Quickly reduce PowerPoint file size

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Beautiful images, slick transitions, dynamic animations and maybe even some video can help create a sleek and professional slide deck. You know what else they can create? A big, bloated PowerPoint file. Here’s how to quickly reduce the size of your PowerPoint file.

If the size of your PowerPoint file is on the large side, it can take an age to open, suffer from sluggish animation and transitions and may even unexpectedly crash. And if you want to email your PowerPoint? Well, that could be a problem.

File size can often be overlooked by everyday users, but it’s something you must pay attention to, especially in larger presentations that contain a good amount of visual assets. Each image or media file that you insert into your presentation will increase the overall size of the PowerPoint project file, since it’s holding all that additional data.

Luckily, there are a few simple fixes that will solve these problems and ensure your PowerPoint presentation is lean and responsive.

Reduce PowerPoint file size by using the right images

First things first. Before we talk about reducing the size of your PowerPoint file, let’s talk about keeping it slender in the first place. You don’t need huge images to begin with.

Images should generally be no bigger than 1920×1080 pixels, and as long as those images are below 400 – 500kb, you and your PowerPoint will be fine. (This is the standard ratio for a widescreen monitor.)

And if the image you’re using doesn’t fill the entire slide, you can minimise the number of pixels by choosing an image size that’s more suitable to the area you’re working in. So if the image takes up a quarter of the slide, go for a image around 950 x 500 pixels.

We recommend using JPEGs as your file type for images when possible. These will generally have the lowest disk size (this format represent compressed images). If part of your image has a transparent background, however, you will have to save the image as PNG instead. If you notice an image is exceptionally large in your presentation, right click then Save as Picture and select JPEG as the file type. Replace the existing image with your new JPEG and this may do the trick.

Reduce PowerPoint file size by compressing images

To compress images in PowerPoint, first select one or multiple (Shift + Mouse Click) pictures in your presentation. The Picture Format tab should then appear in the main PowerPoint ribbon. Navigate to it and select the Compress Pictures option:

Quickly reduce PowerPoint file size

You’ll then be met with a dialogue box and a number of options. To compress all the files in your presentation, deselect the Apply only to this picture option.

If you think you may need to edit the images later, then deselect the Delete cropped areas of pictures option. Leaving this ticked will delete the data for parts of the images that can’t be seen on the slide.

Quickly reduce PowerPoint file size

You will also be asked what resolution you want to compress your images down to. If you are going be printing off your slides then the 330 ppi option is best but for on-screen presenting then we recommend 150 ppi as this is the resolution PowerPoint displays on screen so it is unnecessary to have images any larger than this.

Reduce PowerPoint file size by compressing media files

This one’s just as simple. Should your presentation contain media or video files, then it’s a good idea to compress them using PowerPoint’s tool. One thing to bear in mind is that if you have embedded subtitles or an alternate audio track on your video or media file, then don’t perform the compression. You’ll lose them.

On the File tab, click Info, and then in the Media Size and Performance section, click Compress Media.

Quickly reduce PowerPoint file size

PowerPoint will first give you the option to convert any files so that they can be compressed. You have the option to compress to Presentation Quality, Internet Quality and Low Quality. In our experience, we’ve found that Internet Quality is more often than not good enough.

The compression tool will do all videos in your presentation, cut any trimmed sections of videos (which is really handy when you don’t have access to video editing software) and show you how much you’ve reduced the file size by.

Save a Low PPI Copy

In the Compress Pictures tip, we reduced the resolution of the images inside the PowerPoint presentation. This tip will have many of the same effects, but for the entire PowerPoint presentation.

Many of the amazing PowerPoint (PPT) themes, for example, come in ultra high resolution versions. These files look great on modern, high resolution laptops and tablets.

However, most of my presentations are given on projectors or online where these high resolutions are overkill. It's much better to save a lower PPI version to discard that unneeded resolution in the interest of compressing my PowerPoint presentation down to a smaller file.

To do just that, choose FIle > Save as when you're ready to complete the presentation. On the save options, click the dropdown arrow on the Tools button, and choose Save Options.

On the Advanced tab, check the Discard editing data option, which will remove the edit history for your file and reduce the size of the file. Also, reduce the default resolution to a smaller size (like 96 ppi) to really reduce the final file.

Quickly reduce PowerPoint file size

These options are a great way to reduce the final PowerPoint file size. Remember that you can always save a copy of the original file so that your original, full resolution copy is preserved if needed.