6 Tips About Reducing PowerPoint File Size

Microsoft PowerPoint presents a blank canvas for people to pull together presentations for business or personal use. That canvas doesn't much care about how big the the final product becomes. PowerPoint files filled with high-resolution images, embedded audio files and other large objects will grow in size. Because PowerPoint loads a presentation in memory, these enormous presentations could grow so large that older PCs or Macs can't play them without slowing down.

However, optimizing the images and the audio before you place them into the PowerPoint presentation will at least contain some of the sprawl.

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Optimize Photos to Use in Your Presentations

Optimizing a photo
Knape/E+/Getty Images

Optimize your photos before inserting them into PowerPoint.  Optimizing is reducing the overall file size of each photo—preferably to around 100 kilobytes or less. Avoid files larger than roughly 300 kilobytes.

Use a dedicated image-optimization program if you find too many large photos in your presentation.

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Compress Photos in PowerPoint Presentations

Compress photos in PowerPoint
Compress photos in PowerPoint © D-Base/Getty Images

Nowadays, everyone wants as many megapixels as possible on their digital camera to get the best photos. What they do not realize is that the high resolution files are only necessary for a printed photograph, not for the screen or the Web.

Compress the photos after they are inserted to reduce their file size, but optimizing is a better solution if that is a possible option.

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Crop Pictures to Reduce File Size

Crop photos to reduce file size for use in PowerPoint
Crop photos in PowerPoint © Wendy Russell

Cropping pictures in PowerPoint has two bonuses for your presentation. First, you get rid of extra stuff in the picture that is not necessary to make your point, and second, you reduce the overall file size of your presentation. 

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Create a Picture from a PowerPoint Slide

Save PowerPoint slide as picture
Save PowerPoint slide as picture © Wendy Russell

If you have already added many slides with photos into your presentation, perhaps with several photos per slide, you can create a photo from each slide, optimize it, and then insert this new photo into a new presentation. PowerPoint includes tools to help you create pictures from PowerPoint slides.

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Break Down Your Large Presentation into Smaller Presentations

Seamlessly start another presenter's slide show
Start a second PowerPoint presentation © Wendy Russell

You might also consider breaking your presentation into more than one file. You could then create a hyperlink from the last slide in Show 1 to the first slide in Show 2 and then close off Show 1. This approach is a little more cumbersome when you are in the middle of the presentation, but it would free up many system resources if you only have Show 2 open.

If the whole slide show is in one file, your RAM is constantly in use retaining the images of previous slides, even though you are many slides forward. By closing off Show 1 you will free up these resources.

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Why Doesn't the Music Play in My PowerPoint Presentation?

PowerPoint music and sound fixes
PowerPoint music and sound fixes, © Stockbyte/Getty Images

Music problems frequently vex PowerPoint users. What many presenters are not aware of is that only music files saved in the WAV file format can be embedded into PowerPoint. MP3 files cannot be embedded, but only linked to in a presentation. The WAV file types are usually very large, thereby increasing the PowerPoint file size even more.