dimensions for widescreen format as newer versions, you’ll need to enter the same dimensions as 2013 in the Page Setup dialog box.

Recap

To avoid issues in PowerPoint related to slide size, you should:

  • Try to set slide size as a first step after you create a presentation and before you have entered any content. In 2013 and later versions, the default is widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio).
  • If you have changed slide size in a presentation with content, review your slides to be sure you are satisfied with the results. You should also check the slide master(s) and layouts in Slide Master View.
  • Never change slide size just before running a presentation as you may not be pleased with the results and you won’t have time to fix your slide deck.
  • If you have created a presentation with content, make a copy of the presentation first and change slide size on the copy.

Keep in mind that widescreen is normally used for on screen presentations and standard is often used for printed presentations.

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Summary
How to Change PowerPoint Slide Size from Standard to Widescreen and Vice Versa
Article Name
How to Change PowerPoint Slide Size from Standard to Widescreen and Vice Versa
Description
You can change slide size or aspect ratio in Microsoft PowerPoint from widescreen to standard or vice versa. Widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) is the default in 2013 and later versions of PowerPoint and standard (4:3 aspect ratio) is the default in 2010 and earlier versions. You can also enter a custom slide size if you prefer (including entering slide size in pixels).
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Avantix Learning Inc.

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