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Set Standard 4:3 Aspect Ratio as Default in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to set the standard 4:3 aspect ratio as the default for new presentations in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

OS: Windows 7 and higher






We explored and complained about how PowerPoint 2016 has made widescreen (16:9) as the default aspect ratio for new presentations. Although you can change all these new presentations from widescreen (16:9) to standard (4:3) aspect ratio quite easily, it can be a pain to remember doing so each time you create a new presentation! Of course, if you are happy with 16:9 slides, then you need not read the rest of this tutorial, for everyone else, we'll show how you can set your default aspect ratio to standard (4:3):

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016, you will see the Presentation Gallery, as shown in Figure 1. Click the Blank Presentation Theme (highlighted in red within Figure 1).
  2. Blank Presentation Theme selected within Presentation Gallery
    Figure 1: Blank Presentation Theme selected within Presentation Gallery
  3. You will see a new widescreen slide in a new presentation, as shown in Figure 2.
  4. Blank Presentation opened with a widescreen slide
    Figure 2: Blank Presentation opened with a widescreen slide
  5. Next, modify the presentation's aspect ratio from Widescreen to Standard, as explained in our Change Presentation Aspect Ratio from Widescreen to Standard tutorial. You can see the resultant Standard (4:3) aspect ratio slide in Figure 3.
  6. Slide changed to the standard (4:3) aspect ratio
    Figure 3: Slide changed to the standard (4:3) aspect ratio
  7. Now, access the Design tab of the Ribbon. Within the Themes group, click the More button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3, above.
  8. This brings up the Themes gallery, as shown in Figure 4. Within this gallery, select the Save Current Theme option (highlighted in red within Figure 4).
  9. Save Current Theme option to be selected
    Figure 4: Save Current Theme option to be selected
  10. This brings up the Save Current Theme dialog box, as shown in Figure 5. Don't change the save location since PowerPoint chooses the default save location for you. Just provide a new name for the Theme, and click the Save button (highlighted in red within Figure 5).
  11. Save Current Theme dialog box
    Figure 5: Save Current Theme dialog box
  12. Now, access the Themes gallery again, notice that a new Custom section (highlighted in red within Figure 6) has been added within the Themes gallery. Within this section, you will find the new Theme you saved in the preceding step (highlighted in blue within Figure 6).
  13. New Custom section comprises the new Themes
    Figure 6: New Custom section comprises the new Themes
  14. Right-click this new Theme. This brings up the context menu shown in Figure 7. Within this context menu, select the Set as Default Theme option, highlighted in red within Figure 7.
  15. Set as Default Theme option to be selected
    Figure 7: Set as Default Theme option to be selected
  16. You can now shut PowerPoint, do not save the single Standard aspect ratio slide file if prompted.
  17. Launch PowerPoint 2016 again, you will see that the Presentation Gallery now includes your new Custom Theme in the top left position, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 8 (compare with Figure 1). Even though the thumbnail shows a 16:9 slide, don't worry, this is a 4:3 Theme, as you will see in the next step.
  18. Custom theme within the Presentation gallery
    Figure 8: Custom theme within the Presentation gallery
  19. Since this new Theme has an aspect ratio of 4:3, clicking the Theme's thumbnail will open a new presentation with a slide of Standard (4:3) aspect ratio, as shown in Figure 9.
  20. New presentation created with new 4:3 slide
    Figure 9: New presentation created with new 4:3 slide

See Also:

Set Standard 4:3 Aspect Ratio as Default in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

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