5 Tips for Reducing File Sizes for the Web

Having trouble uploading a file to your website?  Have a large file size that you need to reduce?  We have instructions to help you reduce file sizes for the most common file types.

Tip 1: Insert Graphics instead of copying and pasting.

Pasted images actually create larger image file sizes.  Instead of copying and pasting images into your document, use the insert function.

  1. Select the Insert tab in the menu.
  2. Select “Picture from file” from the Picture icon.
  3. Navigate to the picture and click the insert button.

Tip 2: Turn off Preview Picture

The preview picture is the thumbnail of the documents first page.  Usually, this isn’t an issue unless your first page displays a graphic, but can shave off a large chunk of file size.

  1. From the File menu, select “Properties”
  2. Select the Summary tab.
  3. Deselect the check box for “Save Preview Picture”
  4. Click ok.

Tip 3: Compress Images

Compressing images reduces the quality of the image without a noticeable difference to users, which in turn, reduces the image size.  You can experiment with the available compression options to find the one that best suits your needs.

  1. From the file menu, select “Reduce File Size”.
  2. Change the picture quality to one of the available options besides “High Fidelity”.
  3. Choose which images you want to apply the compression to and click “Ok”.

Tip 4: Don’t Fast Save

Fast Save is when you use keyboard shortcuts to save your document or use File -> Save.  Fast save saves the recent changes and appends them to the previous file.  In other words, if you added a paragraph to page 12 of a 30 page document, that paragraph gets tacked to the end of the file.  In contrast, when you do a full save, the document is properly reordered and changes occur in the proper place. 

You can use fast save as you’re working on your document, but make sure to use the full save option (by clicking on Save As in the file menu) when the file is complete and ready to be shared.

Tip 5: Reduce the size of images

Size your images down to the size that you actually need them before inserting them.  Original images, especially from cameras are extremely large.  Reducing the size before you use them helps ensure that your file size stays as small as possible.  You can follow the Paint and Preview tutorials to reduce image sizes before adding them to files.  Reducing the size of an image once you’ve inserted it, doesn’t actually make the file size any smaller.


If you just can’t get your PowerPoint down to a more reasonable size, you can use SlideShare to host the file and embed it in your webpage.  You’ll need to create an account on SlideShare before you can upload any files.  Once you have your file uploaded on SlideShare, embedding it on your webpage is very similar to adding a YouTube video to your site, you can click the “Share” button underneath and copy the embed code.


Since you have likely created your file in another program first, you’ll want to make sure that you create the file using all of the tips given above to make sure that it is as small as possible to begin with.  Once you’ve exported your file to a PDF file, you can open it in Adobe Acrobat.  Then go to File -> Save As and change the Format to “Optimized”.  This compresses the PDF without damaging the quality of the document.

Why is reducing file size important? 

Having your file size as small as possible is essential to make sure that it is readily available to users.  All Extension and Outreach websites have a maximum uploaded file size, usually around 10 MB.  Larger images or files can create an extra load on the web server and make things slower for users when trying to access the content, especially those working on a slower internet connection.  Emailing files presents other issues.  Most emailing clients have max file sizes that you can send and each has different limitations.

Something to consider: Sharing Word or PowerPoint files with the public should be done sparingly.  Is there a reason that the file has to stay in that format?  If not, consider saving the files as PDF’s instead. 

There are two reasons for this:

  1. If you share the Word document or PowerPoint with the public, you can not guarantee that the information will not be changed and shared elsewhere. 
  2. Not everyone has Microsoft Office products (like Word, PowerPoint or Excel).
    1. Microsoft is something that has to be purchased. 
    2. In addition, newer versions of Microsoft office have a different file type extension, docx or pptx, while older versions have doc or ppt file extensions.  While the newer versions of the product can open the older file extensions, older versions can not open the newer file extensions.

Saving these files as PDF’s ensures that everyone can open them, because Adobe Acrobat is free to download and use.