Using Word to Compress Images

Originally published Feb. 24th, 2011 by ComputerSight

Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where to Sell Your Work - book imageIf you are writing a manuscript for a lengthy book that will be submitted for publication as an eBook, the file size of your finished manuscript will be a concern for you. All eBook publishing services have file size limitations; if your manuscript is all text and shorter than War and Peace, you will be OK. However, if your book contains more than a few pictures or illustrations, the file size will grow rapidly and may become too large to be accepted.  The answer is to compress images used in your text.

One answer to this problem is to review your text and ask yourself if all those pictures are absolutely necessary. If you are doing a step-by-step guide that uses screen shots to clarify your explanations, are all of the screen shots required? Eliminating a few may get you under the limit.

But, before you start hacking out parts of your carefully prepared manuscript in order to meet size limitations, try compressing the photos. You can use a photo editing program to compress (or optimize) the photos to a resolution suitable for on-line viewing and insert the new versions, but there is a quicker, easier way built right into Microsoft Word that you may not be aware of.

This method works of you embedded the images in the document, if the images are inserted as links, the process will run, but does not appear to affect the original picture files. You would need to edit the photo files themselves to compress them. If they are embedded, save the time and effort of editing an re-embedding them thusly:

compress images 1Open your manuscript file and go to your first picture.
Right-click on the picture.
On the menu, select Format.
In the window that opens, click the Picture tab.
Click the button that says Compress.


compress images 2On the window that opens, you may choose to compress images individually or all at once. If some are fancy photos that may not compress well, take them individually. You may choose Print resolution (200 dpi) for a gentle squeeze or Web/Screen resolution (96 dpi) to crunch it tight. Make sure the box in front of Compress pictures is ticked. Click OK.

Word will ask if you’re really sure you want to do this; click Apply to proceed, then click OK to run the compression.

If you’re not happy with the results, Edit / Undo Picture Compression will put them back as they were so you can either take another run at it with the other compression level or go back to eliminating the least essential photos.

This Tricky Tip is just one of the many that are included in my book: Writing for Profit or Pleasure: Where to Publish Your Work. The chapters on producing eBooks cover all aspects of formatting your document for each of the various forms of eBook as well as where to submit your manuscript to have it published and distributed.

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