IT and Library Services

How do I Present in Widescreen?



The University is carrying out a project to upgrade the equipment in all the shared teaching rooms and lecture theatres, so that our learning and teaching spaces support our future as a 21st Century University. As part of this process, the projectors in lecture theatres will use a widescreen format, 16:10, by default, rather than the previous 4:3 format.

As a result, you may want to start creating presentations that take advantage of the extra display space, using PowerPoint, Keynote or OpenOffice Impress.


Widescreen presentations in PowerPoint 2007

To create a PowerPoint presentation in 16:10 format, open a new presentation, select the "Design" tab, then click the "Page Setup" button (see figure 2).


In the "Page Setup" box which now appears, there is a section titled "Slides sized for:". Click the text underneath this (probably "On-screen Show (4:3)") and select "On-screen Show (16:10)" from the options that now appear. Finally, click OK to make the change in slide size.

If you want all new PowerPoint presentations to be widescreen by default, create a blank widescreen presentation as above, then follow the steps on

Widescreen presentations in Keynote

In Keynote, when you start a new presentation you will be offered the theme selector. At the bottom of this is a drop-down box for the "Slide Size". If you choose one of the following options:

  • 1280 x 720
  • 1680 x 1275
  • 1920 x 1080

You will see all the themes available for Widescreen. Choose one of these themes, then click the "Choose" button. Your presentation will now be created with widescreen format slides.

Widescreen presentations in OpenOffice Impress

To create a Impress presentation in 16:10 format, open a new presentation, select the "Format" tab, then click the "Page..." option (see figure 3).


In the "Page Set-up" box which now appears, make sure the "Page" tab is selected, then under the "Paper format" section change the "Width" to 36.00cm and the "Height" to 20.00cm. Finally, click OK to make the change in slide size.

If you want to be able to use the widescreen format by default, you will need to create a new template. To do this, first create a blank widescreen presentation as described above, then click "File", "Save As...". In the box that now opens, change the "Save as type:" option to "ODF Presentation Template (.otp, *.otp)" and change the file name to "1610Presentation.otp". Save this file to your "My Documents" folder (Windows XP) or "Documents" folder (Windows Vista) or, if you want to keep it in a template folder, navigate to C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Roaming\\3\user\template (Windows Vista)

What about my existing 4:3 format presentations?

If you want to reformat your existing presentations, you can do so by following the page formatting instructions for the relevant software above. Because of the extra space this will create at the side of the slide, you will probably need to adjust some or all of your slides' contents to create a pleasing layout.

If you don't want to reformat your presentations, you can leave them in 4:3 format. If displayed at 16:10 by the projector the slides should still be readable, but any images will be slightly stretched, giving any images a chubbier appearance. Alternatively, the control panels on the lecterns in the lecture theatres will allow you to switch the projector to display in 4:3 format.

I don't use PowerPoint, Keynote or Impress for my presentations

You may find that the software or website you use to create your presentations also allows you to change the slides to a 16:10 widescreen format. The software provider may have support forums or help pages that you can use to find out how to adjust the format of the slides. Alternatively, the most likely place to find the settings are any page or page setup options. At the time of writing this (April 2010) the Google docs presentation tool does not include the ability to change the size format of the slides.

Last updated: 18th March 2014