8 Ways to Reduce Word File Size

Have your Microsoft files suddenly become large, causing Ms Word to crash? Worry not.  This article offers some valuable fixes to make your files sizes manageable. Word file size can be reduced by compressing images, proper insertion of images, removing auto recovery versions, switching off thumbnails, and turning off embedded fonts.

Unknowingly, Some of the features running on Ms Word lead to creation of  large files, which can cause  problems especially when sending email attachments and files over the internet. When dealing with a seemingly huge word document, your first instinct would be to compress the images because images and other elements in the document may increase document size. The other aspect you need to look at are ways of reducing documents with no pictures in them.

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How to Reduce Word Document Size?

The tips covered here will work in different situations, i.e. for documents with pictures and other objects and those without any pictures but occupy a substantial space on your drive. Here are some of the methods used in reducing Ms Word file sizes.

1. Converting Word Document to DOCX Format

Office 2007 introduced a new way of saving documents which acts like a zip file essentially compressing all the information contained in the document. The conversion from .doc to .docx will reduce the size of the document. If you are using other office suite programs like Excel, PowerPoint, and Visio, you can get the same results.

To convert:

  • Click on ‘File
  • Under the Info menu click on ‘Convert
  • On the resulting prompt, click ‘OK
  • Once done, click on the ‘Save’ button.

Now you will have two documents, the original and the compressed one.

2. Inserting Pictures Instead of Copying and Pasting

Copying and pasting seem like an efficient process of adding images and graphics to a Word file. The pasted image will automatically convert to a bitmap file which can increase the file size if the source is from a JPG.


The best alternative is to save the image in an image editor and save it as a smaller version in JPG, then go to word and follow these instructions.

  • From the Insert menu, select Picture
  • From the submenu, select From File
  • Navigate to your picture and click the Insert button

After and before Image Conversion

Reduce Word File Size - Resizing Image

In some cases, you may want to preserve image quality and choose to work with BMP or PNG formats, which will increase your document size

3. Discard Image Data When Editing

There is a possibility of editing images in word and later on removing the data edits that are still part of the document. All image adjustments if not deleted will increase the size of your document. It is a good idea to avoid editing image directly inside a document.

Follow below procedure to compress your images

  • Click the picture in your document.
  • Select Format option from the menu bar

Reduce Word File Size - Discard Image Data

  • Click the Compress button

Reduce Word File Size - Discard Image Data 2

  • Select your options.

Reduce Word File Size - Discard Image Data 3

  • Click OK.

The target output options give you the chance to pick a resolution that will help reduce the document size.

4. Stop Embedding Fonts in Documents

Turning off the font-embedding feature saves a lot of space that would not be very useful to the reader of the document.

To disable embedding,

  • Click on ‘File’ and scroll down to ‘Options’

Reduce Word File Size - Stop Embedding Fonts

  • In the dialogue box that appears, Click on Save.

Reduce Word File Size - Stop Embedding Fonts 2

  • Uncheck ‘Embed fonts in the file’ option

Reduce Word File Size - Stop Embedding Fonts 3

Before and after embedding fonts

Reduce Word File Size - After Embedding Fonts

5. Stop Using Thumbnails for Document

Thumbnail is a picture preview of the document’s first page. The thumbnail is seen when you highlight the file on the details section of windows explorer. This should not be a problem unless you are dealing with a big document.

To turn off Preview in Microsoft Word,

  • Click on ‘File’ and select ‘Info’

Reduce Word File Size - Stop Using Thumbnails

  • Next, Click on the ‘Properties’ tab then ‘Advanced Properties’

Reduce Word File Size - Stop Using Thumbnails 2

  • At the bottom of the dialogue box, uncheck the  “save thumbnails for all word documents” checkbox  and click OK.

Reduce Word File Size - Stop Using Thumbnails 3

6. Remove Personal and Hidden Information

Personal information is not beneficial to the readers it only eats up more space. Any hidden information should be deleted by heading to:

  • Click on “File” and then select “Info
  • Hit on the “Check for issues” tab, and then click on “Inspect Document.”

Reduce Word File Size - Remove Hidden Information

  • Then ensure that the “document and personal information” is turned on and click on the “inspect.” Button.

