When showing PowerPoint presentations sized for the traditional projector aspect ratio of 4:3 on a wide screen you will typically see black bars on each side like this:
It is important to note that just because you get this effect on your widescreen laptop doesn’t mean that it will be an issue when you are actually running the finished presentation on a projector. (As many projectors are not widescreen ratios). The key is preparation. You should always try it out on the projector or flat screen you actually intend to use first.
You may discover if you are going to run your presentation on a large flatscreen monitor e.g. a Plasma TV screen you may find that you have the dreaded vertical bars on each side.
The answer is to change the Page Setup of your PowerPoint file to match the height/width ratio of your screen.
In PowerPoint 2010:
1. Open your PowerPoint on the Projector you intend to use
2. Click on the Design Tab and then the Page Setup button (top left)
3. A Page Setup box should pop up - Select the top left pull down and try selecting one of the commonost ratios (4:3) (16:9) or (16:10)
4. Click OK then hit the F5 key to do a test run (Esc to go back to the design)
But my images are squashed!
If you have found the ratio that works, you may find that your images lose their proportions and particularly circles and squares now look squashed.
This is a annoying and this is the only work-around we can offer:
1. Open your original PowerPoint File (the one that doesn't fit the projector)
2. Make the changes to Page Setup
3. Save As a new version (so the original is not lost)
4. Now open both presentations and go to the first slide of the original (with images)
5. Click in a space on the actual slide and then Select All (using Ctrl + A)
6. Now Copy (Ctrl + C)
7. Go to the equivalent slide in the new presentation (with the squashed images) and Select All (Ctrl + A) and hit the Delete Key
8. You may also be left with a title placeholder (says 'Click to Add Title') - remove this too (click on edge and hit delete)
9. Now you have a blank slide use Paste (Ctrl + V)
10. This pastes all your objects with the correct ratio (and any custom animations you may have created)
11. Finally you may need to adjust the positions and resize images (using only the corner to prevent squashing images)
12. Continue the process through each slide (saving as you go)