Size does matter in files

Compression utility makes PowerPoint files easier to handle

How many times have you tried to e-mail a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation only to have it bounce back because the message was too large for the recipient's e-mail gateway? It has happened to me more times than I can count.

Spacewise, PowerPoint files are inefficient. Even a moderate-sized presentation with little graphical flair can reach 10M.

When you start adding graphics and visual design, file size balloons. Yet the whole point of PowerPoint is to make dry, boring presentations grab more attention.

Before key drives became common, PowerPoint files had to be small enough to fit on a floppy disk. But even today if you want to share a presentation with remote users, you're pretty much limited to e-mail or File Transfer Protocol. In both cases, size matters.

PointLess does not resemble its name. In fact, its value to organizations that make numerous presentations can't be overstated.

Several things about the application will delight PowerPoint junkies. Once installed, it seamlessly integrates itself into PowerPoint. From then on, it will launch and run automatically every time PowerPoint is activated. The only difference the user notices is an extra option under the File menu to save a presentation with PointLess.

Such files retain the PowerPoint .ppt file extension. Users who do not have PointLess installed can still read and even edit the files in PowerPoint.

PointLess compression brings PowerPoint files down to manageable size. Impact Labs claims file reduction up to 94 percent. I never saw quite that much, but PointLess did shrink a 10M test file to 1.7M; another 10M file went down to 1.3M.

PointLess gains that compression by reducing images and graphics within the presentation. The only things I found impossible to shrink were video clips, already compressed images and raw text.

Some PowerPoint designers lately have begun to structure their presentations for size rather than quality, using low-resolution art. But there's no need to go low-res if you use PointLess. PowerPoint presentations can look as good as you want to make them to display important information'and you can still e-mail them.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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