Middlebury

What to do when the projected image doesn't fill the screen - troubleshooting

It is possible that the projected image does not completely fill the screen. There can be several reasons for this: the computer resolution and the projector resolution do not match, the powerpoint resolution and the projector resolution do not match, neither computer resolution nor powerpoint resolution match the projector resolution. Note that it is not possible to change the projector's resolution (without installing a new projector and a new screen, both of which are expensive and time intensive processes). So the easiest solutions will involve changing the computer or powerpoint resolution.

The steps below will help technical staff determine the cause and recommend a solution.

  1. Note down: Is the computer connected using VGA or HDMI? HDMI will usually automatically select the correct computer resolution, whereas VGA may choose the wrong resolution.
  2. Ensure that the projector is fully zoomed out. (you need the remote for this) Sometimes the projector zoom may have been inadvertently adjusted.
  3. Note the size of the projector's blue (test) image that appears when it first turns on. See photo below. This is the maximum image size the projector can produce when zoomed out. If the neither the height nor the width are filled, the projector has been physically moved too far or too close.
  4. Check the computer resolution and the powerpoint resolution. At least one of them should match the projector's resolution. Below is what to expect when the resolutions match and don't match.

On a 4x3 screen with computer set for a 4x3 resolution

  • If you are projecting a 4x3 resolution, it should match both the height and width of the projector's test image.
  • If you are projecting a 4x3 resolution and open a 4x3 powerpoint presentation in full screen, the projected image will have the same width and height as the projector's test image.
  • If you are projecting a 4x3 resolution but open a 16x9 powerpoint presentation in full screen, the projected image will have the same width as the projector's test image but not the full height. It cannot fill the full height because the projector's chip is designed for a 4x3 image and it is receiving a 16x9 image from PowerPoint.
    • Solution: Change the presentation's page setup (File > Page Setup > Slides sized for) to a 4x3 format. This may stretch some pictures in the presentation. There is no automated easy way around that. If you need to show a presentation that is in 16x9 format, use a classroom that has a 16x9 screen.

On a 4x3 with computer set for a 16x9 resolution

  • If you are projecting a 16x9 resolution, the projected image should have the same width as the projector's blue test image. It cannot fill the full height because the projector's chip is designed for a 4x3 image.
    • Solution: Change the computer's resolution to match the projector's resolution.
  • If you are projecting a 16x9 resolution but open a 16x9 powerpoint presentation in full screen, it will fill the width but not the height. It cannot fill the full height because the projector's chip is designed for a 4x3 image and it is receiving a 16x9 image from PowerPoint and from the computer.
    • Solution: You need to change both the the computer's resolution and the powerpoint resolution (File > Page Setup > Slides sized for - use a 4x3 format) to match the projector's resolution. This may stretch some pictures in the presentation. There is no automated easy way around that. If you need to show a presentation that is in 16x9 format, use a classroom that has a 16x9 screen.
  • If you are projecting a 16x9 resolution but open up a 4x3 powerpoint it will fill neither the height nor the width. It cannot fill the full projected image because the projector's chip is designed for a 4x3 image and it is receiving a 16x9 image from your computer.
    • Solution: Change your computer's resolution to match the projector. The image will fill the width of the projected area. To fill the height as well, you'd need to change your powerpoint resolution (File > Page Setup > Slides sized for) to a 4x3 format. This may stretch some pictures in the presentation. There is no automated easy way around that. If you need to show a presentation that is in 16x9 format, use a classroom that has a 16x9 screen.

Photos:

Projector test image
4x3 screen with 16x9 resolution
4x3 screen with 16x9 resolution and 16x9 powerpoint
4x3 screen with 16x9 resolution and 4x3 powerpoint
4x3 screen with 4x3 resolution
4x3 screen with 4x3 resolution and 4x3 powerpoint
4x3 screen with 4x3 resolution and 16x9 powerpoint
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