Many people need to create electronic handouts that are of a reasonable file size. A reader sent me this question:
I need to use the PowerPoint handouts-for-Word feature to send slide pictures to my translator overseas. Imagine my horror to find that a 4MB PowerPoint file blows-out to a 66 MB Word file. Of course I cannot send this anywhere. I cannot upload this to Internet because many translators are simply not that computer literate, and may live in a country with very low bandwidth. Are you aware of any program that will reduce the Word file size?
If you don’t know how to create a handout in Word, see my PowerPoint tip, “Making great PowerPoint handouts” for information on how to create a handout in Microsoft Word.
From 9.35MB to 72.7MB to 3.5MB!
When I tested this feature, I had a similar experience. I took a 9.35MB PowerPoint file with 40 slides and created a Word handout. It was 72.7MB!
Unfortunately, you can’t compress images in Word when they are in a table; at least, I wasn’t able to figure out how to do it. But I did figure out a way to reduce the file size from 72.7MB to 3.5MB.
Wow, that’s a big difference! How does the file size get so big in the first place? Word is embedding the PowerPoint file rather than just inserting images, so it incorporates lots of irrelevant information.
What’s the solution?
You can convert the embedded slide images to simple JPEG images. Follow these steps in Word:
- Select the first slide image by clicking it once.
- Cut the image to the clipboard. Pressing Ctrl + X is the quickest way. The slide disappears.
- Go to Home tab> Clipboard group> Paste drop-down arrow> Paste Special.
- In the Paste Special dialog box, choose Picture (JPEG). I assume that the PNG format would also work well.
- Click OK.
- Do that for each slide. I ended up recording a macro, because I had 40 slides and it went quickly. To learn how to record a macro in Word, look in Word’s Help. The instructions will vary slightly with your version of Word.
- Save the Word file.
When you do this, your Word handout will instantly become much, much smaller. Yay!
Here is another suggestion from Steve Rindsberg’s PPT FAQ, which involves creating links instead of embedding and then breaking the links. You’ll also find references to some more automated solutions.
What are your suggestions for handouts?
Leave a comment!
You don’t need to save each slide separately. You can save them all at once via:
File | Save as | Save as type | then instead of saving as a PowerPoint file choose PNG, GIF or JPG from the drop down menu. PNG or GIF are probably better for text.
It will prompt you to save just the current slide or every slide. Done.
Alternatively just save as a PDF file.
Print the handout to a PDF file — will almost certainly be much more compact. (I’ve been using PDFCreator for this purpose for years — free open source software available at http://www.pdfforge.org/.)
I get the best results using PNG. JPG is too lossy for most print end uses, but usually OK for online viewing as the end product.
Would the translator be able to type into the PDF? She needed a format that the translator could use to type the translation next to each slide.
Hi Ellen, What I would have done is to convert it to a PDF as Tom said and then using another converter change it to a word document so it could be edited. It would be a much smaller file and can all be done for free using online converters.
This is incredibly helpful. I sometimes create handout files for my presentations. But more often I have created a file to send to a client that they can use as notes to deliver the presentation slides I create for them. With a lot of images, those files are too large to email, so these ideas are definitely something I’ll be experimenting with. Thanks!