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How to Conserve File Sizes Online

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You may not have considered it, but conserving file sizes on your website enables your users to find the information they need quicker and more easily.

Why Reduce File Space?

One of the biggest downsides of surfing the web is waiting for pages to download. Pages that contain large files will take a longer time to download, or may not even download at all if a user gives up.  This applies to graphics, PDFs, Word documents, PowerPoint slides and other files contained within your website.

A user may be accessing your website from home via a modem, they may not have an NBN broadband account. They might even be looking at your website on a mobile phone or a tablet. Always design for mobile devices first.

How to reduce space?

There are a number of ways to decrease the file size of your online documents and graphics.

File Size General Guidelines

Here are some general guidelines you might like to follow:

  • Your company or organisation may have a style guide that will specify the recommended file sizes
  • Avoid images and pictures, unless they add artistic, entertainment or educational value to your website
  • Try to keep your PDF, MS Word and MS Excel files optimised
  • Use common fonts. Think Arial, Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica and Verdana
  • Use JPG or GIF images rather than bitmaps (BMP)

Graphics – File Sizes

  • Resize or crop your images to a smaller size using Microsoft PhotoEditor or Adobe Photoshop. For any online photographs, I like to use High quality.
  • The Australian Government style guide recommends you only ‘use images if they help users complete their task with your service or product’.

PowerPoint – File Sizes

  • Remove any unnecessary background colours, graphics and animations
  • Save your PowerPoint a second time, by selecting the ‘Save as..’ option. This may remove some redundant information.
  • Consider using the .PPS format (PowerPoint show) or HTML format.
  • Alternatively you could convert your slides into black and white PDF files – using the layout of 2,3 or 6 slides per page (from within PowerPoint)

Adobe Acrobat (PDFs) – File Sizes

  • When creating PDFs, changed the ‘Edit Conversion Settings’ to a resolution of 300 dpi or less
  • Avoid the use of large amounts of colour – especially for documents that may be printed out
  • The Australian Government style guide recommends ‘EPUB is an accessible e-book format that can be read on mobile devices’ and tablets.

Please leave a comment to tell us how you save file space online and what tools you recommend for optimising your files?

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Written by Emma Crameri

I am a Brisbane-based freelance technical reviewer and writer. I have experience working in ICT, online education and digital marketing. I can turn your ideas into engaging and shareable online content. I'm an early adopter with both Android and Apple devices. I'm also the Editor of the Brisbanista website.

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