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.

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