Microsoft PowerPoint was originally designed for screen presentations and provides its greatest value by serving this purpose. While it may not be the optimal software for designing printed materials, its familiarity and ease of use make it a functional option for those without access to design software, such as InDesign. If PowerPoint is your best option, consider the following important points when preparing your file for printing:
- File Size: Ideally, the size of your PowerPoint slides should match the final size of your printed piece (ie. 8.5”x 11”, 11”x17”). Typically, this not the case as the default slide size of a new PowerPoint document is either 10” x 7.5” or 13.33” x 7.5”.
If your slides are smaller than the final printed size, make sure it’s set to a size that is proportional to the final printed size. Files can be enlarged for printing (with potential loss of quality – see below), but if the actual size of the file is not proportional to the desired size, unwanted white borders or cropping of content may occur.
- Graphics: Images should ideally have a resolution of 300 dpi, with a minimum of 150 dpi for quality printing. Images copied from a website will typically have a resolution of 72 dpi. This resolution is too low for high-quality output, and printed images will appear “pixelated” or fuzzy. Enlarging a photo after placing it in PowerPoint reduces its effective resolution, and enlarging your final file for printing will further reduce the quality of your print.
- Fonts: If the fonts used in your file are not loaded on our computer, PowerPoint simply substitutes the fonts without warning. Supplying a properly created PDF file will ensure that the fonts are “embedded”, and the possibility of font substitution will be eliminated.
- Files: It’s best to supply both the original PowerPoint file and a PDF file. In most cases, the PDF file will be used for printing, however, the PowerPoint file will be used if any changes or updates need to be made after submission
Thoughtful preparation of PowerPoint files will help reduce the possibility of printing errors and ensure your printed communications positively represent the University of Minnesota.