Reducing the Size of PowerPoint Presentations

In the following paragraphs, you will find tips and techniques for reducing the size of your files without losing the integrity (look) of your file.

If your PowerPoint or Word documents are larger than 10Mb, you should try compressing (reducing) its file size. Compressing a file's size can be done in a number of ways.

NOTE: Do not scan a document as a .TIF file and import it into a document. This will result in a huge file size.

Compressing Pictures
In Microsoft Office 2013, there are several ways to use the “Compress Pictures” feature. Double click on the picture to bring up the Picture Format ribbon:

  • Click the “Compress Pictures” button (It is typically the top button in the second column). If you do not see the Picture Format ribbon after double clicking on the image, right click on the ribbon and select “Customize the Ribbon”. Change the “Customize the Ribbon” drop down to “All Tabs”. Then ensure the “Format” box is checked under the “Pictures” tab.  
  • To compress all pictures in the document, uncheck “Apply only to this picture”. To further reduce the file size, select the “Delete cropped areas of pictures” checkbox.    
  • Under “Target Output:”, select how you intend to use your presentation by selecting one of the options available. Some may be unavailable due to the original size of the image. Selecting one option, does not mean that it cannot be used for another purpose. It is simply optimized for the purpose selected.

If you compress pictures or delete the cropped areas, you won't be able to restore your pictures to their original resolution or size. It is a good idea to save the newly compressed version as a different file name, retaining the original file as a backup.

Embedded Objects
When objects are embedded in a Power Point Presentation, they are displayed as a Windows Metafile (.WMF) of the original object. WMFs can include bitmap images, but only as uncompressed BMPs. So, if an embedded object's WMF includes any bitmap data, the PPT file drastically increases in size. Dealing with embedded objects is actually quite easy.

  • Right click on the EO, and select “Save as Picture…”. Save the picture, delete the object, and then browse to the new file you’ve just created and drag it into the document. At this point, you may also wish to compress the new image (see Compressing Pictures).  
  • You may also try right clicking on the EO and selecting, “Image Object à Convert”. Select any standard image format if one is available; although, depending on the source, this might not work. If it is successful, you should be able to compress the image by following the Compressing Pictures guide.

Raster Graphics (Scans, photos, screen shots, and similar images)
When creating presentations that'll be viewed as a slide show, images should be sized to match the resolution of the computer on which they'll be shown. In other words, if the PPT is going to be shown on a laptop with an 1024x768 resolution, the full-screen images should be 1024x768 pixels; anything bigger than that will make the PPT file needlessly large, will slow down the slideshow, or won't add to the image quality (in most cases). Images that take up less than the full screen can be proportionally smaller in size. Speaking of size, "pixels" is all you really need to know. Ignore DPIs, inch size, and the size at which Power Point inserts images. Simply size your graphics correctly in pixels before importing them. After that, you can scale them to full screen in your presentation, if need be.

Slide Masters
When you check your presentation for oversized images and embedded OLE objects as explained above, check the "Slide and Title Master" and "Notes and Handouts Master", as well as the individual slides. Also check each Notes page in Notes view (graphics on the Notes pages don't appear in the Notes pane in Tri-Pane view in Power Point 2000 and later).

Disabling Fast Saves
PowerPoint’s Fast Save and AutoRecover features work by saving a lot of change data as part of the file, which adds weight. Disabling these features releases the extra baggage. To disable these features:

  • Choose File Options → Save, and uncheck “Save AutoRecover information every _ minutes”. You can also uncheck, “Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving”.

Remove Fonts from the File
PowerPoint gives you the option to include .ttf font families within the document. This is useful when you are using fonts that are not native to most systems. To disable this feature:

  • Choose File → Options → Save, and uncheck “Embed fonts in the file”.  
  • If you do need this option to be enabled, but still wish to reduce the file size, you can check both “Embed fonts in the file”, and “Embed only the characters used in the document”.

Pasted or Drag/Dropped Graphics
If you paste or drag & drop graphics into PowerPoint, you will get a metafile or embedded OLE object in Power Point. Power Point can't compress these, and in fact, it may have to expand the graphics to their full uncompressed size. Instead, you should save your images as .JPEGs, .JPGs, .PNGs, or other file types. Then use Insert/Picture/From File to import the image into PowerPoint. Once the image is in PowerPoint, it's ok to copy and paste it to other slides within the same or other presentations. In fact, doing this can help keep the file size down.

Unseen Elements
On the Slide or Master there may be something causing the file size to increase. Simply press "Ctrl+A" to select all. Then you can de-select the elements you want to leave alone with “Ctrl+LeftClick”. Press "Delete" to remove anything that's left selected; visible or not.