Powerpoint is one of the most useful tools in a lecturer’s arsenal and its presentations great for both delivering lectures and for creating resources that students can download from Blackboard and revisit in their own time.

However, potential problems can arise when uploading large PowerPoint files to your Blackboard sites:

  • Large files can quickly eat up the standard 500MB file allowance provided for each Blackboard site. You may find that you are soon unable to upload documents at all.
  • Large files can be difficult for students to access, especially if their internet is slow.
  • Transitions can be sluggish and images may be slow to load, even causing PowerPoint to crash.

But fear not! There are simple steps that you can take to ensure that your PowerPoint presentations are manageable.

Avoid Large Images

Images should generally be no bigger than 1920×1080 pixels and below 400 – 500kb,

We recommend using JPEGs as your file type for images when possible. These will generally have the lowest resolution. If part of your image has a transparent background, however, you will have to save the image as PNG instead. If you notice an image is exceptionally large in your presentation, right click then Save as Picture and select JPEG as the file type. Replace the existing image with your new JPEG and this may do the trick.

Compress Existing Large Images

To compress images in PowerPoint, first select a picture in your presentation. The Picture Format tab will then appear in the main PowerPoint ribbon. Navigate to it and select the Compress Pictures option:

Powerpoint Compress Pictures function

A dialogue box will then appear, presenting various options. By deselecting the Compression option ‘Apply only to this picture’, you can compress all images within the presentation in one fell swoop.

Compress Media Files

Should your presentation contain media or video files, then it’s a good idea to compress them using PowerPoint’s tool. One thing to bear in mind is that if you have embedded subtitles or an alternate audio track on your video or media file, then don’t perform the compression. You’ll lose them.

On the File tab, click Info, and then in the Media Size and Performance sectionclick Compress Media.

Compress Media settings

PowerPoint will first give you the option to convert any files so that they can be compressed. You have the option to compress to Presentation QualityInternet Quality and Low Quality. In our experience, we’ve found that Internet Quality is more often than not good enough.

The compression tool will do all videos in your presentation, cut any trimmed sections of videos (which is really handy when you don’t have access to video editing software) and show you how much you’ve reduced the file size by.

Accessibility

It is, of course, also important to ensure that any resources that students use are accessible. Microsoft provide very helpful advice on this subject at the link below.

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

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