Arnaud's Blog

Opinions on open source, standards, and other things

A little trick to make your presentation document smaller

Presentation documents have become an essential part of our work life and our mailboxes are typically filled and even clogged with messages containing presentations. Some of these attachments are unnecessarily big and there is something very simple you can do to make them smaller. Here is what I found.

I was working on a presentation which had already gone through the hands of a couple of my colleagues when I noticed it contained 40 master slides, or templates, while only 3 of them were used and most of the others were just duplications.

From what I understand this typically happens when you paste in slides copied from other presentations. Usually what happens then is the software paste the slide in along with its template to ensure it remains unchanged. Given how common it is to develop presentations by pulling slides from different sources this can quickly lead to a situation with many templates, not always different.

I went on to delete all the useless copies I had in my document and saved the file to discover that its size had gone from 1.6MB to a mere 800KB. Even though disk space and bandwidth is getting cheaper every day I think anybody will agree that a 50% size reduction remains significant!

So, here, you have it. Tip of the day: To make your presentation file smaller and avoid clogging your colleagues mailbox unnecessarily, check the master view of your presentation and consolidate your templates.

Of course the actual size reduction you’ll get depends on your file. In this case the presentation contains about 20 slides, with only 3 slides including graphics.

For what it’s worth I experimented both with ODF and PPT using Lotus Symphony, as well as with PPT using Microsoft Powerpoint 2003 and the results were similar in all cases.


March 1, 2011 - Posted by | standards

1 Comment »

  1. I have noticed the same thing, how Powerpoint PPT files are so enormous, whether using Microsoft (any version), or within Google Docs. Same for ODF files in Google Docs. Yet your post is the first time I *ever* read anything about this! It is particularly annoying when the files become greater than 2 MB in size, as they won’t easily attach in MS Outlook, and can’t be converted in Google Docs to a Google formatted file because of their size. I am going to check some of the assortment of huge PPT files I have, and hope to find the ghosts of many past presentation templates to be exorcised, and if so, see a similar reduction in file size. Thank you!

    P.S. Regarding your more recent post: Based on naming confusion alone, “LibreOffice” and “OpenOffice”, it would be helpful to merge the two. Also, it is enough of a struggle to establish and “evangelize” even one open alternative to Microsoft Office. Trying to do two, both Libre AND Open, is unrealistic.

    Comment by Ellie K | July 19, 2012 | Reply

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