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How to Reduce Your PowerPoint (PPT) File Size Way Down

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PowerPoint presentations can easily increase in size over time. As you're adding more video, images, audio, and slides, the file size  will increase as well. 

In many cases, I've found myself hitting my email attachment limit when sending PowerPoint presentations to others. I could put it in a Dropbox share or upload it online, but the real problem is that the presentation should be downsized first.

Luckily, there are some good techniques that will help you reduce the size of your presentation files. In this tutorial, I'll walk you through several tips and tricks to reduce your PowerPoint file size.

Learn these skills to help reduce the size of your PowerPoint files—your clients and collaborators just might thank you for it.

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Quick Ways to Reduce Your PowerPoint File Size (Watch & Learn)

In this quick video, I'll teach you my techniques to reduce PowerPoint file sizes. I'll walk you through, step-by-step on several tips that help you compress and optimize your PowerPoint presentations. These tips will help you trim a file before you share it with others.

 

How to Reduce You PowerPoint File Size 

Miss any of the tips in the video, or prefer a written version of these steps? Check out the instructions below to find out more about how to reduce your PowerPoint file size. Learn all about compression techniques and other ways to quickly shrink your PowerPoint PPT file size down:

1. Compress Selected Pictures in PPT File

Images are easily one of the largest parts of most PowerPoint presentations. Compressing them can decrease the overall size of your PowerPoint file.

Often, I find myself pasting images into a presentation from all over the web, on my computer, and using built-in graphics. As I'm doing this, I'm often bringing large image files into my PowerPoint without thinking of the file size implications on my PowerPoint file. That can make for a quick and fluid design process, but will leave you with some cleanup needed. 

To get started with image compression, select an image inside of your PowerPoint PPT file. On the ribbon, you'll see a Picture Tools > Format tab. Click on this tab, and then find the Compress Pictures option.

Compress image in PowerPoint
Choose the Picture Tools > Format > Compress Pictures option to start compressing an image in PowerPoint.

After you've selected the Compress Pictures option in PowerPoint, you'll see a new pop-up menu to tweak the compression settings for the selected image.

On this menu, there are two key settings to double check:

  • I always ensure that Delete cropped areas of pictures is ticked; this removes any pixels that we've already cropped out of an image. Keep in mind that this will prevent you from re-cropping the picture to include those pixels later on.
  • Set a Resolution on the low-end of the options, such as 96 ppi to really reduce the fidelity of images and reduce the PowerPoint PPT file's size.
Compress pictures in PowerPoint  settings
Use my recommended settings to really reduce the size that the image will occupy in the PowerPoint file.

If you have several key, large images that you want to compress, use this feature as a starting point to downsize your presentation file. 

2. Compress All Pictures in Your PowerPoint

Now that we've learned the value of compressing images, let's learn how to batch compress every image in a presentation.

On Windows, the feature is simple enough: simply uncheck the Apply only to this picture option on the Compress Pictures pop-up window. PowerPoint will automatically shrink and reduce all of the images in your presentation file.

For Mac PowerPoint users, the feature appears slightly differently in the Compress Pictures menu. 

Follow the same directions to access the Compress Pictures menu; with an image selected, go to Picture Format > Compress Pictures. On this menu, the option reads Apply to: All pictures in this file. This has the same effect, and will downsize your images.

Compress all your pictures in PowerPoint
Compress all your pictures in PowerPoint with these settings. 

Be careful when using this feature! While it will certainly reduce the size of the images in your PowerPoint PPT file, make sure that you aren't permanently removing any cropped areas of images that you'll want to re-use at some point.

3. 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 on GraphicRiver, 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.

Advanced Default Resolution
Advanced resolution setting to really reduce the final PowerPoint 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.

4. Link to Videos in Your Presentation

Many presentations will include video files to add some variety to the presentation, but how you add them will really affect the size of your finished PowerPoint file. Another option to shrink your PowerPoint file size is to link to multimedia objects, instead of embedding them inside of the file. 

To begin inserting a video on your computer into your PowerPoint file, go to the Insert tab on the ribbon and click on Video > Video on My PC.

In PowerPoint, there are really two ways to include video files in your presentation:

  1. Insert the video directly into the PowerPoint file itself.
  2. Link to the video file.

Both of these options will place a video on the PowerPoint canvas, but in very different ways. Inserting the video will include it as a part of the PowerPoint file. It's actually bundled inside of the PowerPoint file, so that you can send it to anyone and the video will play.

To link to the video, browse to where the video file is stored. Click the dropdown arrow next to the Insert button, and choose Link to File to insert the video inside of your PowerPoint file.

Link to file inside of PowerPoint
Choose Insert > Link to File to create a reference to a video file, instead of embedding it directly inside the PowerPoint PPT file bundle.

Linking to the video will reference the original file and simply link to it. Basically, you're creating a reference to the video file instead of adding it to your presentation file.

Inserted video into PowerPoint presentation
A linked PowerPoint video file will appear the same as one you embed, but it won't increase the size of your PowerPoint file.

The downside to this approach is that if you link to your video and send your presentation to someone else, the video won't play correctly. PowerPoint will be looking for the video on the local device instead of inside the PowerPoint file.

Ideally, your video is hosted somewhere online, like YouTube, so that you neither have to embed the video in your PowerPoint file, or link to it on your computer. 

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Download our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It's available for free with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. 

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Recap and Keep Learning More About PowerPoint

In this tutorial, I showed you some quick steps to reduce the size of your PowerPoint files. Following these simple workflows will optimize your presentations and keep storage space to a minimum.

There's no reason to stop learning PowerPoint now. Here are tutorials to help you keep growing your presentation and PowerPoint skills:

How did these tricks reduce your files? Let me know in the comments, or if you have any questions about how to reduce your PowerPoint file size, feel free to ask.

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