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.
Feel free to jump around depending on what you have in your presentation.
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.
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 an image in PowerPoint, select the image you want to compress then:
- Navigate to the Pictures Tools Format Tab
- Select Compress Pictures
- Choose your Compression options (Beware of unchecking Apply only to this picture)
- Choose your Resolution
- Hit OK
Note that when choosing your compression options, you have the option to Apply only to this picture.
Unchecking Apply only to this picture tells PowerPoint to sweep through your entire presentation and compress ALL of your images (which might not be what you want).
To learn how to crop down your pictures in PowerPoint to save more space before you compress them, see our cropping guide here.
For more help choosing the right resolution and compression options for your images, see our guide here.
2. Compress Videos in PowerPoint
Videos and media files (like audio files) can be huge!
So if you have a video or other media file in your presentation, try compressing it. Compressing media 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. This reduces the file size by over 6x.
When choosing a compression size, at a minimum compress into the Full HD (1080p). Notice that the FUll HD (1080p) reduced the original file size by half from my raw video footage.
Full HD (1080p) is high quality for any overhead projects or monitor. If you need to save more file size, you can use the smaller formats, just double check your video quality on the actual projector you will be presenting on to make sure it doesn’t appear too grainy for you.
To compress videos and/or media files in PowerPoint, simply:
- Navigate to the File tab
- Select the Info tab
- Open the Compress Media drop down
- Choose a compression file size (Full HD 1080p, HD 720p or Standard 480p)
Choosing a compression size, PowerPoint begins compressing all of the videos within your presentation. When it's done, the dialog box will show you how much space you saved with each compressed video.
For example, for the video I compressed below, you can see that I saved 872.5 MB.
To learn how to embed a video in PowerPoint, see our guide here.
3. Clean out your 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.
of the culprits of a large file size (especially if you don’t feel like you have that many slides in your presentation), is hidden graphics on your different Master Views in PowerPoint.
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.
For additional help on printing your speaker notes in PowerPoint, click here.
4. Swap out 3D models and other media
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 in that the resolution picture of the rhinoceros below is still 7x smaller than the 3D model on the left (and you could save even more space by compressing the image as discussed above
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 will automatically compress your images, remove 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 the PDF file format (and the types of content you will lose), read our PDF 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.
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 your presentation and how much PowerPoint can compress it (not nearly the space savings as the other methods).
To uncompress a ZIP folder back into a PowerPoint file, simply:
- Right-Click your ZIP folder
- Select Extract All…
- Choose a File Location to extract yoru ZIP folder too
- Select Extract
Extracting your file turns your ZIP folder into a normal folder with your original - Non-Compressed - PowerPoint file.
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.