PowerPoint allows you to create awesome presentations with only a little effort. It has numerous customizable options to help you design the best way to show off your ideas and plans. However, you must ensure your content will fit on its slides before you can use it.
Generally, PowerPoint slides are big enough to hold a 1024 x 768-pixel image using the default settings. This resolution should work in most situations, but you can adjust the resolution of your slides as needed. Out of the box, PowerPoint will let you make slides up to 5376 x 5376 depending on your DPI.
While screen resolution is important, it is not the only factor that determines the size of a PowerPoint slide. By reading further, you will learn about these other characteristics and their available options.
The Default PowerPoint Slide Pixel Resolutions
Microsoft PowerPoint offers numerous customizable templates that allow you to quickly create awesome presentations. The user-friendly program makes it easy to look like a professional as you stand in front of the crowd with the full line of Office editing tools at your disposal. You even include attention-grabbing transitions, animations, videos, audio clips, and other forms of multimedia.
However, these benefits are nothing without fitting your content into the right resolution. Image resolution can greatly impact the quality and effectiveness of your presentation in seemingly unpredictable ways. As such, you always want to ensure everything has the right size on the screen.
Out of the box, that means your slides must be 1024 x 768 pixels in size with 96 dots per inch (DPI) resolution. These are PowerPoint’s default settings. This resolution will allow you to present your content on most PowerPoint-compatible display monitors and projectors regardless of their size.
Fortunately, PowerPoint lets you customize the size of your slides to an extent. You must use one of the included resolution settings, but they can help you make your content fill the screen.
These size and resolution options are:
- 640 x 480, 72 DPI
- 1024 x 600, 72, DPI
- 1024 x 768, 96 DPI
- 1280 x 720, 96 DPI
- 1366 x 768, 96 DPI
Keep reading to learn how to adjust your slide size.
How to Adjust PowerPoint Slide Size
While these are the PowerPoint pixel size options, you never directly work with them.
Instead, you use descriptive names that represent the display output such as:
- Letter Paper
You can find these settings in the Slide Size window you access by clicking on the “Slide Size” button from the ribbon menu. Depending on your version of PowerPoint, the Size window may be a menu or a pop-up window. The menu format will list the more common sizes along with a button to choose a custom size to access the others.
With either version, you will find a few configurable options once the Slide Size window opens up. The first is a large dropdown box that lists the default size parameters. You just choose the one you want from the list. Doing so may or may not alter the other options.
For instance, you can adjust the height and width separately, or select how many slides will use the size. The text boxes will accept measurements in inches (in), centimeters (cm), pixels (px), or points (pt).
You can set these values to anything you like but PowerPoint will limit your input to under:
- 56 x 56 in
- 142.24 x 142.24 cm
- 4032 x 4032 pts
- 5376 x 5376 px
Now, let’s see the forms of measurement PowerPoint uses.
PowerPoint Does Not Use Pixels to Measure Size
New PowerPoint users may find it hard to believe, but the software does not use pixels to define the size of elements. Instead, it measures text and images in points. It then converts these point measurements into your preferred system, which can be either inches, centimeters, or pixels.
Points come from typography and represent a real physical distance. A point is 1/72 inch, which translates to around 0.75 of a pixel on a 96 DPI monitor. This choice of internal measurement has a few consequences that can affect the look of your slides.
Because of these consequences, you may want to consider other resolution indicators than just pixel size.
For instance, PowerPoint only supports two aspect ratios. You can either use the Standard (4:3) or choose the Widescreen (16:9) option, and your choice can make a big difference.
Some common aspect ratios include:
- Laptops – 16:9
- MacBooks – 16:10
- Projectors – 4:3
- Large-format monitor – 16:9
Generally, you want to use the one that matches the aspect ratio of your display system. The wrong one can make your presentation look odd. If you watch movies adapted for television, you know how bad it can get.
PowerPoint displays its measurements based on the system specified by the operating system. As such, most of the time, you will want to set this option to inches. This is because most guides, projectors, monitors, and resolution options are in Dots Per Inch (DPI). DPI represents how many pixels fit in an inch of your display, letting you calculate the required slide size for various output devices.
For instance, the PowerPoint default of 96 DPI is not a high-definition format. As such, slides with the default settings can appear blurry if you display them on anything bigger than HD720p. If you lower them to 72 DPI, you can use displays that offer up to HD1080p. Though, you will want to set the DPI to around 144 if you want to use a 4k or 8k projector or monitor.
If you normally project presentations onto a wall, screen, or a large monitor, you may want to know if your slides hold up to scaling. Scaling has the effect of changing the DPI, which can skew the look of your slides to your audience.
For instance, using the standard Windows scaling settings, a slide that is originally 96 DPI can appear as 1920 DPI when scaled to twice its size. Thus, your slide would require twice the pixel resolution than it normally would to maintain optimal quality.
PowerPoint slides have a default pixel size which you can adjust according to your needs. You generally do this by selecting one of the preset resolutions, but you can also create custom settings. However, your slide size must fit the constraints of your presentation display.