How to use PowerPoint to make thumbnails for your website or videos

By | August 20, 2015

When you’re publishing content online, whether it’s on your own website, on YouTube, or on any type of social media, thumbnails are often required.

While there are other options, a simple way to make thumbnails is to use PowerPoint. Most people using Windows already have it installed, and know how to use it. If you have an eye for design, know how to use PowerPoint, and put some effort in every image, you can make very professional images. (Hint: I’m not a designer at all, and too lazy to put in much effort – I prefer writing). In this article, I’ll provide you with the details on how to make a simple thumbnail with Powerpoint for your website or videos.

Making a thumbnail with PowerPoint

A good thumbnail stands out, quickly tells the user what the content is about, and makes people want to click it.

To make a simple thumbnail, use Powerpoint to:

  • Set a background color or image
  • Add text. You can use the preinstalled fonts, or install special fonts to make your thumbnail more distinct (for instructions on installing more fonts, see this video).
  • Add additional images on top of the background image (optional)

How to make your image exactly the correct size

The one problem that keeps people from using PowerPoint as a design tool, is that they don’t understand how to make an image a specific pixel size. This is not a standard option on PowerPoint.

But there is a trick to calculate just what size you should make your PowerPoint sheet to make it any specific pixel size!

The video below shows you exactly how to make an image in the pixel size that you need. You’ll find out what sheet size you need to use to get a specific amount of pixel in your image, how to set powerpoint to this size, and how to save your slide as an image.

You can download the Excel sheet to calculate the size you need to set your slides to here.

To check your screen DPI, you can use this website.

What sizes to use on what social media?

To optimize your thumbnails for the different social media, you need to know what sizes are used. Because this changes all the time, I found it’s best to reference this this Google Docs spreadsheet that is kept up-to-date (thanks to quicksprout.com).

Happy designing!

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