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Reducing the Size of Word Documents

Friday, January 7th, 2011 by | Filed Under: MS Office Help, MS Word

Thom, from Dallas asks:

Why do Word and Excel files get so large when the content is so small? As I make numerous changes and saves to a Word file, the file becomes bloated over time. If I open the large Word file and copy (Ctrl-C) and paste the content to a newly created word document, the file size can increase by up to 80%. Is there a setting that will stop Word from keeping all that junk and bloating my files?

There are numerous factors that can increase the file size of Word documents. Excessive pictures, stylish fonts, and different formats are among them. In general, the more content you add into the document, the larger it will be. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent the final file size of your Word documents from becoming too large.

Step 1: Insert Pictures Instead of Copying Pasting.

Most people rather copy and paste pictures into their documents. However, inserting pictures is a better method. Here is how to insert a picture:

Go to the top of the screen and click Insert and select Picture. Choose the picture you want to add and click Insert.

Step 2: Compress Pictures in your Document

This feature is available in Microsoft Word 2002 or higher. Lowering the quality of the pictures decreases the file size of the Word document. In most cases, the readers will not notice that you compressed the pictures.

Select a picture inside the document, go to the top of the screen, and select Format Picture. Windows will now compress the picture to the lowest file size possible.

Step 3: Disable fast saves.

This feature is enabled by default. However, it uses more disk space when the document is open. Go to the top of the screen, click File and select Options. Click the Advanced tab. Go to the Save section and disable Background Saves.

Step 4: Delete other versions of the Word document.

Go to the top of the screen, click File, and select Version. Choose the versions you want to remove and click Delete.

Thanks for the question, Thom.

~Jean-Baptiste Juderson

Tags: ,

13 Responses to “Reducing the Size of Word Documents”

  1. Ron says:

    Are you SURE that “background saves” is the same as “fast save”? I don’t KNOW, but I didn’t think it was. I THOUGHT background save was about multithreading while fast save was simply about not deleting “stuff”.

  2. Bruce Faber says:

    One of the quickest ways to decrease the size of Word and Excel files is to do a SAVE AS instead of as SAVE. It gets rid of all the changes in one quick action. Huge savings in file size.

  3. Sushant says:

    Wonderful tip!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. swathi says:

    my word document does not contain any pictures? then how can i reduce its size

    • cynthia says:

      As the article says, if you’re using stylish formats or color, changing those can reduce size. Otherwise, realize that Word files are larger than plain text files due to the features of Word. You could save the file as plain text or try opening and saving it in another word processor to see if that makes a difference.

    • Todd says:

      Check the file for different versions. I’ve had the same problem – and it turned out that all the different revisions of the document were saved within the one file. A simple “Save As” to a new document will probably help to reduce file size.

  5. sazid says:

    Thank you very much,,,,,its so help full.i was struggling about it from 2 days.

  6. Todd says:

    See this simple article for help on removing excess file versions:

  7. Todd says:

    Another post, sorry!
    I forgot to add – right click the version you wish to remove, and click ‘Delete’.

  8. Rajeev says:

    Thank you very much.
    Its helpful for me.

  9. Nour says:

    that was useful
    thank yoowwwwww <3

  10. Shaun says:

    Thank you SO much!! I needed to send a presentation in Word format and could not for the life of me figure out why it was almost 20MB! I checked several blogs and help sites to no avail. Upon your advice, one little click of the “Compress Pictures” icon saved me! File went from 20MB down to less than 1MB instantly. Thanks again!

  11. Muddappa says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge.. it worked.. 235kb to 68.5kb..

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