Compress your Powerpoint and Word files!

Have you ever created a PowerPoint or Word file that was so huge, that you couldn’t upload it to a website, or email it to someone because it exceeded a file size limit (Or you could, but it took forever)?

Did you know that with just a couple of clicks, you can drastically reduce the size of your file without any noticeable difference in quality?

Why does this happen?
One of the most common reasons that these file sizes get out of control is that you have huge photos which haven’t been resized appropriately. You just drop images onto the page, and drag a corner to resize them, right? Well the Office application apparently keeps the entire image around in case you want to make it bigger again. (The same thing applies to websites – if you upload a humongous photo, and just tell the page to display it small, it is still loading that humongous photo!)

What can you do to fix it?
Fortunately Word and PowerPoint have a nifty feature to compress all the images in the document.

Click on any picture in the file. Then click the “Format” tab near the top right of the menu. With the Format menu displayed, click on “Compress Pictures”.

the MS picture format menu
the MS picture format menu

You’ll get the Compress Pictures popup box. You will want to keep the “Apply to selected pictures only” UNCHECKED, so that you only have to do this once! You can just click OK to start the compression, or you can click the Options button to choose your options.

The Compress Pictures popup box
The Compress Pictures popup box

The options allow you to choose how much to compress the images – whether for print, screen, or email (smallest size). I’d suggest starting with Email, and if you notice an unacceptable quality of the final file, then you can undo and choose to compress for print or screen.

The Compression Settins popup box
The Compression Settings popup box

Before you save it, take a look at the size of the file. Then save, and look at the size of the file again – it should be much smaller, depending on the number of photos and how big they were to start with. I’ve seen reductions of 80-90% quite often.

This technique addresses only one potential cause of huge files – read this article to find out about several other causes and what to do about them: [Reduce the size of your PowerPoint files].

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