The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

Practicing the Rule of Thirds in Slideshow Design

Practicing the rule of thirds in slideshows.

The Rule of Thirds is a fundamental part of good design and when applied to slideshows, can help make your productions even better. The basic rule is this:

  • Divide your slide into three equal regions and place your major visual elements in each region to create balance, or to offset the balance of the slide.

When you center an image, you are doing what we are accustomed to seeing every day. We see things level and centered all the time. Placing major elements of your slide off center, or with slight rotation, generates visual interest in the layout.

The Rule of Thirds is fundamentally about balance. If you place three layers in each third of the slide, you have created a balanced slide. The balance comes from the visual weight of the slide. Look at it this way – each layer and element in your slide carries weight, and that weight must be distributed across the slide as you see fit. Equal weight creates balance, which is a calm and comfortable state for the viewer. Removing the balance to create a visual gap generates tension. Tension can be either good or bad depending upon how you use it.

The easiest way to check your visual balance is to use the Composition Lines feature found in both ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer. To enable Composition Lines, do the following:

  1. Right-click in the Preview window your Slide Options window.
  2. Select Show Composition Lines to toggle them on or off.

These lines serve as a grid for your slide, and divide the slide into thirds both horizontally and vertically. It is a good, fast way to visually arrange your slide elements and get the look you want.

Always remember that centered, predictable layers are boring. Create visual interest by following the Rule of Thirds. For an even more interesting visual arrangement, use tension.





As the head of the Creative team at Photodex, Leslie is involved in the design & production of ProShow demos, slideshows & special effects. She is a self-professed Crazy Cat Lady who is into horror movies, music, good food, and riding her bike around Austin.