In this quick blog and 5-minute video, I share how to change the slide orientation (portrait or landscape) of your MS PowerPoint presentation, plus also adjust the size and shape of slides (e.g. widescreen, A4 page, 4:3 ratio). In my video I use PowerPoint 2021 for Mac, but Windows is very similar, so this explainer is relevant for you too. The description below also explains the slight nuances between Windows and Mac.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.


Here’s the video if you want to watch, or read on below for the written instructions in 3 simple steps:

Difficulty Rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Changing Slides to Portrait in PowerPoint

Change PowerPoint slides to portrait

The default view on any new MS PowerPoint presentation is landscape. Being able to change your slide orientation to portrait view however has many uses: From designing content for pages of a magazine, creating a newsletter, flyers, phone screen backgrounds, strategy documents, flow charts, portrait style infographics, and other materials. It is really useful if you want to save your work as a PDF for sharing with others like a multipage document, or if you just prefer this way having used MS Word so much! Given the versatility, it saves time having to learn MS Publisher for such tasks.

It’s fairly easy to do, but can be a frustrating problem for both beginner and intermediate MS PowerPoint users alike. This is because the feature is ‘hidden in plain sight’ among a myriad of little-used options!

How do you change your slides in PowerPoint from landscape to portrait? Start by opening up a blank presentation, then follow these three simple steps:

  1. Click the ‘Design‘ tab of the top menu options bar (called the ‘Ribbon‘), then choose the ‘Slide Size‘ button.
  2. Click for more options: For Mac, it’s ‘Page setup…‘ and Windows it’s called ‘Custom slide size…‘.
  3. In the orientation area of the pop-up window, you can now decide between portrait and landscape for your slides.

You’ll notice that your slides and thumbnails will have reorientated to portrait view. I recommend you change slide orientation on a blank presentation before working on it, because otherwise it can deform any text, images, shapes or other content you’ve already made when trying to squeeze it into shape. This will cause you extra work. If you have already got to this point, and you don’t like how PowerPoint has resized your content, it might be easier to use the ‘Undo’ button, open up another blank presentation orientated to portrait mode, and transfer any slides/content to that new presentation with the properly laid-out canvas!

How to Change Slide Size and Scale (e.g. A4)

How do you change the PowerPoint slide size and scale? For example, changing from a 16:9 scale widescreen to a traditional 4:3 layout, a specific paper size like A4/A3, or even custom scaling? This can be useful when you have to present on specific screen sizes (e.g. you want to make the most of your monitor in presentation mode), need to design to print on A4, or want to do something bespoke to your imagery.

Again, do this upon opening up a blank presentation and the steps are largely the same as setting the orientation:

  1. Click the ‘Design‘ tab of the top menu options bar (called the ‘Ribbon‘), then choose the ‘Slide Size‘ button.
  2. Click for more options: For Mac, it’s ‘Page setup…‘ and Windows it’s called ‘Custom slide size…‘.
  3. In the slide sized for area of the pop-up window, you can now decide a range of sizes and scales for your slides, including widescreen, 4:3, and A4. You can even make a custom size by adjusting the width and height.

As with many things, the best way to learn is try it on for size! Test the different options, see what you like and what fits your style and specification for the work. Worst-case Ontario, and you somehow really mess things up? …

… use the ‘Undo’ button!

If you’re interested in how I created the header image of this article: I used the 16:9 landscape orientation to arrange my shapes, text, and images onto. In turn, I then saved the slide as a JPEG image file. I’ll demo how to make your own designs in future PowerPoint updates!

I hope you find the video and this explainer useful. If you like what I do, please like, subscribe, and share with others. If so inclined, you can also support my work to help keep free content flowing. See my recommended reading page for more in-depth support tailored for your level. If you prefer I sort your spreadsheets/documents out for you to save time, get in touch to arrange a bespoke quote. Finally, feel free to leave your feedback below and/or comment about things you’d like me to cover in future.

Kind Regards, Adrian

Excel at MS office