Reduce a Microsoft office document's file size

In order to reduce the file size of any Microsoft document (Word, Powerpoint or Excel) there are a few steps we can take without removing content.


Images usually make up the vast majority of a document's file size as text uses very little file space by comparison. Although removing images would reduce the file size, this isn't always the best way forward as those images are there for a reason. We can however 'compress' them. Image compression minimises the file size of an image with degrading the quality  to an unacceptable level. More often than not, images will be higher quality than what is needed for the sake of the document. Therefore we can compress the images to reduce the overall file size of the document. If you have any images which have been cropped, we may also delete the parts of the image that have been cropped out to save more space.


Word/Excel/Powerpoint -Windows and Microsoft Office 2016


  • First select an image (any image in the document will do) by placing the cursor over it and left clicking. You can tell when the image is selected as you will have white dots (resize handles) displayed around the edge of the image:  Illustrative image
  • Once selected, in the ribbon at the top of the screen you should see a new tab appear that’s marked "Picture tools": Illustrative image
  • Selecting this option will allow us to format anything related to the picture itself, including its compression ratio. Once in this menu look to the left for the "compress pictures" option as this will open a further submenu where we will be given several options: Illustrative image
  • We have several options in the 'Compress Pictures' menu. First we must choose if we wish to affect all pictures within the document or only the one we have selected, checking or unchecking 'apply only to this picture' will alternate between the two. Leave this unchecked in order for the menu to apply the settings you choose to all pictures within the document automatically: Illustrative image
  • You can also check 'Delete cropped areas of pictures' in this menu in order to remove any areas of images which have been cropped. Be aware however, that you will not be able to return an image to its full size after this option has been used, which means it's only a good option to use once the document has been completed and no more alterations to the images are needed.
  • Below this you can change the 'target output' which will affect the images resolution. There are several different stages which are outlined with different quality levels. If you are using a HD image but it's not filling the slide, the majority of the quality will be wasted meaning that we can change it to one of the lower levels. If however the image is not a high DPI to start with you may not notice much of a difference in file size.


Converting a document to PDF in order to reduce file size


The file type of a document can greatly affect the size of the document. Microsoft documents such as Word, Excel or Powerpoint are still editable and therefore have to retain far more information in order to remain editable. If however, you have completed work upon a document and require no further editing you can export the file into a different type such as PDF in order to reduce the overall file size. This will duplicate the document so that you have the original and a PDF.


In order to export a document to a PDF file first open the document you wish to convert. Once open, click 'File' to access the menu and select 'export':


  • Select 'File' in the ribbon menu: Illustrative image
  • Select 'Export' and then 'create PDF/XPS: Illustrative image
  • Select the location you'd like to save the file, give it and name. A finally before you click save you can choose to limit the file size to the minimum possible under the 'optimise for' option as publishing online: Illustrative image

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