Before you start designing a new presentation, you do well to ask yourself what slide format you need to give your public an optimal viewing experience. Should your slides have 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio to make full use of the projection screen? PowerPoint does not help you which format to choose, it opens a new presentation automatically in widescreen format. So be aware!
The standard output on monitors and screens used to be 4:3. Now the format of most screens is 16:9 or widescreen. PowerPoint has gone through the same evolution, as since 2010 the default dimensions of new presentations are 16:9 (although the slide size 4:3 is still called ‘Standard’ in PowerPoint)
Forewarned is forearmed, but sometimes you do not know in advance which kind of screen will be used. If you’ve made the wrong choice and made a widescreen presentation that you have to display on a 4:3 projector screen or vice versa, your slides will not fill the entire screen. Either horizontally or vertically you’re will lose a part of your projection space. The black bars in the pictures underneath illustrate this.
So the worst case scenario is not too bad! But try to avoid it if you can.
Of course, you can convert your presentation into the right format, but this can cost you a great deal of time. In a future article I’ll tell you how to fix this.