I am working on a Beamer presentation for less-technically-inclined audience, so I want to use many visual aids, pictures, stock photos, etc. Unfortunately, these are mostly raster images, not vector diagrams.

From your experience, what minimal resolution is required so that an image would not appear pixelated when covering a full slide? I particularly refer to projecting the presentation from a beamer, not viewing it on a computer screen.

  • 5
    It depends on the resolution and the distance of your projector. Note that beamer is a pseudo-English term from Germany (where the author of the beamer class is from). I, also German, made the experience that in English it is the nick-name for an BMW, which made my request "to borrow a beamer for my presentation tomorrow" a little awkward. – Martin Scharrer Feb 16 '11 at 11:37
  • Since that I don't know the resolution of the projector in advance, I am asking for general tried-and-tested rules-of-thumb. – Little Bobby Tables Feb 16 '11 at 11:40
  • While it isn't the minimal resolution you asked about: you could just go with HD resolution, i.e. 1920×1080, to be on the save side. Note that your audience wont see pixels from a projected presentation from 2m distance anyway, so if it looks good on screen it should be more then fine. – Martin Scharrer Feb 16 '11 at 11:51
  • @Martin: +1 for the funny story. Is there a nickname for BMW in German? – Matthew Leingang Feb 16 '11 at 12:59
  • @Matthew: No, there isn't because the German pronunciation is already very short: Be-eM-We (where 'e' is the German 'e', which is difficult to explain right here) – Martin Scharrer Feb 16 '11 at 13:15

I do beamer presentations with lots of art. While I have not experimented to find minimum values, I get good results from anything 1024x768 pixels and up. This is flickr's "large" size.

I mention flickr because it's a good resource for this kind of thing. Do an advanced search and check the box for Creative Commons-licensed photos.

In case you want to keep looking for vector art, try these:


In my experience, most projectors have a resolution of 1024x768 px (XGA), and there are still plenty around that only have 800x600 px (SVGA).

So if your images have 1024x768 px, you should be fine, and if the images are photos (no text and no sharp lines), scaling up from 800x600 px would probably also work (try looking at this 800x600 px image in fullscreen mode on a standard 1024x768 px screen).

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