Pixel-Accurate display of images in PowerPoint screenshows
When you insert images into your presentations, PowerPoint blurs them slightly. In some cases, this can improve the image by helping to eliminate the "jaggies". In that case, we call it "anti-aliasing" and it's A Good Thing. In other cases, you may not want that, in which case we call this "a @#$*^ nuisance".
You're here reading this, so it's a good bet you're in the latter crowd.
You probably have images that you want to display as-is, no blurring, anti-aliasing, no changes. One screen pixel for one image pixel.
PowerPoint won't do that. But you can get what you want. It just takes a bit of extra work. You need to:
- Use another other program display your images.
- Get PowerPoint to launch the program.
Our sponsor, PPTools, has written a handy (and free) little program to do just this. It's called FullScreenPicture. When you ask it to display an image (BMP, JPG or GIF formats only), it fills the entire screen with black then centers your image on the screen. If the image is exactly the same size as your display, it will fill the display. One image pixel = One screen pixel. No distortion. No blurring.
You can download FullScreenPicture.zip here. The zip file contains:
- FullScreenPicture.EXE - the program you'll use to display images
- FullScreenPicture.PPT - a PowerPoint file that contains some useful macros to make it easier to use FullScreenPicture.EXE
You can store FullScreenPicture.EXE anywhere on your computer. We recommend putting it in a folder with a short, easy-to-remember name.
To use it to display images during a presentation, you'll use an Action Setting on a shape. Here's how:
- Draw any shape you like. It could even be a small version of the image you want to display full screen.
- Add an action setting to the shape.
- The action setting should be "Run:" and in the text box, type "C:\Path\FullScreenPicture.EXE" "C:\Path\YourImage.JPG"
- Substitute the actual paths to FullScreenPicture.EXE and your image file name.
- Include the quote marks as shown.
Start the slide show, click the shape and PowerPoint will launch FullScreenShow, which will display your image.
Well. Almost. Actually, depending on your version of PowerPoint, it may warn you of the dangers of launching programs like this. You can make that stop: make the folder holding FullScreenPIcture.EXE a trusted folder. Then your version of Windows may get into the act and warn you again. You can probably adjust your UAC controls to make it quit doing that.
You can instead launch FullScreenPicture using a macro or two. Once you give permission for macros to run, neither PowerPoint nor Windows will annoy you with their idiotic security prompts.
To learn now, open FullScreenPicture.PPT (also included in the ZIP file) and press Alt + F11 to open the VBA editor (macro editor). There are several macros that will make launching images much simpler (and that will save you from having to remember and type the full path to FullScreenPicture.EXE each time you want to use it.)
- While FullScreenPicture is displaying an image, click or doubleclick anywhere on the screen or press any key to dismiss it and return to your PowerPoint presentation.
- If you don't include the name of an image file or if the file name you request is incorrect (ie, the file doesn't exist or isn't where you say it is), FullScreenPicture will display an error message, then quit.
- It accepts BMP, JPG and GIF pictures. PNG is not supported.
- We've tested FullScreenPicture under Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 (including 64-bit).
If you don't want to use FullScreenPicture, you can instead use any other program that:
- Displays an image full-screen, undistorted.
- Accepts the name of the image to be displayed on the program's command line.
- Displays full-screen automatically or via command line switches.
- Makes it simple to dismiss the image and return to PowerPoint.
We've worked with IrfanView. It's free, works very well, and does a thousand other useful things with images, but it's a bit trickier to set up for this particular use than FullScreenImage (which is why we wrote FSI in the first place).
However, if you want to show a series of images, you can use an IrfanView slideshow driven by a text file containing the names of the images.
Choose the tool that best suits your needs.