Three ways to make your picture fit your slide

(This post was first published in March 2011.  We’re Today’s post on fitting pictures into PowerPoint is part of a series by Bruce Gabrielle, author of Speaking PowerPoint: The New Language of Business, a 12-step process for creating clearer and more convincing PowerPoint presentations for the boardroom. You can also check out his series of quick video tips for business managers using PowerPoint. Note: This post was first published in 2011)

Ever have this problem? You have a great picture for your PowerPoint slide, but it fits awkwardly on the page, leaving a big gap of white space. This looks really amateurish.

Bald eagle example slide


What do you do? Here are three graphic design tips to make this slide look more professional. 

  1. Use a background color from the picture. Using Color Cop, sample a color from the picture and use that color to fill the side box. Now this slide looks like it was “designed” rather than thrown together.
    2 slides with background color added
  2. Make the picture smaller. Crop and resize the picture, and then put a wide border around it and tilt it to look like a Polaroid photograph. Add a drop shadow behind it. Use one of the colors from the photograph as your slide background color.

    2 slides with photo resized and tilted

  3. Make the picture bigger. Increase the picture size and crop it so it fills the entire PowerPoint slide. Make sure the text fits the contours of the picture. In this example, the text is ragged on the left so it curves around the eagle’s head (left). Justified left creates an invisible border that cuts this picture in half (right).

    2 slides with photo enlarged to fill slide

Amateurish slides dent your credibility. Spend the extra time with your pictures so they look designed into the slide, and not just slapped awkwardly into place.

— Bruce Gabrielle