Perhaps one of the bigger pains in PowerPoint is changing your slide size from 4:3 to 16:9 or vice versa. Let’s go through the pros and cons of each method.
The Fast Way
The fastest way to change the slide ratio is to go to the design tab and clicking on slide size. Once you pick the ratio you want to change your presentation to, you’re presented with this option (one in which no one ever remembers on the first try which one they should choose):
Maximize Fit: Think of this as your “FILL frame proportionally” option from InDesign. The frame is your slide area and the content that fills it is everything you have on the slide. All those things on the slide act as though they’re grouped together for this transformation. Because the slide is filled, some of your content will bleed over to the pasteboard.
Ensure Fit: Think of this as your “FIT content proportionally” option from InDesign. This is the option that will reduce the size of all of your content so that it all fits on to the slide and doesn’t bleed over to the pasteboard.
Pros: It’s fast.
Cons: If you have logos or images on your master slides OR have filled the background with a picture, when you change sizes, those images will be stretched or squished no matter which option you choose. Also, you still have to reorganize your slides to make the content fit in a nicely designed manner.
The Long Way
This method is the most tedious and requires you to have both the original presentation and the destination files open at the same time. Simply put, you just copy all of the slide content from File A to File B.
With this method, the master slides won’t be stretched or smushed. You’ll still have to rearrange the slide content to look good and, in this case, you will have to redo image background fills.
Pros: You will have the fewest problems with fit and formatting.
Cons: You need two files open and it’s slower. You still have to rearrange your content.
The Third Way
Or the 2.5th (two-and-a-halved?) way. This is how I usually do it. It’s not only good for resizing slides – it’s also good for changing templates. It also only requires you to have only one file open. For this example, I’ll pretend that I’m taking a 4:3 presentation on the Outdated Template and am bringing it into the 16:9 Fresh New Template.
First, create a new presentation based on the 16:9 Fresh New Template. Then, on the Home tab where the New Slide button is, click on the text “New Slide” and you’ll be presented with this dropdown menu:
Way down at the bottom of this fly-out menu is the option “Reuse Slides…” Go ahead and click on that. You’ll then be presented with the Reuse Slides panel on the right:
Click on Browse and find the 4:3 presentation on the Outdated Template. You’ll see something like this:
All you have to do is click on the slides you want to pull into your new presentation. If you want to keep the source formatting for everything on the slide, be sure to check off “keep source formatting” or PowerPoint will apply the new templates styles to the slide contents. Of course, if you’re bringing things into an updated template, you should probably keep it unchecked.
“But wait! When I look at my slides, they have a stretched out background!”
You’re right. The last step here is to right click on each slide and choose the master slide you want to use from the new template. After you’re all done, check your Master Page view to see if old slide masters came along for the ride and delete them.
Pros: Makes template switching easier. Can be fast.
Cons: You have to change slide layouts from old to new template, which can present it’s own problems. You still might have to move things around. Can be slow.
In the end, you’ll have to decide for yourself which is the best method for the projects you’re working on. And in 99% of all cases, you will have to rearrange your content. But I hope this makes you aware of all of your options and maybe save you a little time in the future.