I love using Microsoft PowerPoint as a general purpose graphics editor.  In fact, I use PowerPoint to create all my book covers.

The problem is that PowerPoint, as shipped, exports book covers at 96 DPI.  This is sufficient resolution for screen display but far short of the 300 DPI required for Print on Demand (POD) paperback book covers.  Before you can use PowerPoint to create print images, you must increase the output resolution.  Rather than being a simple program option, this change requires you to change the system registry.

This post explains how to configure Microsoft PowerPoint to export JPG files at 300 DPI.  It also leads the reader through how to configure a blank PowerPoint slide to the correct book cover dimensions for both Print on Demand (POD) paperback and e-book publication and exporting JPEG images.

Configuring PowerPoint to Export 300 DPI JPEG Images

On Windows 10, follow these steps to increase PowerPoint output resolution:

  1. Open the Start menu in the lower-left hand corner of the screen and type “run”.
  2. Double click on the Run app.
  3. When prompted, run the application “regedit”.
  4. Within the regedit program, open the “Computer” tab in the left panel.
  5. Continue to select the directory path “HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Office”.

The next directory that you select depends upon the version of PowerPoint that you’re running:

“14.0” – Office 2010
“15.0” – Office 2013
“16.0” – Office 2016

Simply choose the directory matching your program version.

  1. Now open the “PowerPoint” directory and select “Options”.  We’re going to add a new option to the registry.
  2. Select the menu option “Edit->New->DWORD (32bit) Value”.
  3. Name the new option “ExportBitmapResolution”.  Press enter to name the variable, then double click the variable name to define its value.
  4. Set the option’s base to “Decimal” and its value to “300”.
  5. Click “OK” to save your setting and close regedit by clicking the X in the upper right corner of the window.

You have just successfully configured PowerPoint to output 300 DPI JPEG files.  Now, restart PowerPoint to cause your changes to take affect.

Configuring PowerPoint Image Dimensions

You should configure your book cover dimensions in PowerPoint to match the dimensions of your Print on Demand (POD) paperback.  The least expensive print dimensions on Amazon, and therefore the dimensions that I always use for printing, are 6 inches wide by 9 inches tall.  Follow these steps to configure your PowerPoint page size to to 6″x9″:

  1. Click the “Design” menu option and select “Slide Size” and “Custom Slide Size” from the “Customize” section of the menu ribbon.
  2. Set your slide width to “6 in.” and your slide height to “9 in.”.
  3. Click OK to set your dimensions.
  4. Choose “Ensure Fit” to make sure your existing graphics fit within your new image size.

Add elements to your book cover until you’re ready to export your image.

Exporting JPEG Images

Programs can’t use images stored in PowerPoint’s native PPTX format.  To make use of your image, you’ll have to export it as a JPEG file.  Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Click the “File” menu tab and select “Export”.
  2. Click on “Change File Type”.
  3. Double click on “JPEG File Interchange Format”.
  4. Name your output JPEG file and save it.

Note that you can optionally export multiple book covers stored as separate slides into an output directory.

I’ll see you in the classroom,