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How to Compress Images in PowerPoint (Reduce Image Size)

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In this post you'll learn how to compress images in PowerPoint so that you can more easily share your presentation with other people (by reducing your image file size).

That said, Compressing images like this is NOT always necessary.

If you are having ZERO trouble sharing your presentation with other people or are presenting from your own compute, there is no need to go through all of these steps.

On the other hand, if you are finding that your presentation is running slow, or if it's too large to share with the people, then compress your images makes sense, as it can reduce the size of your presentation by as much as 80%.

If you are still having trouble with your overall size of your PowerPoint presentation, you can learn 5 other ways to compress PowerPoint here.

How To Compress Images in PowerPoint

Use the compress pictures command in the Picture Tools Format tab to reduce your image file size

Select the image you want to compress, and then:

  1. Go up to the Picture Tools Format tab
  2. Click on the Compress Pictures command
  3. Select your Compression options (see image below)
  4. Select your Resolution (see image below)
  5. Click OK
Example of the different resolution options available to you to reduce image file size

Note: Although adjusting to a lower ppi does reduce image file size, it also makes your images appear more grainy (so be careful of just selecting the lowest ppi setting).

Picture compression options

Your two compression options are EXTREMELY important, so make sure you understand what they are before you move forward.

Apply only to this picture

This is an important option to understand before you accidentally mess up all of the photos in your presentation.

Apply only to this photo (the default setting) ensures that only the picture you currently have selected is compressed.

No other images in your presentation are affected (hence why this is the default option).

By unselecting this option, you are telling PowerPoint to compress all of the photos within your presentation based on your selections.

This can save you a bunch of time if you know what you are doing, and you know that you want all of the photos in your slides compressed in this way.

BUT this can waste a bunch of time if you don’t know what you are doing.

Example of the cropped area of a photo being permanently removed after compressing

If you catch the mistake immediately, you can hit CTRL+Z to undo your compression. Otherwise you’ll have to hunt down an earlier version of your presentation or start all over with the original photos again.

Delete cropped areas of pictures

This option affects whether or not PowerPoint keeps the cropped areas of your photos.

When you first crop a photo down, PowerPoint keeps the part that you crop (it just hides it from you). That’s why cropping an image doesn't actually change the size in PowerPoint.

If you know that you do not want keep the cropped areas of your photos, you can decrease the overall size of your image by selecting the 'Delete cropped areas of pictures' compression option.

Just be warned, that once you delete the cropped areas you cannot undo them later. You’ll have to start over with the original photo.

Image Compression options

When choosing a resolution for your photos, it’s important to keep in mind the lifetime of the presentation you are building, and how it will be used.

Beware of choosing a lower resolution during the draft phase of creating your slides simply to save space, as you will find that you cannot undo the lower resolution before your big pitch.

It might be hard to tell in the photos below, the but picture compressed to 96 ppi is extremely grainy along the edges of the building and would show poorly on an overhead projector.

Examples of different image resolutions, 220 ppi versus 96 ppi

Higher resolutions like HD 330 ppi (pixels per inch) equate to the highest quality photo with larger file sizes.

Lower resolutions like email 96 ppi (pixels per inch) equate to lower quality photos that can appear grainy on large overhead projectors, and thus smaller files sizes.

If your presentation is a live event, such as a Ted talk, or if it will be run on a large HD monitor, then you’ll want the highest resolution photos as possible throughout your slide creation process.

If you are simply emailing a presentation to a colleague to view ONLY on their laptop (it will never be presented on a large overhead screen) then you can get away with a much lower resolution.

How much does ppi reduce image file size?

Examples of how much the reduced image file size saves in your presentation

In the photo above, I’ve added a single image to a slideshow and used the various compression options so you can see how much it affects the size of the PowerPoint presentation.

Note that in this case, the 330 ppi and 220 ppi image resolutions result in the exact same image size.

This is something you’ll have to play around with.

Compress Images in the PDF file format

Another option for compressing your images is to simply convert your PowerPoint presentation into the PDF file format.

  1. Hit F12 for the Save As dialog box
  2. Change your Save as type to the PDF format
  3. Click Save
You can also reduce your overall file size by saving your presentation in the PDF file format

The reason why this works so well, is the PDF file format automatically compresses images for you (and removes other media that could be influencing your file size).

That said, you do lose a lot of native PowerPoint functionality in the PDF format, so I would only recommend doing this if you are distributing your slide as PDF handouts.

To learn everything you need to know about the PowerPoint to PDF conversion process, see our guide here.

Image Compression Conclusion

Compressing your images in PowerPoint is one to dramatically reduce your overall file size so that you can more easily share your presentation with other people.

That said, I only recommend compressing your images if you really need to.

If you are using a USB drive to share your presentation or you are just running your presentation from your own computer, there is no need to go through the hassle of compressing everything.

If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to learn more about our online training courses and other PowerPoint tutorials, visit us here.

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Updated on May 14, 2019

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