How to Improve Performance by Compressing Pictures in Microsoft Office

Reduce File Size on Image-heavy Documents for Better Storing and Sharing

Adjust Image Tools in Microsoft Word 2013
Adjust Image Tools in Microsoft Word 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Take advantage of the Compress Pictures function, to make overall file size more manageable. Here's how.

In many Microsoft Office programs, you can reduce one document's size or an entire file's images all at once. 

It is important to understand the fundamental tradeoff between image size and quality. The more you compress an image, the smaller your Microsoft Office file will be, but also, the lower that image quality will be.

 

First, Determine Your Document's Purpose

How you approach file reduction depends on what you are using your document for. Microsoft provides recommendations for pixels per inch (ppi) settings.

When following the steps below, select your image resolution as follows. For printing, select 220 ppi (note that the dialog box will also guide you in this, by labeling this ppi level "Best for printing)". For viewing on screen, select 150 ppi ("Best for viewing on screen"). For sending electronically in an email, select 96 ppi ("Best for sending in email").

Compress a Single Image in Microsoft Office

To make basic changes to your image sizes, you don't even need to leave the program interface. Here's how: 

  1. Click on an image you have added to your document. If you need to get one, select Insert - Picture or Clip Art.
  2. Select Format - Compress Pictures ( this is the small button in the Adjust group).
  3. Select the option for applying this to a single image.
  1. As mentioned, choose the right options for you in the resolution dialog box. In general, I suggest having the two top boxes check marked, then opt for the right type of image depending on how you will use the document. If you are not emailing it, posting to the web, or anything else specialized, just choose Use Document Resolution.

    Compress All Pictures in a Microsoft Office Document

    Follow the same steps as above to change all images in your file at once, with one difference. For step three above, you can instead opt for applying the compression to all images in the document.

    Reverse It: How to Restore Compressed Files to Original Quality 

    One of the great things about file compression within Microsoft Office is, you should be able to restore any compressed file to their original clarity and quality. As a result, users should plan on a much larger file size.

    This comes down to turning off file compression. To do this:

    To keep the maximum picture quality, you can turn off compression for all pictures in a file. However, turning off compression can cause very large file sizes without an upper limit on the size of the file.

    1. Select File or Office button.

    2. select Help or Options, depending on your version.

    3. Under Advanced, scroll to Image Size and Quality.

    4. Select "Do not compress images" in file.

    Additional Considerations

    Note that Microsoft advises: "If your document is saved in the older .doc file format, the Reduce File Size option will not be available on the File menu. To use the Reduce File Size option, save your document in the newer .docx file format."

    You may also be interested in these image-focused resources, since pictures make such an impact in Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote, and even Excel documents.

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    Your Citation
    Grigg, Cindy. "How to Improve Performance by Compressing Pictures in Microsoft Office." ThoughtCo, Sep. 27, 2016, thoughtco.com/compress-pictures-in-microsoft-office-2511881. Grigg, Cindy. (2016, September 27). How to Improve Performance by Compressing Pictures in Microsoft Office. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/compress-pictures-in-microsoft-office-2511881 Grigg, Cindy. "How to Improve Performance by Compressing Pictures in Microsoft Office." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/compress-pictures-in-microsoft-office-2511881 (accessed November 19, 2017).