How to select the correct format for your slide in a keynote presentation

Slideshows are an effective way to convey a message; they are compelling and visually reinforce what you’re communicating. However, a poorly designed slideshow can be a disaster and a visual distraction. Professionally done slideshows are customised to the user’s standards and have a memorable visual impact on the audience. It’s common to make a serious mistake though, which is choosing the wrong format for your presentation. How, then, can you avoid this?

Choose the correct screen aspect ratio, Know your users’ output display resolution

It is best to match the aspect ratio with the native resolution of the projection screen or the LED screen.Screen resolution is measured in Pixels which is the number of pixels in the width and height of the monitor.
There are two common screen sizes:Standard size – These are older output screens with an aspect ratio of 4:3 and an 800 x 600 pixel or 1024 x 728 Pixels.

Widescreen – Currently, this the most common type, and comes with an aspect ratio of 16:9, and 1920 x 1080 pixels or 1080 x 720 pixels.

Example: 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 more commonly known as 1080p or 720p would mean your aspect ratio is 16:9. Therefore choosing a 4:3 Aspect ratio layout on your powerpoint or keynote presentation for the above resolution would mean you will have a “letterbox effect” (a black strip on either side, see diagram below)
Why is it important to consider the screen resolution?

It is very unprofessional to have slides that do not stretch to fit the screen or are just contained in the centre leaving black areas on the screen. A wrong choice can distort your presentation screen and might not reach your audience as you intended. Think of how the information would look on paper and align your slides in the same way.

A conference audio visual (AV) is meant to enhance communication. Therefore, taking the time to choose the correct format for your presentation is a good foundation for your success.

Until you are well aware of the aspect ratio of the output display, don’t start your presentation. Should you wish to change the sizes later, which PowerPoint allows, the information on your slides might get so distorted that you might have to redo the designs. As a Keynote Speaker it is imperative that your presentation is formatted to the correct aspect ratio, especially if there are several presenters lined up before you at the same event, who have the correct format for their slides and making you look bad if you don’t do the same in the process.
If you are a Keynote speaker that presents at multiple venues, it is highly recommended that you always carry two versions of the same presentation 4:3 and 16:9. This gives the AV Technician at the venue the option of choosing the correct format to perfectly fit the screen. It also gives you the reputation of being an absolute professional of your craft.

When preparing for an event your focus should be on the presentation itself and you should not have to think about the audio visual requirements. That is where Event 360 steps in to apply our technical solutions to fit your needs. We are your number one choice for all your audio visual requirements in Australia. Visit or contact us on 1300 861 360 for more information.

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