Bloated Word documents
November 29, 2004 10:20 PM   Subscribe

MicrosoftWordFilter. I'm having trouble with Word. During the span of a few weeks, I work on a document - nothing too fancy, a couple of fonts, a couple of tables, perhaps a graphic or two - and yet the 29 pages bloat to 44MB. What settings are mis-set?

I am working on a recent WinXP machine, with Word2000 running under Office2000. Why does the file grow so quickly with each save? Is there a setting I should check? I checked Options and Customize and nothing appears out of the ordinary. Thanks in advance --
posted by seawallrunner to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Do you have revisioning turned on? If you are saving revisions, that might do it. Also, make sure you aren't embedding the font into the document as that means every font is being saved along inside the doc.
posted by stovenator at 10:34 PM on November 29, 2004

Word's "fast save" option will definitely increase file sizes, though it's not supposed to do what you're seeing.

As far as I can tell, Word just does this sometimes. Be careful: these oversized docs are more likely to crash Word and get corrupted. The best thing you can do right now is copy and paste all your content into a fresh document, save it under a new name and trash the old doc.
posted by jjg at 10:45 PM on November 29, 2004

Not sure about Word, but in Powerpoint from Office 200 there is a bug that if you cut and paste a jpeg into a slide then it treats it like a bitmap (i.e., uncompressed & large), whereas if you use the "insert picture" menu then it treats it like a jpeg. Because I am lazy my powerpoint lectures routinely top 50-100 megs. Word might be the same.

Also those tables. Are they actually embedded excel objects? If so the whole excel file may be lurking beneath the surface....
posted by Rumple at 10:53 PM on November 29, 2004

I recommend you link to external images instead of embedding them. Then see what happens.

That, and what jjg said.
posted by madman at 11:31 PM on November 29, 2004

The setting that is misadjusted is BILL GATES.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:44 AM on November 30, 2004

It's what stovenator said. File->Versions... and deselect "automatically save version on close." Then delete previous versions if you don't need them.

If it's graphics, you can compress each one separately, or all at once. Right click on an image, and select Format Picture. Then "Compress..." in the dialog and mess with the options in there. Same applies to all Office programs.
posted by RobbyB at 6:42 AM on November 30, 2004

thanks guys ! I'll try your suggestions and save to a new file.
posted by seawallrunner at 6:53 AM on November 30, 2004

Another all-purpose trick for dealing with Word cruft is to select the entire document except for the last paragraph mark. Copy and paste into a new document.

This will eliminate a lot of document-level formatting (document-wide styles, margins, etc) so it isn't without drawbacks. But it can rescue a lot of unusable files. Probably not the issue here--sounds like it is the graphics--but it is always worth trying.
posted by adamrice at 7:16 AM on November 30, 2004

When you copy all the content into a new document, make sure you copy all the content up to the last paragraph mark. Hit the Show/Hide Formatting Marks button on the standard toolbar (it's the one with the paragraph symbol) and make sure not to copy that last paragraph mark when you copy & paste into a new document. The last paragraph mark in a Word document is like a demon imp in a corrupted file, and including it when you copy & paste into a new doc may just bring the problems into the new document.

You can also compress your images if the file doesn't need to be high-quality on the printed page. If you double click your graphic you get the format picture menu - on the picture tab, there's a button called "Compress..." Apply to all pictures and change resolution to Web/Screen for the most compression.

(On preview, jinx, adam rice & RobbyB!)
posted by acridrabbit at 7:22 AM on November 30, 2004

I haven't used Word for a while (by choice, anyway), but I used to routinely export files to WPD format and then re-import. It took care of a lot of the issues. I don't recall having to deal with images, though.

The cut and paste idea is also good, but I wouldn't trash the original, and definitely stop copying before the end of the last paragraph.
posted by bh at 8:38 AM on November 30, 2004

Thanks for asking this question -- I'm about to start using Word more than I ever have before, and I expect the info here will come in handy.
posted by languagehat at 11:58 AM on November 30, 2004

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