Tech Tip | How To Reduce The Size Of A Word Document

Have your Microsoft Word files suddenly become larger than anticipated, causing Microsoft Word to crash? Do not worry. We will share some valuable fixes that will make your Microsoft Word file sizes easier to manage. Microsoft Word file sizes can be reduced by properly inserting images, compressing images,  switching off thumbnails, removing auto-recovery versions, and turning off embedded fonts. Unknowingly, you could be using some Microsoft Word features that lead to the creation of larger files, which can cause problems, especially when sharing email attachments and files. When working with a large Word document, you may think the only thing to do would be to compress images. However, there are other aspects you need to look at to reduce documents that do not have images in them.

What Are the Drawbacks of Large Word Documents?

The information that gets saved along with a Word file can bloat its size. This can create several challenges when you need to create and save many files. These Word files can grow in size to an unmanageable amount, which could lead you to invest more money in storage media that can hold your large Word files.
  • They take up more space on your device
  • They can prevent you from being able to send them in an email
  • They take longer to share, transfer, download, and backup
  • They use space quota on your storage devices

How Do I Check the File Size in a Word Document?

When you want to know the file size of any Word document, you can find the size by using Microsoft Word or Windows File Explorer. To find the file size in Word, do the following:
  • Start by clicking on the File menu.
  • In the left sidebar, select the Info option (You will see all the information of the document. You will see the value of your document next to Size)
Word documents that have text but not images will occupy less space than one that includes a variety of images and other graphic resources. Depending on which elements you have inserted in your Word document, the document will have a larger or smaller size. Once you know how much space your document takes up, you can decide whether you should reduce the file size or not. If one of your Word documents has grown substantially, the tips and tricks we are going to give you will help you reduce it.

Avoid Copying and Pasting Images Into Word

Using the copy and paste method for images may seem like the most efficient process of adding image to a Word file. However, the images you paste will automatically convert to a BMP file format, which can increase the file size if the source is from a JPG. The best process involves saving the image in an image editor and saving it as a smaller version in JPG. Once the image has been saved as a smaller version, do the following:
  • From the Insert menu, select Picture
  • Select From File from the submenu
  • Find the image you want to include in your document and click the Insert button

Disable Embedded Fonts in Word Documents

While embedding fonts may seem to be more efficient and convenient, disabling Microsoft Word’s font-embedding feature can save a significant amount of space. You can disable embedding by doing the following:
  • Click on File and scroll down to Options
  • In the dialogue box, click on Save
  • Uncheck the Embed fonts in the file option

Convert Word Document to DOCX Format

A new way to save documents was introduced in Office 2007, and it acts as a zip file, basically compressing the information contained in the document. Converting the document from .doc to .docx will reduce the size of the document. If you are using other Microsoft 365 applications like Excel and PowerPoint, you can get the same results. To convert Word documents, do the following:
  • Click on File
  • Under the Info menu, click on Convert
  • From the resulting prompt, click OK
  • Click on the Save button.
You will now have two documents: the original document and the compressed document.

Apply Compression to the Images

  • Click the picture in your document
  • Select the Format option from the menu bar
  • Click Compress Pictures
  • In the pop-up prompt, choose the option that uses the highest compression
Be sure to save the document in DOCX format as this will ensure the best possible optimization.

Avoid Manual Formatting

When you use manual or direct formatting in a Word document, you will increase your chances of having a large Word document. This can create various problems with very large documents. Do not use styles when they are not necessary to reduce file size. Instead of applying a 12 point font, bold, and color to a heading, consider using a style instead. How to apply a style:
  • Select the heading or other content you want to apply a style to
  • Click a style in the Styles group on the Home tab in the Ribbon
How to modify a style:
  • Right-click the style in the Styles group on the Home tab in the Ribbon and click Modify
  • Make any changes
  • Click OK

Convert a Document to PDF

Microsoft documents are editable and need far more information in order to remain editable. However, if you have completed work in a document and you do not need to make any additional edits, you can export the file into another file type, such as a PDF, in order to reduce the file size. This will copy the document so that you will have the original document and a PDF. To export a Word document to a PDF file, open the document you want to convert. Once you have the file opened, click File to access the menu and select Export.
  • Select File from the ribbon menu
  • Select Export and create PDF/XPS
  • Select the location you want to save the file to and name your file. Before you click save, you can limit the file size to the smallest possible under the Optimize For option
  • Click Save
If your organization deals with large file sizes or you are looking for a better way to manage your existing space, you can try the tips shared above. If you encounter any problems along the way, Initial.IT is here to help. We offer high-quality managed IT services for organizations in Denver and throughout the Front Range. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.