Before you go to the effort of compressing your PowerPoint presentation, ask yourself if you even need to bother?
If you are not having trouble sharing your presentation, or you don’t need to email it to anyone (maybe you can share it on a USB instead), don’t worry about how large your presentation is.
If you’ve added lots of images, videos, graphics, and 3D models, your PowerPoint presentation might be huge, but so what?
Only follow these steps if you find that your presentation is becoming unwieldy or too big to share. And then, only do the minimum required to get to a functional state.
I’m using the latest version of Microsoft Office, the Microsoft 365 subscription (which I highly recommend), click here to check it out.
[Watch] 6 Different Ways to Compress a PowerPoint
1. Compress Images in PowerPoint
If you have lots of images in your presentation, you can save a lot of space by compressing them. This is a fast and easy way to reduce your PowerPoint file size.
You can also save a lot of file space in PowerPoint by converting your PNG images into JPEG images before you compress them. To learn how to do that before you compress your images, read our guide here.
Notice in the picture above how much space was saved using the different compression options.
The HD (96 ppi) compressed file is 17x smaller than the original presentations. Just make sure when you compress your images that you pay attention to the quality of the images. The more you compress an image in PowerPoint, the more image quality you will lose.
Ideally you want to use the HIGHEST quality resolution as possible, especially if you are presenting on a large overhead projector.
To compress your images in PowerPoint, follow these steps.
1. Open the Pictures Format tab
Select a picture in PowerPoint to open the Picture Format tab in your Ribbon and select it. If you are not using the latest version of PowerPoint, the tab is called the Pictures Tool Format tab.
The Picture Format tab is where all the commands and features related to working with and editing images and photos in PowerPoint are located.
For example, to see how to turn an image into a black and white drawing using the Artistic Effect features in PowerPoint, read our guide here.
If you do not see the Picture Format tab in your PowerPoint Ribbon, it means you have not selected an image or photo to work with. The Picture Format tab is contextual, in that it will opens once you have selected an image or picture to work with.
2. Select the Compress Pictures command
Inside the Picture Format tab, find and select the Compress Pictures command.
Depending on your screen resolution and the size of your computer monitor, this command might appear as just an icon or as an icon with the words Compress Pictures next to it.
Either way, the icon should be to the right of the Transparency command.
3. Choose your Compression options
You have two main compression options to choose from which of quickly highlighted below.
Apply only to this picture: this option determines whether the resolution you pick in the next step, is applied to just the current picture you have selected, or all the pictures within your presentation.
Because different pictures require different compression resolutions, I recommend keeping the Apply only to this picture option selected and working your way through the images in your presentation one by one.
If you know that you want all of the pictures in your presentation compressed to a specific resolution, you can choose to unselect this option.
Delete cropped areas of pictures: this option removes any cropped areas in your pictures as part of the compression process. If you leave the selected, it will dramatically decrease the size of any images you cropped areas out of by removing them.
Typically, PowerPoint keeps the cropped-out areas of your photo so that you can always reset the image back to its original. By selecting the Delete cropped areas of pictures you are removing these cropped out areas of your photos to decrease their size, you are not able to reset your image back to its original.
To learn how to crop down your pictures in PowerPoint to save more space before you compress them, see our cropping guide here.
4. Choose your Resolution
Next, choose the resolution you want your image(s) compressed to. The smaller the resolution, the smaller the overall size of the images will be within your presentation, the smaller your presentation will be.
The question is, what is the best resolution to pick? This depends on how you plan to give your presentation.
If you’re presenting a large overhead projector, I recommend choosing a higher resolution like HD (330 ppi) so that all of your images are sharp and clear. If you are printing your presentation or just showing someone your presentation on your laptop, Print (220 ppi) is probably fine.
I don’t recommend going much smaller than these two resolutions is the overall quality of your images will decrease rapidly.
For more help choosing the right resolution when compressing images in PowerPoint, see our guide here.
5. Click OK
Once you have made your compression option choices and picked a resolution for your image(s), click okay and PowerPoint will compress your image(s) for you.
Once PowerPoint finishes compressing your images, I recommend reviewing the quality of the compression to make sure everything looks okay. If you find that your image looks grainy, hit Ctrl + Z to undo and choose a higher resolution for your photos.
2. Compress Videos in PowerPoint
Videos and media files (like audio files) can be huge!
