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How to Compress a Word Document  

Jan 26 2024

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5 min


MS Word

Document Management


Read time

5 min

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In the world of digital documents, it’s all too easy to be held up and slowed down by large files that take too long to load or prevent all-important emails from being sent. 

If you're sending emails with attachments, uploading files to the cloud, or just aiming to free up some digital space, knowing how to compress word document files is key.

Looking to make your Word documents sleek, fast, and travel-friendly? Well, we’re here to give you tips to make your content-heavy files lighter. We'll show you how to:

  • Reduce Word file size in MS Word
  • Compress Word documents online
  • Compress Word documents on Mac
  • Resize a Word document in MS Word

So get your MS Word documents ready as we walk you through multiple ways to compress docx files with ease. 

How to reduce Word file size in MS Word

Reducing Word file sizes is a key skill to have. Large Word files are common these days. It can be due to high resolution images, merging Word documents together, or embedded fonts.

Whichever case describes you, compressing Word document directly in MS Word is possible without ever having to sacrifice the layout or clear the formatting of your Word documents.

Compress images within your Word documents 

To start, target the document elements that take up the most space – pictures. If you have a lot of images in your document, the first step is to reduce those in size. Here’s how:

1. Select a picture in your document.

2. Go to the Picture Format tab> Compress Pictures.

3. In the options dialog, uncheck Apply only to this picture.

4. Check the Delete cropped areas of pictures option on.

5. For Resolution, check the Use default resolution option. 

6. Click on OK.

Compress Word file sizes by compressing pictures

Reduce the resolution of images in your Word document

Another tip to help reduce your file size is to reduce the resolutions of your pictures. You can save them with lower resolutions using the steps below.

1. Go to File > Options > Advanced.

2. Under "Image Size and Quality", do the following:

  • Check on Discard editing data.
  • Uncheck Do not compress images in file.
  • Select a resolution lower than 220 ppi in the Default resolution drop-down menu list.
Reduce Word file size by reducing image resolution

Avoid embedding fonts in MS Word documents

Embedding fonts into your documents lets others view or print your content with the same fonts you used to create it. Yet, doing so increases your file size. To eliminate this, use the following steps:

1. Go to File > Options > Save.

2. Under "Preserve fidelity when saving this document", uncheck the Embed fonts in the file option.

Compress docx by unembedding fonts

Note that if you have to embed fonts, select Embed only the characters used in the document (best for reducing file size) and Do not embed common system fonts to keep your file size down while keeping the formatting of your MS Word document.

Convert your Word document to .docx format

This tip works if you have a Word document with the .doc file extension. Try saving your .doc file as a .docx file instead. The .docx Word format can compress your content more effectively.

1. Go to File > Save As.

2. Click on the format drop-down menu in the Save As window.

3. From the list of formats, select Word Document (*.docx).

4. Ensure the Maintain compatibility with previous versions of Word option checked.

5. Type in your file name.

6. Click on Save.

While these tips are mainly to help you compress Word file sizes using the desktop application, you also have options to accomplish the same task when you’re working online.

How to compress Word documents online 

The best online tools to use are ones that are dedicated document management tools, like Xodo, which have the functionality you need. Here's how you can use Xodo as a Word compressor.

First save your MS Word document as a PDF file.

1. With your document opened in MS Word, go to the File tab.

2. Click on Save As > PDF Document.

3. Save the PDF to your computer.

Once your PDF is saved, follow the steps below:

1. Go to Xodo’s Compress PDF tool.

2. Upload your PDF and select your compression level: Low (Larger file size) or High (Smaller file size).

Reduce MS Word file sizes with Xodo online

3. Click on Compress and then download your PDF to your device.

You’ll then need to convert the newly compressed PDF file back to Word. Here's how:

1. Go to Xodo’s PDF to Word converter.

2. Upload your file.

3. Click on Convert.

4. Then click on Download to save your newly converted and resized Word document to your device.

How to compress Word on Mac

If you’re a Mac user, we’ve got you covered, as well. Here’s one tip on how to reduce the size of a Word file on Mac by focusing on the images in your content.

1. Go to File > Reduce File Size...

2. In the Compress Pictures dialog, the Picture Quality drop-down menu will display several preset image quality options to choose from. Select the option that best suits how you’ll be using your Word document.

Compress Word file size options from MS Word for Mac

Your options will include High Fidelity, HD, Print, On-screen, Email, and Use Original Quality. Note that for whichever of the options you use to compress Word file sizes, the lower the ppi option you choose, the smaller the file size will be.

3. Put a check in the Delete cropped areas of pictures option to turn it on.

4. Click on OK.

How to resize a Word document?

One last quick and easy way to shrink down and resize a Word document is to simply change the page size.

1. Open your document in MS Word and go to the Layout tab> Size.

2. In the drop-down menu, select the desired paper size to which you want to resize the document.

Reduce your MS Word file size by resizing document pages

3. Click on More Paper Sizes.... if you wish to enter custom dimensions. You’ll be able to specify the desired width and height in the dialog that appears.

4. Click on OK.

5. Then click on the Save icon in MS Word's interface to save your document with its new size

Adjusting simple things like the page size is just another way to edit your file down to a smaller size while on your desktop.

But if you don't have MS Word handy and still need to cut down on the layout, text, and formatting, you can easily edit your docx online with Xodo, as well.

Use Xodo to keep your digital document workflow going

Now that you have multiple ways to compress Word file sizes, you can send and collaborate more easily around large Word documents. All it takes is a few tips and some help from Xodo.

Having an online tool like Xodo can help fill in the gaps for any digital document task needed in your workflow - viewing Office documents, editing your Word document, and even converting your Word file to PDF.

So, try Xodo and discover what other tasks you can do with its more than 30 document management tools available!

Explore Xodo’s Online Tools!
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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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