PowerPoint Centimeters 

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Speaking of alternate forms of measurement, check out the linked article on PowerPoint Centimeters. In short, in order for the grid in PowerPoint to give round numbers in both inches and centimeters, it uses a phony conversion, where 1 inch is equal to 2.4 centimeters (instead of 2.54). Don’t worry though:

The only problem with this slight misdefinition of size is that the actual measurements you are making are off by six percent…you can set the print scaling of your presentation to 106 percent to get an accurate size. The printed image will then measure precisely the way the screen does.

Yes, the only problem is that printing doesn’t match what’s on the screen, as you’d expect. Also, of course, the fact that Microsoft has broken the entire metric system.

Correction (September 23, 2010): As recently pointed out by Joseph Cooney, this bug was found in PowerPoint 97 (along with several later versions). It was corrected several years ago, and is no longer found in current versions of PowerPoint.

The implication in Cooney’s headline (“Don’t Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Story…”) isn’t particularly accurate, as the truth wasn’t being intentionally obscured here. I simply missed this detail, an oversight I’ve now corrected. Even several years after the fact, the absurdity put forth by PowerPoint 97 (and 2000 and 2001 and X) is still worthy of note.


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