I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about these new slide sizes folks are starting to see. PowerPoint 2013 uses a 16×9 dimension as its default, but it’s not the old 10″ x 5.63″ size we’re used to. Why does PowerPoint 2013 use 13.33″ x 7.5″ as its default size?

If you think about it, this actually makes a lot of sense. If your typical slide is 10″ wide by 7.5″ tall (4×3 dimension), then making it a little wider  – 13.33″ wide by 7.5″ tall means that content copied over from old 4×3 slides will easily fit onto the new 16×9 slides. Before, when the 16×9 dimension was 10″ x 5.63″, everything had to be resized after it was copied in.

Note that I’m not talking about copying *slides* from a 4×3 deck to a 16×9 deck. Doing that will distort your content (circles become ovals, people in pictures get fat, etc.), and that’s a subject for another post. I’m talking about what happens if you copy a shape or diagram or picture from a 4×3 slide and paste it onto a 16×9 slide.

Maybe this series of visuals will help.

Here’s an example of the new wide-screen size in PowerPoint 2013. It’s 13.33″ wide by 7.5″ tall.


The next picture shows the new slide size relative to the typical 4×3 aspect ratio slides (10″ x 7.5″).  See how the new 16×9 dimension is really just a bit wider than the typical 4×3 slides?


Now check out how the old 16×9 dimension compares with these.


See how much smaller it is? So, after you paste something from a 10″ x 7.5″ slide onto a 10″ x 5.63″ slide, you have to make the object smaller, otherwise it falls off the bottom edge of the slide. That no longer happens with the new 13.33″ x 7.5″ size.

Make sense?

One thing to be aware of: this new widescreen size is longer than the standard 11 x 8.5 paper that’s in our printers, so the end will often be cut off when you print. To prevent this, in the Print dialog choose ‘Scale to Fit Paper’ under the options for what type of page to print (full page slides, handouts, etc.). This option is turned on by default in PowerPoint 2013, but it’s not in 2010 and prior.