So if you have a video or other media files in your presentation, compressing them is another fast way to reduce your PowerPoint file size. Or better yet, if you realize you are not using a specific video (or rarely use it), remove it.
Using the default video compression options in PowerPoint, I saw the following results, reducing my file size by over 6x.
To compress your videos and other media in PowerPoint, simply follow these steps.
1. Select the File tab
Inside your PowerPoint presentation with the videos or other media that you want to compress, click the File tab to open the backstage view of PowerPoint.
Videos and other media are all compressed in the backstage view of PowerPoint, not in the Video Format tab like you might have originally thought.
2. Select the Info tab
In the backstage view of PowerPoint, find and click the Info tab to access the compress media tools.
3. Open the Compress Media dropdown
Inside the Info tab, find and select the Compress Media command, which should be at the top of the Info tab. Just below the Media Size and Performance title and description, PowerPoint tells you the size of all of the media files within your current presentation.
If you do not see the Compress Media command, that means that you do not have a video or other media inside your current presentation that PowerPoint can compress.
You can only compress videos and other media inside your current PowerPoint presentation. So, find the correct presentation and start from step one again.
If you have narrated your presentation using PowerPoint’s built-in Record Slide Show command, your narration videos and audio do not require compression. To learn how to narrate a PowerPoint using PowerPoint’s built-in Record Slide Show command, read our guide here.
4. Choose a compression file size
In the Compress Media dropdown, choose one of the three compression options for your videos and other media:
- Full HD (1080p)
- HD (720p)
- Standard (480p)
If you are not sure which compression option to choose, I recommend at least compressing using the Full HD (1080p) option. In my compression tests, the Full HD (1080p) reduced the size of my original video by half.
Full HD (1080p) works great for any overhead projector or monitor you will be presenting on, no problem. If you need to save more file size space, you can test out one of the smaller formats, but be careful. Just like when compressing images and photos, the more you compress your videos (or other media) the lower the quality your video playback will be.
As a best practice building presentations, you want to use the highest compression rate you can without sacrificing the quality of the videos (or other media) in your presentation.
5. Wait as PowerPoint compressing your vidoes
Choosing a compression size, PowerPoint begins compressing all of the videos within your presentation. When it’s done, a dialog box shows you how much space you saved with each compressed video.
For example, for a raw video I inserted and compressed in my PowerPoint presentation, I saved 872.5 MB. That is A LOT of spaced saved, allowing me to more easily share my presentation with others.
To expand your knowledge and learn how to embed a video in PowerPoint (and learn how it is different than embedding a YouTube video), read our guide here.
3. Clean out your 3 PowerPoint Master Views
Before you worry about compressing any of your images or videos, see if you can reduce your file size by removing hidden and unused elements in your presentation.
One of the culprits of a large PowerPoint file size (especially if you don’t feel like you have that many slides in your presentation), is hidden graphics on one or more of the following Master Views in PowerPoint:
- Slide Master View (most common)
- Handout Master View
- Notes Master view
While you don’t want to just delete anything you find in these Master Views (someone set them up for a reason in the first place after all), it’s also not uncommon to find excessively large graphics or things you can eliminate in these views, to reduce your file size.
To see how to walk through and clean out these different Master Views, see the short PowerPoint tutorial below.
A. Slide Master View - Hidden Graphics
To navigate to the Slide Master view to spot check your child slide layouts, simply.
- Navigate to the View Tab
- Select Slide Master
- Spot check your Child Slide layouts
In the Slide Master view you are want to look at your child slide layouts and see if there are any with extremely large pictures or media files that you are not using.
If you are not using those pictures or media files, you can decide whether to just compress them (as mentioned above) or delete them if you don’t need them.
You might also find a lot of duplicate Child Slide layouts that you can simply remove. This happens when people copy and paste between presentations that don’t have a consistent or well built PowerPoint template.
To learn how to properly build a PowerPoint template from scratch (step-by-step), see our template guide here.
B. Handout Master - Hidden Graphics
To navigate to the Handout Master view of your presentation, simply:
- Navigate to the View Tab
- Select Handout Master in your Ribbon
- Spot check your Handout Master
On your Handout Master, you are looking for excessively large company logos or graphics that you can compress or remove.
PowerPoint shapes such as rectangles, lines and text boxes are fine (removing them will not impact the size of your presentation).
Formatting your Handout Master is a great way to create customized slide handouts of your presentation, but if there are excessively large graphics here, compressing or removing them can help you decrease the size of your presentation.
