10 Strategies to Compress Large PowerPoint Presentations

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated June 23, 2020

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can reduce the size of your PowerPoint files in several ways. The most common strategy to reduce PowerPoint presentation size is to compress pictures as well as video and audio files. However, you can also use other methods to make large files smaller including saving media and PowerPoint files in other formats and converting or removing embedded objects.

In this article, we’ll look at 10 ways to reduce the size of a PowerPoint presentation:

  1. Compress pictures
  2. Insert pictures instead of copying and pasting
  3. Use smaller image files
  4. Convert images to a different file type
  5. Save a copy of images with artistic effects
  6. Compress audio and video
  7. Link to audio or video files
  8. Convert Excel charts and other embedded objects
  9. Save a copy of large PowerPoint files
  10. Save a copy in PDF format

Note: Buttons and Ribbon tabs may display in a different way (with or without text) depending on your version of PowerPoint, the size of your screen and your Control Panel settings. For PowerPoint 365 users, Ribbon tabs may appear with different names. For example, the Picture Tools Format tab may appear as Picture Format.

To view file size in PowerPoint:

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Info. In the Properties area, file size is listed beside Size.

Microsoft PowerPoint File Info pane which displays properties including file size.

Once you’ve completed the following strategies, close and save the PowerPoint file, reopen it and check the file size again. You can also view file size in Windows 10 File Explorer or Windows Explorer in older versions of Windows.

Recommended article: How to Embed YouTube Video in PowerPoint

1. Compress pictures

One of the most common ways to reduce file size is to compress one or all of the pictures in your PowerPoint file. You may want to try this with one picture at a time to be sure you are satisfied with the result after compression.

To compress a picture:

  1. In Normal View, select a picture on a slide.
  2. Click the Picture Tools Format or Format Picture tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Adjust group, click Compress Pictures. A dialog box appears.
  4. Select the check box to Apply only to this picture if you want to compress only the current picture or uncheck this option if you wish to compress all pictures in the presentation.
  5. Select the check box to Delete cropped areas of pictures if you have cropped images and want to permanently delete the areas you have removed by cropping.
  6. Choose the desired document resolution.
  7. Click OK.

Microsoft PowerPoint compress pictures dialog box.

Don’t forget to check pictures in Slide Master View (click the View tab in the Ribbon and then click Slide Master) as you may want to compress or delete those images as well.

2. Insert pictures instead of copying and pasting

It’s best to insert pictures, rather than copying and pasting (or dragging and dropping) into the PowerPoint file. When you copy and paste (or drag and drop) an image into a presentation, it can lose compression, change file type and also bring in other data that can increase file size.

To insert a picture onto a PowerPoint slide:

  1. In Normal View, display the slide where you want to insert a picture.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon and click Pictures (2013 and later versions) or Picture (2010). You can also click the Pictures or Picture icon in a placeholder on a slide. A dialog box appears.
  3. Navigate to the location of the picture.
  4. Select the picture and click Insert or double-click the picture.

You also have the option of linking to a picture file by clicking the arrow beside Insert in the Insert Picture dialog box and then choosing Link to File. However, the picture is not actually “in” the file (which reduces file size) and if you email the document, the pictures will not be included. If you use this strategy, it’s best to copy the picture to the same folder as the PowerPoint presentation and be sure to bring the entire folder with you when you deliver the presentation.

3. Use smaller image files

It’s best to insert pictures in smaller sizes to reduce the size of your PowerPoint files. For example, if you are inserting pictures from a phone taken at a high resolution, this will result in larger PowerPoint decks. Create, save or send images at a lower resolution and insert the lower resolution images into your PowerPoint files.

If you’re using stock images, select images at the lowest resolution (at the quality level you require). You can also open an image in an image editing program (such as Microsoft Picture Manager or Adobe Photoshop) and then save it at a lower resolution.

In PowerPoint 365, one of the biggest culprits causing inflated file size is 3D models. Although 3D models are not inserted as pictures but rather as 3D models, they are images. One 3D model we inserted took up 17 MB of space. You can’t compress 3D models like other types of images so you may need to delete 3D models or use a picture instead of a 3D model if file size is an issue.

4. Convert images to a different file type

Prior to inserting an image in PowerPoint, you can open it in an image editing program (such as Microsoft Picture Manager or Adobe Photoshop) and then use Save As to save the image in another format.

The format that will result in the smallest size is usually JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group format) or JPG. The JPEG compression algorithm significantly reduces the file size of images.

You can also save images in PowerPoint in different formats:

  1. Right-click the picture. A drop-down menu appears.
  2. Select Save As Picture. A dialog box appears.
  3. Navigate to the folder where you want to save the image.
  4. Enter a name for the file and select a format such as JPG or PNG.
  5. Click Save.
  6. In the PowerPoint presentation, delete the original image.
  7. Click Insert and then click Picture(s).
  8. Navigate to the location with the image you saved.
  9. Double-click the image.

5. Save a copy of images with artistic effects

When you apply an artistic effect to an image, PowerPoint retains two copies of the image (the original and a copy with the artistic effects). This allows the user to reset the image but can significantly increase file size. Compressing pictures also doesn’t normally have any effect on images where you have applied artistic effects.

If you have applied an artistic effect (such as blur) to an image, you can reduce file size using the following method:

  1. Right-click the image with the artistic effect. A drop-down menu appears.
  2. Select Save As Picture. A dialog box appears.
  3. Navigate to the folder where you want to save the image.
  4. Enter a name and select a file type (usually JPG or PNG).
  5. Click Save.
  6. In the PowerPoint presentation, delete the image with the artistic effect.
  7. Click Insert and then click Picture(s).
  8. Navigate to the location with the image you saved with the artistic effect.
  9. Double-click the image.

