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Standard or Wide Screen?

One thing we are seeing more of these days at conference venues is the projection of data in widescreen format over the standard resolution we have been used to in many cases. In fact in nearly all new or refurbished venues I have presented at in the last couple of years have had their data projectors set up in widescreen format.

The difference is basically the resolution ratio that the data is projected.  The so called standard format we have been used to seeing projected is a 4:3 ratio. The projection in widescreen format is 16:9 or 16:10 ratio.


What does this mean for presenters?

Simply put your presentation will be displayed at the ratio that the projector has been set. This is regardless of the format you have set for your presentation.  If you have formatted your slides at the standard 4:3 ratio and it is projected in widescreen then your slides will be stretched to suit. The opposite of course is also true where your widescreen presentation will be adjusted when displayed at the standard 4:3 ratio.

Effects of standard ratio projected in widescreen format

Effects of standard projected in widescreen

Effects of widescreen projected at standard ratio

Effects of widescreen projected at standard ratio

So how should I format my presentation?

There really is not a simple answer to this especially if you are presenting in different environments. Widescreen is becoming more common these days but standard format is also still used in many cases.  The other consideration is that many mobile devices and online services still display better at the standard 4:3 ratio.

Of course if you are continually presenting in the same venue or with the same projection equipment, then of course you would format your presentation to match.

If this is not the case you may have to create two separate presentation decks. This will require you to make adjustments to every slide…not ideal I know.

The best way to handle this is to format your deck at the ratio that is most common where you deliver your presentations. Then duplicate your entire deck and reformat. Unfortunately you will need to check your slides and edit as the elements will have changed to suit the new format.

You will then be prepared regardless of which aspect ratio your presentation will be projected.

Richard Hansen

Richard Hansen

Founder of Impact Presentations

Richard is a professional MC, presentation designer and coach and founder of Impact Presentations.

He is happily married with 3 children and currently lives on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in Queensland, Australia.

Loves trekking, camping, coffee and generally hanging out with friends and trying new experiences.

Richard’s personal website can be viewed here……