Thursday Oct 22, 2009

How to Get the Powerpoint Slide Sorter to Zoom Past 100%

When working in slide presentations, I take a very iterative aproach to first slapping down (sometimes hundreds of) slides with just titles and a couple of notes on it in a kind of stream-of-consciousness style of working. Then, as I begin to iterate I am frequently using the slide sorter view to reorganize and regroup things.

It has always bothered me that the Powerpoint slide sorter view could not zoom bigger than 100% because the slides are not totally readable at that size and it makes the sorting task more complicated.

I wanted to pass on a tip that I found Googling around recently, which allowed me to break past the 100% zoom barrier. As usual, the solution came from someone who though to approach the problem from a different angle.

Let's say you start with your slide sorter view that looks like this (I've had to shrink the image, but trust me that the fonts were still not readable when snapped at the full size of my 24" monitor):

slidesorter_default.png


The way to get the zoom size bigger is to tell Powerpoint that your slides are a larger size than the default width/height of 10 inches by 7.5 inches. So, you visit the Page Setup dialog and scale up the default width and height by some fixed proportion. Here I've increased both dimensions by multiplying by 1.5 to get 15 inches and 11.25 inches:

slidesorter_change_scale.png


After doing this, the slide sorter view shows you your slides 1.5 times bigger than before, even though the zoom factor is still 100%. While again this thumbnail is shrunken to fit better on my blog, after doing this trick I am able to easily read each slide while sorting.

slidesorter_bigger.png


I'm not sure if it was necessary to eventually revert back to the original dimensions after I was done doing my sorting, but I did anyway. When I did that I found that some of the shapes with text in them got messed up, but I solved that problem by ensuring that my shapes had their text settings such that they did not resize to fit the text.

Enjoy
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