C. Notes Master - Hidden Graphics
To navigate to the Notes Master view of your presentation, simply:
- Navigate to the View Tab
- Select Notes Master in your Ribbon
- Spot check your Notes Master
On your Notes Master, you are looking for any company logos, design elements or other large graphics that someone has added (see our guide on good slide design here). You don’t have to worry about any default PowerPoint shapes like shapes, lines or text boxes (these will never increase the size of your presentation).
Formatting the Notes Master is a great way to create branded handouts for your speaker notes, but if there are large graphics here that you are not using, compressing or removing them can help reduce the size of your presentation.
To learn more about your Notes Master and how it affects the formatting and layout of your speaker notes in PowerPoint, read our guide here.
To expand your knowledge and learn how to properly print your speaker notes in PowerPoint, read our guide here.
4. Swap out 3D models and other media
If you have the Office 365 subscription (check it out here), you can now add 3D models and graphics into your presentations from the Insert Tab, 3D Models dropdown.
- Click the Insert tab
- Open the 3D Models dropdown
- Select where you want to insert your 3D model from
Below are examples of animated 3D models you can insert into PowerPoint (below I’ve selected the rhinoceros)
These 3D models can be quite large and there is currently no way to compress these graphics. Notice in the picture below how adding just one animated 3D model adds over 26 MB to the PowerPoint file.
So if you need to reduce the size of your presentation, try to replace any 3D models with a static image. For example, instead of using the 3D rhinoceros, use a picture of a rhinoceros instead.
Notice that the picture of the rhinoceros is 7x smaller than the 3D model on the left (and you could save even more space by compressing the image as discussed above).
If you want to keep the 3D look of your model, you can also Copy (Ctrl + C) and Paste Special (Ctrl + Alt + V) your 3D model as a PNG image. That will retain the 3D look of the model in your presentation, without the actual size of the 3D model.
To learn other timesaving PowerPoint shortcuts, read our guide here.
5. Convert PowerPoint to PDF
If you are distributing your presentation as a PDF file or handout, instead of trying to compress your images and videos, you can simply convert your presentation to the PDF file format to reduce your file size.
That’s because the PDF conversion process automatically compresses your images, removes your video and media files, 3D models, etc.
To convert your presentation to the PDF file format, simply.
- Hit F12 to open the Save As dialog box
- Change the File Type to PDF
- Click Save
Just be aware that NOT everything in your presentation will properly convert to the PDF file format.
To learn all the ins and outs of converting a PowerPoint presentation into a PDF file format (and the types of content you will lose), read our guide here.
6. Compress PowerPoint as a ZIP file
As a last resort, you can also try to reduce the size of your presentation by compressing your presentation in the ZIP file format.
While this technique compresses everything in your presentation, it doesn’t always save you a ton of space.
For example, notice in the picture below how my file size has only been reduced by 4MB using this ZIP folder technique.
If you need to keep all of your videos, graphics, 3D models, etc. this might be your best bet, just keep in mind that depending on what is in your presentation, it might not save you a ton of room.
If you have a large file and need to share it with someone else, you are probably better off uploading it to something like OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox, and sending them a link to download the file.
How to create a compressed (zipped) folder
To compress your PowerPoint presentation in the ZIP file format, simply:
- In File Explorer, Right-Click your file
- Select Send to
- Choose the Compressed (zipped) folder option
Selecting the Compressed (zipped) folder, PowerPoint will compress your presentation as much as possible as pictured below. How much room you will save depends on what is in your presentation and how much PowerPoint can compress it.
How to extract a compressed (ZIPPED) folder
If your colleague sends you a ZIPPED folder, you can uncompress by simply:
- Right-Click the ZIPPED folder
- Select Extract All…
- Choose a File Location to extract your ZIP folder too
- Select Extract
Extracting your file turns your ZIP folder into a normal folder with your original – Non-Compressed – PowerPoint file.
Compressing PowerPoint Conclusion
Compressing the different elements of your presentation is a great way to reduce your overall PowerPoint file size.
Just remember that compressing your PowerPoint presentations is an optional step. If you are not having any trouble sharing your presentation with other people, don’t bother.
That’s because while reducing your file size can make it easier to share your presentation with other people, it can also decrease the quality of the images, graphics and multimedia elements you use in your presentation.
If you enjoyed the depth of this tutorial, you can learn more about our PowerPoint training courses and resources here.
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