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Make screenshow fill a wide screen display


You have a laptop with a wide-screen display. When you start a PowerPoint slide show, it doesn't fill the screen. Instead, it leaves black on either side. Or maybe it fills the screen but distorts the pictures on your slides.

Can't it fill the screen instead? Without making messes?


Yes, it can. PowerPoint will display your slides as large as it can without cropping. If the proportions of the slide don't match the screen proportions, then it can't fill the full screen, so it fills in the rest with black.

If you want PowerPoint to completely fill the screen with your slides you simply have to make your slides the same proportion as the screen.

There are several ways of doing this.

The simplest method is to use PPTools Resize, a PowerPoint add-in that's custom-written for just this purpose. It does in seconds what it'll take you hours to do manually.

But if you have hours to kill:

Start by making a copy of your presentation to work on, then do this (assuming a wider-than-average screen):

How big should you make the page?

PowerPoint MVP Austin Myers has a free program that figures this out for you

To calculate the value yourself, you need to know the width and height of your screen in pixels. To get this:

(On Mac, use System Preferences, Displays to get the current display Resolution setting)

Now use this formula to get the correct value for your PowerPoint Slide width:

Slidewidth = (Screenwidth x Slideheight) / Screenheight

In other words:

Note: As Keith Ratner of SkillzDesign pointed out on the PPT newsgroup recently, keep your slide width at 10" and the height proportional to your intended screen size so you can print to normal letter/A4 size paper without having to remember to checkmark "Fit to page" every time you print.

What if the presentation's already done - and set up for a normal 4:3 ratio screen?
You have a bit more work cut out for you.

You'll probably have to make a few other tweaks to the layout, but on the whole, this should get you there with minimal stress.

PPT 2003: Use the MS Script Editor to reset the size
This works in PowerPoint 2003 (and probably 2002 and 2000). See below for a similar solution for 2007.

Choose Tools, Macro, Microsoft Script Editor

In the pane on the right, double-click pres.xml

Near the beginning of pres.xml, you'll find a line something like this:

<p:presentation sizeof="screen" gridspacingx="49152" gridspacingy="49152">

Change it to this:

<p:presentation sizeof="custom" slidesizex="7680" slidesizey="4320" 
gridspacingx="49152"   gridspacingy="49152">

When you switch back to PowerPoint from the Script Editor, you'll see a toolbar that has "Refresh" and "Do not Refresh" buttons. Click Refresh.

Your presentation will be reset to 13.33 x 7.5 inches (or 16x9 format). The original contents of the slide will be on the left side of the screen, but nothing will be distorted. Select and recenter everything on the slide and you're good to go.

To choose different dimensions, multiply the dimension (in inches) you want by 576.

Enter the results in slidesizex= (for the width) and slidesizey= (for the height).

PPT 2007: edit the XML

Find this text:

<p:sldSz cx="9144000" cy="6858000" type="screen4x3"/>

Change it to:

<p:sldSz cx="12191996" cy="6858000" type="screen4x3"/>

This changes the width of your slides from 10 inches to 13.333 inches and leaves the 7.5 inch height alone, giving you a 16x9 proportioned slide.

For different proportions, work out the slide width you need (in inches), multiply it by 914400 and use that new value in cx= above.

Your presentation will be in wide-screeen format. All the shapes on each slide will be at the far left of the slide but undistorted. Select and re-center them on the slide.

Automate it with VBA
This little macro will paste Metafile images of each of the slides in your source presentation into the new wider presentation, size them to fit the new slide height (less a safe margin you can specify yourself) and center them on the page.

It only works in PPT 2003 (or possibly higher, but not in earlier versions)

Sub ImportAndCenter()
' Imports an image of each slide in a source presentation into the target presentation
' sizes it appropriately and centers it
' Run this with two presentations open
' The presentation you want to import INTO should be the active presentation

    Dim oSourcePres As Presentation
    Dim otargetPres As Presentation
    Dim oSourceSlide As Slide
    Dim otargetSlide As Slide
    Dim oSh As Shape
    Dim dSafeMargin As Double

    ' This forces the pasted slide to be a bit smaller than the slide you're pasting into
    dSafeMargin = 18    ' margin is in points; 72 points to the inch
                        ' and will be added both top and bottom

    If Presentations.Count <> 2 Then
        MsgBox "You should have two and only two presentations open before running this macro."
        Exit Sub
    End If

    Set otargetPres = ActivePresentation
    If Presentations(1).Name = otargetPres.Name Then
        Set oSourcePres = Presentations(2)
        Set oSourcePres = Presentations(1)
    End If

    ' Test
    Debug.Print otargetPres.Name
    Debug.Print oSourcePres.Name

    For Each oSourceSlide In oSourcePres.Slides
        Set otargetSlide = otargetPres.Slides.Add(otargetPres.Slides.Count + 1, ppLayoutBlank)
        Set oSh = otargetSlide.Shapes.PasteSpecial(ppPasteEnhancedMetafile)(1)

        ' maintain shape's aspect ratio
        oSh.LockAspectRatio = msoTrue

        With otargetPres.PageSetup
            ' match pasted shape to new slide's height
            ' this assumes pasting from a "normal" aspect ratio slide
            ' into a wider than normal one
            oSh.height = .Slideheight - (dSafeMargin * 2)

            ' if going the other way, comment out the above and uncomment this
            'osh.width = .Slidewidth

            ' center the shape
            oSh.Left = (.Slidewidth - oSh.width) / 2
            oSh.Top = (.Slideheight - oSh.height) / 2

        End With

End Sub

See How do I use VBA code in PowerPoint? to learn how to use this example code.

Using a Plasma display?
Mike M, famous on the PPT Newsgroup for both his technical prowess and unusual dietary proclivities, warns that plasma screens are more prone to burn-in than other types. That is, if you leave anything on the screen for extended periods of time, it's liable to burn the image into the screen so that it's visible there even when nothing's being projected. That's an expensive mistake!

More info here:
xLCD TVs versus Plasma TVs

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Make screenshow fill a wide screen display
Last update 21 October, 2011