Reducing PowerPoint File Size When All Else Fails

Reducing PPT filesize

Pictures really do make a presentation look great. They create a lovely feel, can help illustrate your point, and add a powerful emotive element. But they also add file size.

If you’ve got a presentation with lots of images, but find that the file size is incompatible with the rules of email etiquette and won’t get through, can you reduce the file size to make it easier to deal with?

View our tips in the video below.

The content from the video can be found in the article below.

Option 1: Picture Compression Tool in PowerPoint

Well, one option is to use PowerPoint’s built in picture compression tool.

Select a picture on any slide and go to the Picture Tools Format tab on the ribbon. From there, choose Compress Pictures in the top left corner, and the pop-up box shows you the resolution options you have for the picture. For most purposes the web resolution of 150ppi is fine, but if it’s a particularly large screen you’re using, or you’re going to print it, maybe choose the print 220ppi option. This reduces the resolution of the image down to that level, which should help reduce the file size of the image a bit.

If you uncheck the first box, you’ll apply that resolution change to all of the images in the deck, pushing the file size down a bit further.

It’s interesting to note that if you crop an image in PowerPoint, the cropped portion of the image is still there, just hidden away. That also adds to the file size of the PowerPoint, so checking the second box will delete any of these hidden areas, potentially reducing your file size a bit more.

That may do the trick, but sometimes you’ll come across a presentation that stubbornly refuses to yield a decent file size. At this point, you need to get tricksy.

Option 2: Getting into the Depths of the File

Go to the windows explorer folder where the presentation is stored. You can see the file size in the bottom left corner. Go to the view tab at the top and select the File name extensions box over on the right hand side. This puts the file type extension at the end of all of your files, so for PowerPoint, it’s .pptx, for example.

Now, copy and paste your PowerPoint file, using Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V. On the copy of the file, click on the .pptx and change it to .zip. Windows will give you a warning that you could ruin your file, but that’s OK, because this is a copy and the original is still safe. Say yes, and then you’ll see that your PowerPoint file has now turned into a zip file.

Open the zip file and you’ll be greeted with a lot unfriendly looking folders. Go into the ppt folder and there are even more unfriendly folders. Then go into the media folder, and here you’ll find all of the images, music, and video files used in your presentation. At this point, you can sort them by file size, and easily see the culprits that are jacking up your file size.

Once you’ve got them, you could either go into an image editing program – Office’s own Picture Manger is actually good for this, as you can use it to adjust the resolution of the images easily, and you’re looking for images usually no larger than about 1000 pixels in either height or width.

Or, failing that, use PowerPoint again.

Trick 1: Reducing Picture Resolution in PowerPoint

In PowerPoint, find the image that’s huge, copy it, and reduce the size of it physically on the slide. Then copy it using Ctrl + C, and then paste it using Ctrl + V. Before doing anything else, you’ll see there’s a little pop-up box in the bottom right of the image, which are the paste options. Choose the ‘Picture’ option and your image is now a new image at a lower resolution (because you made it smaller on the slide). Then use this to replace your existing image, which will then cut out the large file size.

Or, if you’ve got lots of animation on your image or it’s in a group and you don’t want to have to redo it, right click on the new smaller image and choose Save as Picture and save it somewhere. Then right click on the original picture, and choose Change Picture, which allows you to find another image to replace it with. If you choose the image that you’ve just saved, you shouldn’t see any difference on the slide, but your old large file size image should now have been replaced with the lower resolution, smaller file size image, helping to reduce the file size of your presentation.

Trick 2: Use the Correct File Type

Another tip is to think about the type of image file you’re working with. The three most common are JPEGs, PNGs, and TIFs. JPEGs are the most common and generally have the lowest resolution. They are usually of lower quality, but it’s often difficult to tell, unless the screen is high quality and large. PNGs provide excellent quality for the size, and also allow you to have transparent areas of your images, but that comes at a cost, with file size usually pretty high. TIF files are often produced by high quality cameras in professional photo shoots. They’re great for print, but overkill in a PowerPoint presentation. So if you’re struggling with the file size on a particular image, try saving it as a JPEG when you right click on it and choose Save as Picture.

Trick 3: Finding the Troublesome Picture Quickly

Final little trick here. If you’ve got lots of images in your presentation and you can’t find the image that’s causing the file size problems, one trick is to go back to the zip file, then ppt, then media, and delete the image that’s huge from the list. Then go back to the main folder, and change the file from a .zip back to a .pptx. When you open it up, you’ll see that one of the pictures has disappeared and been replaced with a white box with a red cross in it. Then you can do the Change Picture trick with that. Right click, choose Change Picture, and find a different, or a lower resolution image to fill the gap.

Bonus Download

And if you liked the look of the presentation in the video tutorial, you can download the PowerPoint file for free by clicking here. It contains 22 slides with different layouts and graphics for you to use in your own presentations. Give them a go, and let us know how you get on.