How to Reduce a Microsoft Word File Size: A Step-by-Step Guide

Reducing the file size of a Microsoft Word document can be accomplished by compressing images, removing unnecessary formatting, reducing the resolution of images, and eliminating embedded fonts. By following these steps, users can significantly decrease the size of their Word files, making them easier to share and store.

After completing these actions, the Microsoft Word file will have a reduced size, which can be crucial for email attachments with size limits, faster uploads/downloads, and saving storage space.


Ever received that dreaded notification that the file you’re trying to send is too large? Or perhaps you’ve been at the receiving end, waiting an eternity for a heavy Word document to download. When it comes to Microsoft Word files, size does matter. Large files can be a hassle—they take up valuable storage space, can be slow to open, and are often too big to send via email. If you find yourself frequently bumping up against these problems, then it’s time to learn how to reduce the size of your Microsoft Word documents.

This article is perfect for anyone who frequently uses Microsoft Word for work, school, or personal projects. Whether you’re a student submitting an assignment, a professional sharing a report, or just someone looking to save some space on their computer, this guide will help you trim down those bulky files. By the end of this article, you’ll be armed with practical tips to keep your Word documents lean and mean, ensuring they’re always ready for quick sharing and efficient storage.

Step by Step Tutorial to Reduce a Microsoft Word File Size

In the following steps, we’ll walk through the process of reducing the size of a Microsoft Word document. By the end, you’ll have a file that’s more manageable and easier to share.

Step 1: Compress Images

Compress the images in your document to reduce their resolution and file size.

Images can take up a lot of space in a Word document. By compressing them, you reduce their resolution, which in turn decreases the overall file size. Microsoft Word has a built-in feature that allows you to do this quickly and easily, without affecting the visual quality too much. You can find this option under the “Format” tab when you click on an image.

Step 2: Remove Unnecessary Formatting

Strip out any formatting that isn’t essential to your document.

Sometimes, the culprit behind a large file size is excessive formatting. You might have styles, fonts, or other formatting elements that aren’t needed. Simplifying the document by removing these extras can lead to a smaller file size. This doesn’t mean your document has to look plain—just be mindful of what’s truly necessary.

Step 3: Reduce the Resolution of Images

Lower the resolution of images before adding them to your document.

If compressing images within Word isn’t enough, consider reducing their resolution before you even insert them into your document. There are many free online tools that can help you do this. Remember, the higher the resolution, the larger the file size, so find the right balance between quality and size.

Step 4: Eliminate Embedded Fonts

Remove any embedded fonts that you aren’t using.

Embedded fonts can significantly bulk up a document. If you’re using standard fonts that most people have, there’s no need to embed them. By removing these, you can shave off some of the file size. Be wary, though—if you’re sharing the document with others who might not have the same fonts, this could affect how the document looks on their end.


Easier SharingWith a reduced file size, sharing your Word document via email or other platforms becomes a breeze. No more bouncing emails or long upload times.
Saves SpaceA smaller Word document takes up less space on your hard drive or cloud storage, allowing you to keep your digital workspace tidy and efficient.
Faster OpeningA leaner file opens quicker, saving you time and frustration, especially when dealing with multiple documents or on slower computers.


Possible Quality LossCompressing images too much can lead to a noticeable drop in visual quality, which might not be acceptable for certain professional or academic standards.
Compatibility IssuesRemoving embedded fonts can cause formatting issues on devices that don’t have the same fonts installed, potentially altering the document’s appearance.
Time-Consuming ProcessDepending on the number of images and the amount of formatting, reducing the file size can be a time-consuming process, especially for large documents.

Additional Information

In addition to the steps above, there are other tricks you can use to reduce a Microsoft Word file size. For instance, consider saving your document in a different format. The DOCX format, introduced in Word 2007, generally creates smaller files than the older DOC format. Also, if your document contains macros or other embedded objects like charts or tables, review if they’re absolutely necessary—these can also increase file size.

Another tip is to regularly save your document while you’re working on it. Word creates a lot of temporary information that can bloat the file size, and saving frequently can help manage this. Additionally, you could use the ‘Save As’ function to create a new file, which sometimes helps to remove any lingering temporary data.

Finally, consider what the document is for. If it’s for web viewing only, you can afford to lower the resolution of images even more. If it’s for print, you might need to keep a higher quality. Understanding the end use can help you make the right choices when it comes to reducing file size.


  1. Compress images in the document.
  2. Remove unnecessary formatting.
  3. Reduce the resolution of images before inserting them.
  4. Eliminate embedded fonts that are not in use.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I check the size of my Word document?

Right-click on the document file and select “Properties.” The size will be listed under the “General” tab.

Will compressing images significantly reduce the quality?

It can, but Word’s compression tool is designed to minimize quality loss while reducing file size. Be cautious with the level of compression you choose.

Is there a file size limit for email attachments?

Yes, most email providers have a size limit for attachments. For example, Gmail’s limit is 25MB per email.

Can I reduce the file size of a Word document without affecting its content?

Absolutely. The steps provided focus on reducing file size without removing any core content from the document.

Will saving my document as a PDF reduce the file size?

In many cases, yes. Saving as a PDF can often result in a smaller file size, especially if you choose options that reduce image quality for screen viewing.


Knowing how to reduce a Microsoft Word file size is a handy skill that can save you a lot of headaches. Whether you’re struggling with email attachment limits or just trying to free up some space on your computer, the steps outlined in this article will help you shrink those bulky files down to size. Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance between maintaining the quality of your document and keeping the file size manageable.

For those wanting to dive deeper, there are more advanced techniques and third-party compression tools available. Ultimately, though, the methods discussed here should serve the needs of most users, enabling you to share and store your Word documents with ease. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll never be stumped by a hefty file size again.