Compressing Pictures in PowerPoint
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
Date Created: May 1st 2008
Last Updated: June 14th 2012
The decline in the prices of digital cameras is directly related to the bloating file sizes of PowerPoint files. If you don’t believe me, just insert a few ten megapixel photos inside a PowerPoint presentation and see what happens to the file size. The poor presentation is probably already on its way to the bloat heavens. And the person to whom you send this presentation by email is on his way to download hell! OK – this behavior may no longer happen within the new PowerPoint 2007, but as I’ll explain later in this article, the compression settings in 2007 are hardly optimized enough.
Microsoft realized that compression was a large issue many years ago and built picture compression capabilities inside PowerPoint – right from PowerPoint 2002 (XP) onwards. Unfortunately (and you knew this was going to come in somewhere), they placed the compression options so well hidden inside the interface that even people who were using PowerPoint for years failed to discover the feature. And they did rectify this in the new PowerPoint 2007, although they then created the new problem of automatic compression. In this article, we will explore all the compression info that you need to know as a PowerPoint user.
If you are using any version earlier than PowerPoint 2002, you will still benefit from this article since I’ll explore third-party compression options. Or maybe you’ll end up justifying the cost of an upgrade to the current PowerPoint version!
Whichever version of PowerPoint you use, try this quick exercise:
- First of all, you need a bloated presentation to start with.
That’s easy – as I already suggested, insert a few
(maybe a dozen) megapixel photos inside your PowerPoint presentation.
Resize the photos to be no larger than the slide area. Save the
- Then check the size by summoning the Properties dialog box. PowerPoint
2007 users can choose Office Button | Prepare | Properties. This
brings up the Document Properties pane, and you need to again choose
Document Properties | Advanced Properties as shown in Figure
Figure 1: Select Advanced Properties
Users of older PowerPoint versions need to just choose File | Properties to get the same dialog box!
- In this dialog box, choose the General tab as shown in Figure
2 – this tab will provide more info about the
file size – make a note of the file size.
Figure 2: Make a note of the file size
Now, let’s put those pictures on an inch-loss program. In PowerPoint parlance, this means compressing the picture sizes to trim off the excess fat in the presentation. Follow these steps to compress the pictures depending upon your version of PowerPoint:
- With your active presentation open, save it by choosing Office
Button | Save so that any changes you made are saved.
- Now double-click on any picture on any slide to activate the
Picture Tools Format tab on the Ribbon.
- Within this new tab, click the Compress Pictures option as shown
in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Compress pictures
- This brings up the Compress Pictures box that you can see in Figure
4 – make sure that the Apply to selected pictures
only option is deselected, and click Options button.
Figure 4: Compress pictures
- This summons the Compression Settings dialog box that you can
see in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Compression Settings
- Choose your compression settings as required. You could leave
the Automatically Perform Basic Compression on Save and the Delete
Cropped Areas of Pictures options selected, but you’ll want
to deselect the former option if you don’t want automatic
Also, change your Target output to E-mail (96 ppi) – this works best unless you need to print your slides to high res printers.
- Click OK twice in successive dialog boxes to get back to PowerPoint.
If your computer feels sluggish at this time, that’s because
PowerPoint is working hard to apply the compression settings you
- Save your presentation (or save it as a new file) – and then compare file sizes again to ascertain if compression helped in reducing the file size.
PowerPoint 2002 and 2003
- With your active presentation open, save it by File | Save so
that any changes you made are saved.
- Select any one picture in your presentation.
- Right-click the picture and choose Format Picture from the resultant
fly-out menu. This will open the Format Picture dialog box with
six tabs that you can see in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Picture tab in the Format Picture dialog box
- Choose the Picture tab and click the Compress button to open
the Compress Pictures dialog box that you can see in Figure
Figure 7: Compression Pictures
- Change the Resolution to Web/Screen and opt to Apply to All
pictures in document. Also leave the options for Compress pictures
and Delete cropped areas of pictures checked.
- Click OK and then Apply in the successive dialog box. Ignore
any warnings. This will get you back to the Format Picture dialog
box. If your computer feels sluggish at this time, that’s
because PowerPoint is working hard to apply the compression settings
you just chose.
- Click OK again to dismiss the Format Picture dialog box. Now
save your presentation.
- Make a trip again to the Properties dialog box and check the
new file size against the earlier file size, as shown in Figure
8. Now only if reducing waist sizes was this easy!
Figure 8: Check Properties again to compare file sizes
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