Microsoft Office - Reduce the file size of a picture

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Pictures in office documents

As pictures become commonplace in the work environment, we see it more and more in work related documents. I do believe pictures are generally a good thing as like they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words". However, sending office documents out when they become bloated with large images is not a good thing.

To keep document sizes in check, Office 2010 comes with an option to set the default picture size. This can be done in various places as listed on Microsoft's own documentation. I found that in the middle of all that text, there are two options that stands out for me: setting the document default for new documents and setting the compress images while saving a document.

Setting the document default for new documents

For general use, I believe that most users should have this option set for them. This ensures that all new documents will be created with a minimum picture size setting. It also reduces the need to have general users think about whether a particular document needs to have large or small pictures.

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options and then click Advanced.
  3. Under Image Size and Quality, click the document that you want to set the default picture resolution for.
  4. In the Set default target output to, click the resolution that you want.

    One thing to note, for this setting, the lower the number, the smaller the image. As a general note, 96ppi is good for screen use.

Setting the compress images while saving a document

For users who may need to have documents sent to a printer and requires pictures to be left at a high quality, I would suggest they adopt this method to reduce documents on an as needed basis. This method allows these users to keep their default setting at a higher quality / larger image size. The only thing to be cautious of is that these users need to be educated as to when they should reduce images and document size (i.e., when sending a document over email). I also recommend when using this method to save the document as a different name (i.e. append a suffix of _small) to ensure the original quality of the document is kept.

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Save As
  3. Click Tools > Compress Pictures...
  4. Set Target output setting

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