6. Compress audio and video

In 2010 and later versions of PowerPoint, audio and video files are copied into presentations rather than linked to the original files. You can improve playback performance and reduce PowerPoint file size by compressing audio and video files in your presentation.

Files can be compressed at different quality levels.

In PowerPoint 2010 to 2016, you can compress to the following quality levels:

  • Presentation Quality – select this option to save space but maintain overall audio and video quality.
  • Internet Quality – select this option and quality will be comparable to media which is streamed over the web.
  • Low Quality – select this option if space is limited, such as when you are sending presentations via e-mail.

Microsoft PowerPoint compress media options.

In PowerPoint 2019 and 365, you can compress to the following quality levels:

  • Full HD (1080p) – select this option to save space while maintaining overall audio and video quality.
  • HD (720p) – select this option to save space and the quality will be comparable to media which is streamed over the Internet.
  • Standard (480p) – select this option when space is limited, such as when you are sending presentations via e-mail.

Note: Some older video file formats may not compress or export properly. Embedded subtitles and alternate audio tracks will be lost in the compression process.

To apply media compression:

  1. Open the presentation that contains the audio or video files you want to compress.
  2. Save a copy of the presentation so you can retain a copy of the file with the original media.
  3. In the copy, click the File tab in the Ribbon.
  4. Click Info.
  5. In the Media Size and Performance area, click Compress Media. A dialog box appears.
  6. Select the desired compression option. A dialog box appears indicating that media compression is in progress. PowerPoint will indicate how much space is saved.
  7. When compression is complete, click Close.

Compress media dialog box in Microsoft PowerPoint.

7. Link to audio or video files

You also have the option of linking to audio or video files. When you insert an audio or video file, click the arrow beside Insert in the Insert dialog box and then choose Link to File. Linked audio or video is not actually “in” the presentation (which reduces file size) and if you email the presentation, the media files will not be included if you have linked to audio or video files. Linking was the default behavior in PowerPoint 2007 and earlier versions for video and larger audio files.

If you choose to link to audio or video files, t’s best to copy the media files to the same folder as the PowerPoint presentation and be sure to bring the entire folder with you when you deliver the presentation.

Note: You cannot apply certain types of formatting to linked video files.

8. Convert Excel charts and other embedded objects

Embedded objects such as Excel charts or worksheets can also increase file size. If you convert embedded objects to images, it can impact the size or your presentation. You can also reduce file size by breaking links to Excel files.

If you want to convert embedded objects into pictures, you can ungroup them or cut and paste them back into PowerPoint.

To ungroup an object:

  1. Select the chart or embedded object.
  2. Click the Format tab in the Ribbon. This tab may appear as Drawing Tools Format, Drawing Format or Shape Format.
  3. Select Group and then Ungroup. A dialog box appears asking if you want to convert the object to a PowerPoint object.
  4. Click OK.

To cut an object and paste it back into a presentation as a picture:

  1. Select the embedded chart or object.
  2. Press Ctrl + X to cut it.
  3. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  4. Click the arrow below Paste to display the drop-down menu and then choose Paste Special.
  5. Select an image type (such as JPEG) and click OK.

Microsoft PowerPoint paste special dialog box.

If you have links to Excel files, you can reduce file size using Edit Links to Files. Check out How to Break, Update or Change Links to Excel Charts or Worksheets in PowerPoint for more information on how to break links.

9. Save a copy of large PowerPoint files

It’s not a bad idea to save a copy of a large PowerPoint files periodically using Save As. If you save a copy using Save As, version history and some editing data is removed during the process.

To save a copy of a PowerPoint file:

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Choose Save As. If necessary, click Options or More Options. A dialog box appears.
  3. Navigate to the desired location and name the file with a different name (such as OurServices2).
  4. Click Save.

You could save a copy of large decks regularly and include a date in the name of the file (such as Our-Services-May-7-2020). This can also help avoid corrupt files.

10. Save a copy in PDF format

It’s also common to save a copy of a presentation as a PDF (portable document format) file to reduce the size and then share it with others. You can compress images during the process.

To save a PowerPoint presentation as a PDF (and compress images):

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Choose Save As and then click Options or More Options if necessary. A dialog box appears.
  3. Navigate to the desired location and enter a name for the file. You can use the same name since the extension will be different (PDF).
  4. Under File Type, select PDF.
  5. Click Tools on the bottom right of the dialog box. A drop-down menu appears.
  6. Select Compress Pictures. A dialog box appears.
  7. Click the desired compression option.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click Save.

Large file size is a common problem in PowerPoint and you can use these strategies to reduce the size of your PowerPoint presentations. Compressing the size of your decks should also help to improve speed and avoid crashes.

This article was originally published on November 6, 2016 and has been updated for content and clarity.

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How to Reduce PowerPoint File Size (10 Ways to Compress Your PowerPoint Decks)
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How to Reduce PowerPoint File Size (10 Ways to Compress Your PowerPoint Decks)
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You can reduce the size of your PowerPoint files in several ways. The most common strategy to reduce PowerPoint presentation size is to compress pictures as well as video and audio files. However, you can also use other methods to make large files smaller including saving media and PowerPoint files in other formats and converting or removing embedded objects.
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Avantix Learning Inc.

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