PowerPoint 2004: Centered text that doesn’t look centered

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
October 7th, 2004 • 5:59 am

Here’s the footer part of a master slide design in PowerPoint 2004:

Footer in master slide

As you can see, the text is perfectly centered inside the footer text frame. After all, all I did was type some text and click on the “Align Center” button in the Formatting Palette.

Here is, however, what the exact same footer looks like in the miniature slide that’s supposed to give me a preview of what the slide will actually look like:

Footer in miniature slide

Needless to say, the text doesn’t look centered at all. So, is it centered or not?

Well, if I view my slides at a normal size, it does look centered. If I decrease the zoom setting to make the slides smaller, however, the same thing happens: the text looks off-centered.

So basically whether the text will look centered or not will depend on your zoom setting.

Given that, with a smaller zoom setting, the text also doesn’t look anti-aliased at all, I checked my text smoothing options under “Appearance” in System Preferences. By default, I have text smoothing turned off for font sizes 8 and smaller.

I changed that setting to 4 and smaller, just out of curiosity, and went back to PowerPoint.

Sure enough, with the new text smoothing setting, the text in the miniature slide looked OK:

Footer in miniature slide with font smoothing on

Conclusion? Obviously the text rendering engine used by PowerPoint is very poor when font smoothing is not on. Whose fault is it? I don’t really know. But, you know, if I had to make an educated guess…

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