Issue #56 April 13, 2004

1. Making Smaller PowerPoint files

Recently I have been working with a couple of clients to prepare better PowerPoint presentations and in both cases they were including graphics. What happens far too often is that including graphic files, such as digital photographs or scanned art, will increase the PowerPoint file size dramatically because the graphic file is so large. So much in some cases that the file cannot be e-mailed because it is too large. Let me share two techniques that can help reduce the PowerPoint file size when including graphics. The first is to reduce the size of the graphic files before you even import them into PowerPoint. You should resample them and resize them down to 72 or 96 dpi resolution and about 300-400 pixels wide in most cases. You can do this with the great utility at http://www.irfanview.com (I have written about this great utility in a previous version of the newsletter - if you don't already have it, get it, you will love it). If you have already imported the higher resolution graphics and now realize that you should have resampled and resized them, all is not lost. Resample and resize the graphics, then delete the high resolution ones in PowerPoint and replace them with the adjusted graphics. Unfortunately this will not make your file smaller because PowerPoint keeps space for the original graphics in the file (don't ask why, noone has quite understood this one). To reduce the file size, you need to import the slides into a new PowerPoint file (use the Insert Slides from File menu option under the Insert menu and use the keep formatting option when doing this in PowerPoint XP/2002 or higher) and then save the new file. I recently helped a client reduce their file size from 6.1MB to 4.4MB with this technique. The other technique is to use the built-it graphic compression routine in PowerPoint. If you right-click on any of the graphics in your PowerPoint show, select the Format Picture option from the popup menu. On the Picture tab of the dialog box, click on the Compress button in the lower left of that tab. You can now select to compress all of the pictures down to Web/Screen resolution of 96 dpi. I had one client experience an almost 75% reduction in file size when doing this! When would you choose one technique over the other? I prefer to get the graphics prepared before I insert them simply because I tend to reuse the graphics in other ways, such as a document or on a web site. But either technique should help you reduce the size of your PowerPoint files.

2. Disabling Internet access to reduce Spam

Will I get less junk mail if I disconnect from the Internet? Of course Dave, but I won't get any e-mail because I am disconnected - what sort of silly advice is that! Well just hold on now. That's not what I had in mind. What I am talking about is selecting to disconnect at certain times to prevent more junk mail coming your way. Let me back up and explain. One of the tricks that these junk mailers use is to embed small bits of HTML code into their e-mails which, when you open the e-mail, sends them a quick notice that your e-mail address is real (since you opened the e-mail). This tells them that they have an address that should receive a whole lot more of this junk. And the part that most people don't know is that this trigger even happens when you use the Preview pane in Outlook. You haven't even opened the e-mail and simply by displaying it in the preview pane, it has triggered a flood of junk. How do you stop this. Well, first, turn off the Preview pane in Outlook. To do this, click on The View menu item and click on Preview Pane. If you like seeing a small preview of the e-mail, an alternative is the few line preview offered by the AutoPreview option. This is safer because the AutoPreview does not read HTML, it only displays text. To turn the AutoPreview on, click on the View menu, click on Current View and select Messages with AutoPreview. Second, when you are not sure about whether an e-mail may be legitimate and you feel you need to open it to find out, disconnect from the Internet temporarily, then open the e-mail. When you are disconnected, the HTML trigger will go nowhere because you do not have a connection any more. To disconnect, click on the Start button, click on the Control Panel and click on Network Connections and select the connection you have. Then you will see a button to disable the connection. Click on that button and wait for about 15-20 seconds until it is disabled. Then open the suspicious e-mail. To enable the connection again after checking out that e-mail, go back to the connection through the Control Panel as described above and click on the Enable button (these instructions are for Windows XP, it may be slightly different for your operating system). Hopefully this will help reduce the amount of junk e-mail you get.

3. Useful Resource - www.webopedia.com

Do you sometimes get baffled by all these technical terms that people throw around? I know I do sometimes, even though I work in the technology field. One of the resources I use is a reference site for these technology terms. It allows you to type in any technical term and it gives you links to more information on that term. It ranks the results by relevance, so it is best to always start with the most relevant ones. It does display ads for products related to that term, but you should expect that to some extent these days on a site with such great resources. Check it out at: http://www.webopedia.com