How to compress and reduce the size of a Word document


There is no need to repeat how important Microsoft Word is. Word documents are used almost everywhere and therefore it is important to make sure that they are applicable at all times. One problem that people may encounter with Word documents is the size of their file; it can sometimes be too big. While this is not a problem that people face very frequently, it helps to know what to do if you ever want to reduce the size of your Word document. So, in this article, we will discuss all the measures that you can implement to reduce the file size of your Word document.

How to reduce file size of Word document?

Here is everything you can do to compress and reduce the size of your Word document.

  1. Compress images in document
  2. Do not embed fonts
  3. Save it as a .docx file
  4. Do not store a thumbnail for your document

1]Compress the images in the document

There isn’t so much disk space that words on a document can take up, it’s the images you uploaded into your document that take up the space. A method of remediation which consists in compressing these images. Here is how media items can be compressed in MS Word:

  • Click on an image in your document
  • Once selected, a set of image formatting options will appear in the Word taskbar. There you will see an option called Adjust where there is a setting to compress images. Click on it
  • This will open a small, separate dialog box. The first thing you need to do is to uncheck Apply only to this image area because in order to effectively reduce the size we will need to apply the changes to all images in the document.
  • Leave the Remove cropped areas of images check box selected. Please note that the areas removed here will be beyond restoration
  • Under Resolution, most of the options will be blurry. It is recommended to select “Use default resolution”

Another tactic that can come into play here is that you need to insert pictures into Word as media objects instead of just copying and pasting them here. It has been observed that the file size is smaller when the first one is done.

2]Do not embed fonts

Built-in fonts can also contribute to larger files, so it may be useful to turn this option off. Here’s how to do it:

  • Click on File in the upper right corner on MS Word> Options and in the left sidebar click on Save
  • Under Preserve fidelity when saving this document, make sure the Embed fonts in file box is unchecked
  • If you feel the need to embed fonts, check this box but then select Embed only characters used in document (ideal for reducing file size) and Do not embed common system fonts

compress and reduce the size of a Word document

This should help you greatly with the size of the file.

3]Save it as a .docx file

Microsoft introduced the .docx format in Word 2007, so if you’re still using an older version than this, you can try changing your file format, which I’m assuming is .doc to .docx. Go to File then Info. Here you will see a Convert option. Click on it and click Ok in the next prompt. The .docx file basically acts as a .ZIP folder capable of compressing a substantial amount of data into a rather small file size.

4]Do not store thumbnails for your document

It’s not something most people do, but it’s worth mentioning while we’re on the topic. On MS Word, you can save thumbnail image for Word document, so that when viewed in file manager, you can preview and better identify which file is which. If this option is enabled, you might see a substantial increase in your file size. Follow the steps below to make sure it isn’t and if so how to turn it off:

  • Click File> Info. Click on the Properties drop-down list and then select Advanced properties
  • In this next dialog box, uncheck the Save thumbnails for all Word documents box and save this change by clicking OK

There is a very low chance that this option will be enabled on your system. Another way to turn off this option is to use the File Manager Save As dialog box, where you can make sure the “Save Thumbnail” box is not selected.

If none of the aforementioned methods helps and you need to reduce the size of your Word file a bit more, you can always compress it. Different compression levels reduce the size and have a different impact on the quality of the document, so it is recommended to do it intelligently.

How to shrink Word files online for free?

Some of the most commonly used online tools for compressing Word documents are SmallPDF and WeCompress. You can also use free file compression software.

We hope you found this article useful!


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