Working with large images in Word

While a picture may be worth a thousand words, it takes up a far greater amount of space than one thousand words to store that picture.

When you add a picture to your Word document typically a copy of the entire picture is added (embedded) in the actual file.  This will increase the size of the file.  For example, this article with its simple pictures takes up 24KB without the pictures and 108KB with the pictures.

For details on adding images to a document as well as controlling layout and text wrapping see our Word Intermediate Quick Reference Card.

Big Images

While 108KB isn’t a whole lot of space today, modern cameras produce photographs that typically take exponentially more space – generally starting in the 4MB (4096KB) range.  Adding a few photographs to your document can make it difficult to email or eat up more cloud storage than you’d like.

What many don’t know is that when you visibly reduce the size of your image by resizing or cropping the actual image stored in the document isn’t adjusted.  This is tremendously useful in case you change your mind – not so useful if you’re actually trying to reduce the physical storage taken by the image!

Compress Your Images

After you’ve cropped and resized your images to reduce the amount of storage space taken, compress the images.

  1. [Click] on any photograph in the document.
  2. Choose PICTURE TOOLS, FORMAT.
  3. From the ADJUST group, [click]
    CompressPicturesButtonCompressPicturesDialog
  4. To compress all the scaled images in the file, uncheck APPLY ONLY TO THIS PICTURE.
  5. To discard the cropped-out portions of images, ensure DELETE CROPPED AREAS OF PICTURES is checked.
  6. Set the TARGET OUTPUT as required. Use the lowest pixels-per-inch (PPI) that suits your purpose.
  7. [Click] OK.

Remember, once compressed, Microsoft Word no longer has the original image.  You may want to keep a separate copy of the image if you think you might want to make it larger or have a good quality printout.

In our next blog post we’ll go all “Power User” and show you how to link to externally stored images.

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