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How to Optimize, Shrink, or Compress Powerpoint Presentations

Problem

After adding images to your Powerpoint presentation, your Powerpoint file (PPT) may become very large. For example, I have one PPT of three slides and five pictures that is over six megabytes! Such files are unwieldy, especially for sending via email. Email attachments are typically encoded in a format that makes binary files expand. That six megabyte Powerpoint becomes ten megabytes when sent as an attachment.

Cause

When you add pictures to Powerpoint, they are stored in an unoptimized format. For example, if you crop a picture, the parts that were cropped are still taking up space (so you can uncrop later if needed). If the picture is at high resolution, then the fine details remain regardless of how the picture is reduced in height and width. For example, you might add a picture from a four megapixel digital camera that is 2000 by 2000 pixels in size. If you resize this to a 1 inch square in the Powerpoint slide, the resolution will be 2000 dots per inch (dpi)! By comparison, recommended print resolution is 200 dpi while screen resolution is only 96 dpi.

Solution

For typical print or screen viewing, you can remove the fine detail and cropped parts of the pictures to reduce the file size. Powerpoint 2002 (or XP) has a built-in feature to compress the pictures in a presentation. To use it, follow these simple steps:

  1. Click on any picture in your presentation.
  2. You should see the "Pictures Toolbar". If you do not, check the "View"→"Toolbars"→"Picture" option from the menus. Click on the "Compress Pictures" icon as shown.
    Powerpoint Picture Toolbar Compress Pictures Icon
  3. You will see the "Compress Pictures Dialog" box. Select "All pictures in document". If you are sending the file out for screen viewing and review only, then select the "Web/Screen" option and both checkboxes, "Compress pictures" and "Delete cropped areas of pictures".
    Powerpoint Compress Pictures Dialog
  4. Use "File"→"Save as..." menu item to save your presentation with a new file name, adding the words "For Review", "For Viewing", "For Printing", or something similar. You should keep your original Powerpoint file, or at least the original pictures, in case you need to edit the pictures again.

The six megabyte file I described above becomes 200 KB when pictures are compressed for the web, and 500 KB when compressed for printing. That represents an order of magnitude reduction in file size. Remember, by compressing the presentation, you lose the cropped parts of the pictures and the fine detail of the pictures. If you need those again, make sure to save the original presentation or the original pictures.

Alternative Solution

If you have an older version of Office without the compression feature, then you can simply crop/size your images in a graphics editor outside of Powerpoint, and then reinsert them. If you have embedded movies, you can use your movie authoring software to adjust the movie size before inserting. Note, Powerpoint 97 has a flaw that increases the file size when you add JPG images, so make sure your Office has the latest service release by going to Microsoft Office Update Website.

Commercial Solutions

FILEminimizer Office (the new PPTminimizer) reduces the size of PowerPoint, Word and Excel files by up to 98% using an intelligent compression technique which compresses pictures and embedded objects while still preserving the original file format and quality.

NXPowerLite is an automatic program for compressing Powerpoint files. It can be downloaded as a free trial for 10 uses. You can try it, but since its main function is to compress pictures as above, you probably do not need to buy it unless your version of Office does not have the compress pictures feature.

Powershrink is another graphical program for compressing Powerpoint presentations. It also mainly compresses the pictures. It can be downloaded and tried 20 times before a license must be purchased.

CZ-Ppt2Jpg For MS Powerpoint V2.0 is a batch ppt converter that converts powerpoint files to jpg/jpeg. They also sell many other convertors.

Alternatives to Powerpoint

openoffice faviconOpenOffice is a full-featured, free office productivity suite for Windows. Along with spreadsheet, document, and database software, it contains a program called Impress for making presentations. It can read/write Powerpoint and other Office files. Also, its file formats are compressed automatically.

Pando File Sharing

One of our readers recommended Pando, at www.pando.com, for exchanging large Powerpoint files. If the sender and recipient are both using Pando (like the Skype model), then there is no need for compression. You can exchange huge files and folders up to one Gigabyte for free using the Pando application. With the plug-ins, you can send from within your web mail or instant messaging provider, like Gmail, Skype, and Yahoo Messenger. Thanks to Ephy

Links

Applies to

Microsoft Office XP, Powerpoint 2002, PowerPoint 2001, Windows XP


Created 2005-01-23, Last Modified 2015-09-07, © Shailesh N. Humbad
Disclaimer: This content is provided as-is. The information may be incorrect.