Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bloated Word files .. why is my file so big????

One issue / problem  I have with students creating electronic storyboards where the scan/photograph/cut and paste images is that the Word documents can become very large. Often there are a couple of offending images that are magically very large. So how can we find them to see where the problem is.

Simple solution (use compress pictures)

  1. Click on one of the images,

  2. Click on the Picture Tools menu (Top right of Word), then

  3. Select [Compress Pictures] in the Adjust group on the ribbon bar

  4. Choose Apply to All pictures in the document, and [Ok]

Finding the problem images

If you have Word 2007 or 2010 they will save a Word document as a docx file (rather than doc). This is actually just a zip file with a docx extension.  So, to find out your problem images:

  1. if your file is a doc file save as a docx, or make a copy of the file if it is a docx.

  2. rename the new docx to zip

  3. double click the zip file (or open the archive in your un-zipper program)

  4. Look in the folder word/media, and you should see the images and their file sizes.

  5. Double click on the images to see which ones they are,

  6. Remove the images in the original document and resize.


  1. Brilliant, thanks!! My "Apply to all pictures" was not applying to all pictures, but the zip trick showed me easily which picture was not compressing properly. (Ultimately I compressed the "problem picture" in an external program, Picasa.) Thanks again!

  2. It is quicker to resave the docx file as a doc file and then apply the Simple Solution.

  3. Another reason Word files may get very large is because of font embedding. Under File->Options->Save uncheck the box that says to embed fonts. Most of the time, unless you are using weird fonts, you won't need to embed them in the document.

  4. The idea to open it in a zip program is brilliant.. my word document is 27Mb! and now I know why.

  5. It worked, great thanks so much

  6. Thanks so much for the brilliant Lecture !!! I found my problem checking the embedments folder. After further messing around and viewing each embedment contents (as text) I could find out that someone who produced the document, for some reason, embedded some huge paintbrush objects linked to the regular (png) pictures (which would allow them to be edited) I deleted the "paint" embedments, changed the extension back to docx and voilá. Just compressing the pictures would not suffice. Thanks again!!!

  7. Excellent, got our report down to email size! Cheers!

  8. The zip trick worked for me. Found out that it was the thumbnail that about doubled the size of my document!!!

  9. You saved me!! Thanks so much for this informative information.

  10. The zip trick was amazing! Word file went from 32MB to 2MB! Does it work for all MS docx types? Consider this tip well-tweeted ! thanks