Microsoft

How to trim down the size of your PowerPoint presentation

PowerPoint files can get bloated in a hurry. Here are a few remedies that can help keep their size under control.

PowerPoint presentation files can grow quickly. Graphics files, music, and all those custom instructions really add up. There are a few things you can do to reduce the file's size:

  • Reduce all graphics files to 96 dpi if you don't need to print them directly from the presentation. For screen viewing, 96 dpi is the best you can get. To include files with a higher resolution is a waste.
  • Bitmap (.bmp) files are usually larger than other formats. If you're using bitmap files, try converting them to .jpeg or .png. Even .gif is better than .bmp, but not quite as efficient as .jpeg and .png.
  • If the file suddenly grows in size for no apparent reason, save the presentation using Save As and give it a new name. This simple trick can reduce the file's size up to 50%, but it won't always work. This trick works with normal bloat.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

16 comments
kras235
kras235

Our organization uses a third party software that is very inexpensive to purchase and optimizes PowerPoint as well as other formats and greatly reduces sizes without compromising the documents.

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

When you can get a 500GB drive for less than $100US?

juhlster1021
juhlster1021

I remember several years ago when our division head was putting together an important PPT. She called me in and said, somewhat shaken, that the file had become unresponsive. Turns out that the show, about 50 slides, was up at around 700MB. It took every ounce of memory, RAM and virtual, to refresh from one slide to the next. I resaved the thing to three new files and cut out slides until each piece had a third of the original slides. (Just to resave it three times took the better part of an hour, hourglass pointer churning away). The smaller files at least didn't bring Windows to a standstill. Turns out that almost every page had 1 - 5 photos, and almost every photo was from a high res scanner or digital camera (let's say, 3072 x 2048 or whatever -- ridiculous level of detail for a PPT, anyway). I resaved every picture as medium-resolution JPGs, 720 x 540 @ 72ppi (which was the size of her default PPT slide), and re-inserted them. After stitching the three parts back together, the whole presentation now came to about 8MB total size. Nobody could tell the slightest difference in the pictures' quality, either. So, reduce resolution to 96 or 72 ppi. But also reduce the overall dimensions.... that 3072 x 2048 picture is the same hog whether delineated as 1200ppi or 96ppi or 72ppi.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If your audience wants a copy, it's much cheaper and easier to leave CDs or DVDs behind than 500GB hard drives. If you want e-mail it, you won't garner much good will by blowing up the recipient's mailbox (assuming it isn't blocked due to the size).

ssharkins
ssharkins

1.) Not everyone has 500GB and the nature of presentations is that you're not always in control of the machine you're using. 2.) Even if you have 500GB, why waste it? 3.) I would imagine that even with 500GB, the larger pictures are slower to load. I haven't tested that, but makes sense.

juhlster1021
juhlster1021

More to the point, in the case of the manager I described in the earlier post, storage space wasn't an issue. She had created a PPT too big for Windows to work with. It ground to a halt. Yeah, extra RAM would have helped that. And that's getting a lot cheaper too. But our IT department, bless it, has no plans to start handing out bigger hard drives or more RAM just because these items are getting cheaper.

cschwartz
cschwartz

Aside from pictures or other objects that may be included, a simple trick is not using the Fast Saves option. In the Tools-->Options/Save Tab, UNcheck the Allow fast saves option.

patti.humphries
patti.humphries

You may have been ok using the Compress Pictures button on the Picture toolbar. It gives you the option of compressing all the pix in the presentation to either print resolution (200dpi) or web/screen resolution (96dpi). You can also check the option to delete cropped areas of photos. I usually keep the original jpg files in a library folder (or on an external hard drive) for future use... Another option... If I need to send the file, I use the convert to adobe .pdf feature if I don't want the customer to change anything.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

I do huge pix presentations - giving one tonite on the north edge of the universe (that's the San Fernando Valley for those not in LA area). You're right, simply resize. If I reduce pix straight from my digi-cam to 30% or 40% of their original size, the presentation size for 70 slides goes from 650 megs to 50-100 megs. you have to be careful not to reduce the pix too far or the presentation becomes pixelated and blurry. This is hard to see until on a projector and if you are reducing by percent make sure is not small enuf anyway, as described, in properties. I just paste into m$ photo editor but all photo editors can do this. I have the cheapest PC (GQ, via chipset) in the world and it does work with the bigger files but is slightly slower. Also you can save the finished presentation as a .pdf if you don't care about transitions and effects. PDF format is smart enuf to know about the dpi visibility limits, the 600 meg presentation went to 20 meg PDF.

ssharkins
ssharkins

I didn't even think of photographs! This is great advice. Thanks!

ssharkins
ssharkins

More good reasons -- I am ashamed I didn't think of them myself! :)

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

I hadn't thought of the memory issue. That makes sense.

juhlster1021
juhlster1021

Thanks, I will remember to try that next time someone comes to me with a PPT they can't run!

ssharkins
ssharkins

I learn a great deal from these discussions. :)

juhlster1021
juhlster1021

Nobody would think of all of the angles that come up from one setting to the next. I'd never thought about PDFing it until the replies that mention it, for example. You do us all a service by getting the ball rolling and the ideas flowing.

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