Austin Myers is a PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional). He is an expert in issues related to the use of multimedia in PowerPoint. Austin creates the PFCMedia and PFCPro add-ins for PowerPoint that have made life simple for many users. He also maintains a detailed FAQ on multimedia issues within PowerPoint. In this conversation, Austin discusses Calculate, a small free utility that he created for PowerPoint users who face a dilemma trying to figure out what their slide size should be to take up the entire screen.
Geetesh: How did Calculate evolve – and what is its purpose of existence?
Austin: As monitors, flat screens and projectors have changed from the NTSC standard 4:3 ratio for display, users needed a simple way to determine PowerPoint’s slide size in order to fill the display completely without distorting their slides. Calculate is a small utility where the user simply provides the resolution (width and height) of their targeted screen in pixels and the utility will determine the correct slide size to meet the required screen ratio .
The user is presented with 3 different options for the slide size, all of which will produce the correct ratio for the targeted screen. I decided to provide 3 options as some users must also meet printing requirements. With Calculate all they need do is select one of the 3 options that best fits their printer.
Figure 1: The Calculate interface
Geetesh: What type of scenarios can benefit from Calculate?
Austin: Anyone that uses a standard (4:3 ratio) display to develop PowerPoint resolutions but must display the finished presentation on a display with a different ratio will benefit from Calculate. Laptop users that have a non-standard display resolution also can see a real benefit in determining the exact slide size for their display (no black bars along the sides or top & bottom of the screen).
I have many clients that prepare PowerPoint presentations on their PCs but must then display it in a conference room with large displays. This has been a real issue for them in the past as they were unable to use the entire display or their slides became badly distorted when “stretched” to fit the display. With Calculate all they need to know is the display’s resolution and they can easily set up the correct slide size in advance and avoid the issue completely.
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