Department of Art & Art History

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Visual Arts Complex
Visual Arts Complex

Use Images


Whether using PowerPoint, Keynote, ARTstor’s Offline Image Viewer (OIV), or another image presentation tool, these basic principles will help you create effective and professional image presentations.

1. Use High Quality Images

  • The most important thing for making an image presentation look good is starting with quality images. A good quality image is one that looks crisp and clear at screen-size. The data projectors in our department have a resolution of either [1024 x 768] or [1280 x 768]. So a good screen-size image is crisp and clear at 1024 to 1280 pixels wide (if it is a horizontally oriented image), or 768 pixels high (if it is a vertically oriented image).
  • Do not enlarge small images you find on the Web. They will likely be pixelated when projected.
  • If you are having trouble finding the images you need at a high resolution, please come by the VRC and we may be able to help you find or create a higher quality image.

2. Pre-size Your Images

  • Have your images already sized to screen-size or slightly larger to accommodate different data projector resolutions (see above for screen sizes) before inserting them into your presentation tool. If you insert very large images into the presentation software and then try to resize (shrink) them, your presentation can quickly become a very large file.
  • If you think you may want to reuse the image in future presentations or elsewhere, consider archiving a master image at its largest size (TIFFs are generally the best format for archiving), and make a smaller, derivative JPEG copy at screen size.
  • To resize images in Photoshop, go to Image > Image Size. Enter an appropriate pixel width or height (as noted above), depending on whether the image is horizontal or vertical. Be sure that the Constrain Proportions box is checked so that the image does not become distorted. Disregard resolution — in general, this only applies when printing images. The VRC offers scanning stations with Photoshop available for use by faculty and students in the Department of Art and Art History.
  • For at-home use, the VRC can also recommend free software for image editing.

3. Keep Your Slide Design Clean and Consistent

  •  A black background behind a centered image is perhaps the simplest and most effective format for image presentations; text should be white and large enough to read — use text sparingly.
  •  When using text to identify an accompanying image, consider placing the text above the image at the top of the slide, so that audience members whose views may be partially obscured by those in front of them can more readily read the text.
  •  Use an easily readable font like Times or Arial.
  •  Keep your presentation as uniform as possible. Once you have created a slide, duplicate it to use as a template for your next slide.
  •  Try to keep images centered and text in the same location from slide to slide. When text jumps around between slides it can be distracting to the viewer. Remember, the presentation is supposed to focus on the images, not the text.

4. MAC Users: Don’t Drag and Drop in PowerPoint

  • When making a PowerPoint presentation on a MAC, always insert an image from the Insert > Picture menu, do not drag and drop images from your desktop. This can lead to compatibility issues if the presentation is ever run on a Windows machine.


  •  Avoid distracting slide transitions.
  •  Avoid canned themes for backgrounds.
  •  Don’t create noisy slides with too many images per slide, unless there is a specific reason to do so.
  •  Don’t use an image unless it is relevant to the presentation.
  •  Don’t decorate your slides unnecessarily with fancy fonts or clip art.

If you have questions or are having trouble with any of these tips, we offer one-on-one training by appointment to all faculty and students in the Department of Art and Art History.