How to Compress Your PowerPoint Presentation

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  • 1:16 Causes
  • 3:00 Compressing Images
  • 4:11 Compressing Video & Audio
  • 7:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

In this lesson, we'll learn about a common cause of large PowerPoint files, which can be problematic in sharing or presenting PowerPoint slides. We'll also review the steps to compressing pictures and media to help make our PowerPoint document smaller.

My PowerPoint File Is Too Big!

So, you have worked hard on your presentation. Your slides are amazing, the content is impressive, the images are relevant, and you are ready to present or email it out. You go to the File menu, click on Info and notice the size of the file is HUGE! Not only is there the potential for your slideshow to suffer and possibly crash during your presentation (which would be really embarrassing), but there is no way you can email the presentation without it being rejected. So, how can you make your presentation smaller?

You definitely have options. If you want to email it, you can always zip up the file, send it to your recipient and hope they know how to unzip it. You can always convert the presentation to a PDF file, which is smaller, but then you'll lose all the slideshow functionality, animations and transitions.

PowerPoint has given you a third option. You can reduce the size of your images, videos and audio clips using a compression feature. Let's start with a look at why the size of your PowerPoint file has the potential to get so large, and then we'll go into how to compress it.

Causes of Large PowerPoint Files

Inserted images, videos and audio clips are probably the most common reasons for large PowerPoint files. Let me show you what one picture or image can do to the size of your presentation.

Below, we are going to compare three presentations. To see the size of each presentation, we will look in the Info section, under the File menu.

1. This is a new presentation with only one empty slide, and we can see that the file size is 30 KB (this is kilobytes). This is very small.

File size of 30 KB
slide showing size of presentation

2. This is a presentation with five text-only slides. The file size has increased to 43.4 KB, which is still pretty small.

File size of 43.4 KB
slide showing size of powerpoint presentation

3. This is the same presentation with the same five text-only slides, but we have added an image to each slide. You can see the file size has sky-rocketed to 1.10 MB, or megabytes (this is over 1,000 KB).

File size of 1.10 MB
slide showing size of presentation

If we were to add a video or audio, this would become even larger and likely too big for email, potentially creating issues during your presentation.

In order to make the size of our presentation smaller, we will need to compress any images, videos or audio clips in our presentation. There are two types of compression, one for the images and one for the video or audio. Let's start with compressing the size of our images or pictures.

Steps to Compressing Images or Pictures

It sounds complicated, but don't panic. I have broken it down into three easy steps.

  1. Double-click on the image you want to compress. This will bring up the Picture Tools in the ribbon.
  2. Go to the grouping of commands in the ribbon called Adjust and click on the Compress Pictures icon. This is the small icon in the upper, right-hand corner of the Adjust section. And remember, if you need help and can't find the icon, use the hover command. Hover over each icon to get the name of the command.
  3. The resulting pop-up will give you the option to compress the size of the image you selected (with the email option being the smallest). By un-checking the 'Apply only to this picture' option, you can reduce the size of all the images in your presentation at one time.

So, let's go back and compare the size of our presentation. Before we ran the compression, the size of our presentation was 1.10 MB; after compression, 309 KB. So it does make a huge difference.

Compressing Audio and Video

So, let's move on to compressing video and audio. Video and audio can also play a big role in the size of your presentation. To add video or audio to a slide, you can either insert the entire video into your slide or create a link on the slide that takes you to where the video is located. In the event you want to insert the full media file, directly into your slide, you might want to consider compressing the file.

Below, I have three examples of slides with media. I want to show you how the sizes of the presentations are affected when media compression is used. Each of these examples is using the same presentation - we have one slide and one video inserted directly on to the slide.

1. Now, in this slide we have not used any compression on the media, so the size is 7.72 MB (or 7,905 KB).

File size of 7.72 MB
image showing size

2. We have used Internet-quality compression on the video. The size was reduced to 7.25 MB (or about 7,400 KB). That's actually quite a bit.

File size after Internet-quality compression
image showing size after internet quality compression

3. We used low-quality compression, and the size has dropped to 6.21 MB (or just about 6,300 KB).

File size after low-quality compression
image showing size after low quality compression

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