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How to reduce the size of a Microsoft Word document?

By Nicholas Nabakwe | November 28, 2018 |

greater than 2 minutes

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If you’re wondering, “Can I reduce the size of a DOC file?” you’re probably an author who has compiled a hundred-page novel. Microsoft Word documents aren’t usually big, but they can get as big as (or bigger than) videos and games. That often happens when you fill it with such objects as:

  • large images
  • very long text
  • embedded fonts

This presents a problem when sharing the file online, which can take longer to upload and download, and may exceed file sharing size limits.

So, here’s how to get smaller file sizes in Word.

Insert Content Properly

The first logical step is to insert only small-sized content in the first place. If you’re copying text from websites and other Word documents, don’t just paste it in your word document. It usually comes with the source format which means more data.

Do this instead:

  1. Copy the text from the source website.
  2. Paste it into Windows Notepad.
  3. Copy the text from Windows Notepad.
  4. Paste it into your Word document.

Do the same thing for images.

If you want to paste an image in Word and do several edits on it, do this instead:

  1. Copy the image from source.
  2. Paste it in an image editor like Microsoft Picture Manager.
  3. Edit and save it in the image editor.
  4. Copy from the image editor and paste in Word.

However, there’s a better method of inserting images in Word, rather than the copy-and-paste method. To get the image inserted in a space-friendly format like JPG, use the menu in Word:

  1. In the top menu, click on Insert
  2. Select Picture.

Compress the Content in Word

Even after properly inserting space-friendly content, you can further reduce the file size by compressing that content.

Here, you can compress all the images at once. This method will produce lower-quality images, so do it only if image quality isn’t a big issue for you. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to the menu in Word and select Save As.
  2. Click on Tools > Compress Pictures.
  3. Pick a Resolution for all your images.

Remove Unnecessary Content

If after doing all that you still want to reduce the file size, you can now consider eliminating unnecessary content.

In this case, you can remove font embeds. Microsoft designed such embedded fonts, so they don’t look abnormal when someone who doesn’t have the fonts installed opens your document. The embeds take up more space.

Here’s how to remove them:

  1. In the Word menu, select File.
  2. Then pick Options.
  3. On the Save tab, uncheck Embed fonts in the file.

Understandably, you might need embedded fonts. But even here, you can avoid embedding universal system fonts. Do that by following the steps above and check Do not embed common system fonts.

Compress the Whole Document

In the end, you’ll have no more content to compress or remove within your document. But you can compress the entire document.

One way of compressing your document is saving it in DOCX format, instead of DOC format. Actually, since Word 2007, DOCX is the default format for saving Word documents. So, you might not need to apply this option.

However, you’ll need this if you saved your document in DOC format, usually for backward compatibility with past word processing apps. Here’s how to change DOC to DOCX:

  1. In the Word menu, click the Office button.
  2. Select Save As.
  3. Pick Word Document and save.

That’s how to reduce a Word document.

Final Word


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