Amp Up Your Presentation Design with a Collage

Looking for an easy way to make your slide presentation more stimulating? Then ditch the old bullet-point-and-stock-image combo and tell a story by including a collage. After all, a good presentation is all about narrative, and so is a collage. Here’s a quick look at how to create stunning collages for your next big slide presentation with PicMonkey.

Step 1: Choose your photos

Before you start collaging, you need to gather some photos! Think about the points in your presentation, and how you can better illustrate them with images. If you’re creating an onboarding presentation for new hires, photos that tell your company’s story or illustrate the company culture can be helpful. If you’re explaining steps in a process, finding a photo to illustrate each and showcasing them in collage can help drive your points home. If you’re giving a presentation about your products, round up a few great product shots that you can put into a spiffy collage.

If you don’t have any photos that fit the bill, there are a number of free photo sites that may have what you need.

Step 2: Setup and sizing

Head to the PicMonkey homepage, hover over Collage, and choose your photos’ location (Your computer, Hub, Facebook, OneDrive, Dropbox, or Flickr). Your photos will open in the collage maker. If you want to add more photos, use the Add images button.

Next, navigate to the Layouts tab and peruse the collage layout options. Once you’ve found one you like, click it.

Tip: If you don’t find a layout that suits your needs, click Create your own at the top of the Layouts tab to start with a single-celled collage, then drag and drop your images to create a custom layout. Having trouble? Check out the intro to collage video tutorial for the lowdown on how to use PicMonkey’s collage tool.

Now it’s time to think about sizing. There are two major slide shapes used in presentations: a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the newer 16:9 aspect ratio. The switch to 16:9 began with Powerpoint 2013, which coincided with the increase in HD televisions and laptops that used a similar ratio. If measured in pixels, a common size is 1920 x 1080.

Before PowerPoint 2013, the most common slide shape had a 4:3 aspect ratio. This is the same shape as old televisions and also matched most computers and monitors in use at the time. In pixels, the dimensions to use are 1440 x 1080.

Once you know what size you want your collage to be, click the lock icon in the bottom toolbar and put your pixel dimensions into the boxes. When you’re finished, click the lock icon again.

Step 3: Add your images and customize

You can quickly fill your collage with images by clicking Autofill, then clicking and dragging one over another to make them swap places. If you’d rather place your images one at a time, drag an image from the photo tray to a cell and drop it.

To resize a cell, hover over an image’s border until you see two thin blue lines, then drag the border to adjust it. You can move your images around in their cells by clicking them and dragging. You’ll also find a whole host of customization options on the Edit Image palette. To access it, hover over an image and click the pencil icon that appears.

To add a cell, drag a photo over the area where you want the cell to appear and drop it when a blue bar appears. The bar indicates how the layout will adapt. To remove a cell, just click the X twice. The first time removes the picture, and the second click removes the cell.

You’ll find more customization options in the Background tab. You can adjust the space between images, round their corners, and change the color of your cells. For a sophisticated look, check the Transparent background box and get rid of your collage background. This will let your slide show through between your images once your collage is added to your presentation.

Step 4. Save and add to your presentation

Once your collage is finished, click Save in the top toolbar. The key here is to find balance with your file size—if it’s too big, your collage can slow your presentation down. If it’s too small, your collage may look grainy when you place it in your presentation. You can choose from three different quality options on the Save screen, and see your file size displayed above the Save to my computer button. If you made your background transparent, make sure your collage is saved as a .png.

Now add your collage as an image to your Keynote, Powerpoint, Prezi, or other presentation. The exact steps will vary depending on which presentation-making program you’re using, but many offer a drag-and-drop option or have an “insert” or “add image” button.

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Rich Harrington is a visual storyteller exploring the fusion of photography and video. He's the publisher of Photofocus ( and an avid travel photographer. He's also a husband and a father who finds time for a Girl Scout and Boy Scout troop.