Reduce Word File Size - Remove Hidden Information 2

  • Wait for the inspector to finish running and click “Remove all” found in the documents properties and personal information section.

Reduce Word File Size - Remove Hidden Information 3

7. Turn Off Auto-Recovery

The autorecover feature saves your files as you work on them to avoid loss of documents when something drastic happens to your machine or document. All auto-recover versions of the document will increase the size used on the hard disk. To turn off this feature:

  • Click on “File” then “Options
  • Save and turn off the “Save AutoRecover information every ‘n’ minutes.”

Reduce Word File Size - Turn Off Auto-Recovery

The outcome of this change is not immediate but saves more space when working on future documents

8. Copy all Contents to Another Document

Word will always work in the background when you are editing or creating a document. To avoid carrying so much information on a single document, create a new document and copy everything to it. Doing this means, you will not have any previous document changes or settings that took place.

Tips that May Reduce Document Size

Some of the ideas covered here will reduce the size of your document but to a small percentage. You could try the following tips if the ones from the previous section failed you.

1. Turn Off Background Saving

If you are dealing with a large document that may take long before saving even after clicking the save button, enable the “Allow background saves” by:

  • Clicking on the “File” option then scroll down and click on “Options
  • Click on the “Advanced” tab and check the “Allow background saves” checkbox option

Reduce Word File Size - Turn Off Background Saving

The good thing about this feature is that word documents are updated on the background when working on it.

2. Convert Word to RTF and then Back to DOCX

The Rich Text Format (RTF) is a standard text editor with essential formatting features. The idea behind this thought is the stripping of all formatting information including those of hidden data making the file smaller. The downside of using this conversion method is that RTF still lacks some of the basic formatting options used in a Word.

3. Convert to HTML then to DOCX

No much difference from the conversion from RTF to DOCX only that HTML is a web format. Using this approach will force you to redo the headers

4. Using Unzip and then Compress the Document

DOCX is already in a zipped format the same way other document compressing tools are. The reduction rate is encouraging, but you would not want to keep trying until you find a way out. Most files going through this conversion are labelled as corrupt when attempting to open them.

Tips that will not make a Difference in Document Size

Some of these tips may sound encouraging, but it is always good to try to see for yourself.

1. Deleting Previous

When you work on a document, Ms word always stores its earlier versions through the AutoSave functionality. Some think that deleting these versions will reduce document size, however, in reality, the saved versions are not part of the document you are using.

2. Pasting Text and Ignoring the Formatting

Microsoft offers different copy-paste options. The default option will copy everything including the formatting. Using the “Keep Text Only” option does not reduce the file size as people think.

The article has given three different views that work, may work or will not work in an attempt to reduce Ms Word document size. We will now look at one application that is being used to compress all sorts of files from PDF, text, Images etc. all free.


WeCompress is an online document editing software that can compress your document to almost any usable format in the office. All you need to do is to drop your files on the platform and get results without seeing any adverts, watermarks or the need for your registration.

The Benefits

  • WeCompress is an online file compressor that works with large files in Microsoft Office, PDF, PNG, JPEG, and TIFF files online free. The platform runs on an NXPoweLite file compression technology.
  • The reduced file size has the same quality as before the convention. The output is suitable for printing, sending emails, and for screen viewing.
  • The number of files that you can compress is unlimited, and there is an offline version to deal with multiple files.
  • Supported by most browsers and can be used on any platform.
  • All the conversions take place on the cloud, so no need to worry about resources unless you are using the online version.

WeCompress Range of Solutions

You can decide which solution works in your environment and the nature of the files you are dealing with. For example:

Personal Use

You can use the secure offline desktop compression app for multiple files working on the windows and Mac OS platforms. This can be downloaded from WeCompress website.

File Servers

Compress everything in your file server to create more space

Secure Folders

Follow the progress of every compression and add new files as they arrive

Microsoft Exchange Server

All documents whether PDF, Office files, JPEG, TIFF attachments can be compressed to create room for more incoming emails and files

For Developers

You have the freedom to add your own technology within WeCompress.

Business Emails

All outgoing and incoming mail attachments can be compressed in real time

If your organisation deals with large file sizes or you are looking for a better way of managing the existing space, you can try the 8 steps shared above. If you have many files that need compression within a short time, you can try the WeCompress application.

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