Shrinking Giant PowerPoint Files

For the past couple of months with TechEd, and EMC World on the way, it sometimes it seems like all I do lately is create presentations.

It’s good thing I like doing them. 🙂

Although I think I’ve come a long way from “load up each slide with a bunch of bullet points and read them” style presentations that bore the audience into a sleepy/hazy trance, I’m not to the point of a Guy Kawasaki 10/20/30 PPT which is:

  • Max of 10 slides
  • Max of 20 minutes
  • Smallest font is 30 points

His tips are somewhat meant to get startups who wish to get VC money to compress their ideas… and for that purpose, maybe the 10/20/30 rule makes sense. If I was pitching a business idea to Guy, I’d be sure to adhere to that.  But for more technical in-depth discussions, a little more meat might make sense.  Let’s compress the pictures instead.

PowerPoint Compression

The actual reason I decided to write this is because I was trying to send a large PPT file to a customer who had an file size cap on received emails… so I compressed the PowerPoint pictures and literally shrunk the size of the presentation by half.  The “compatibily mode PPT” started at 10MB, then went to 5MB with the compression, and for giggles I saved as a PowerPoint 2007.  That reduced the size by another 1MB.  10MB down to 4MB is pretty good for not having to delete any slides!  Shrunk to this size, the customer was able to confirm the receipt of the presentation file.

This is for PowerPoint 2007, although the PowerPoint 2003 technique is similar:

  1. Open up one of those gi-normous PPT or PPTX files that you have floating around.
  2. Left-click on a picture (any picture)
  3. The picture tools options appear in the taskbar above.  Click Picture tools, Format if you don’t see what I show below.
  4. Click “Compress Pictures” (upper left)


You get the Compression Settings box below.


I recommend the settings you see above, although unchecking the basic auto compression will actually speed up your save speed by a lot!

The “Delete cropped areas of pictures” option is quite interesting. How often do you grab an image and paste it into your presentation then crop it down to size. Guess what?  That picture information is still there (but invisible) unless you apply this option during your compression run.

For target output, the Email option (96 ppi) looks absolutely fine on screen and on the printer too.

Happy shrinkage,



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