Issue #98 November 29, 2005

PPT – Picture File Format

Photos are becoming a more important part of our presentations. In order to connect emotionally, photos are so much more effective than plain text. So if you are going to use photos, what file format should you use? There are many formats out there, including TIF (high quality, allows transparency, large file size), BMP (high quality, very large file size) and EPS (used for print applications, many can’t be used in PowerPoint). But I have found the best format for use in PowerPoint presentations is the JPG file format. It is a compressed format, so it creates small files, but it does lose some quality due to the compression. In my experience because of the resolution of computers and projectors, the loss in quality is not noticeable. And the reduction in file size is a greater benefit to presentations because the presentation file is easier to distribute and runs quicker. A recent experience with a fellow professional speaker, Laura Stack illustrated the differences in file formats. She was having a problem with a large graphic file and sent it to me after she had tried to make it smaller. The problem was that it was in the BMP format. I used IrfanView, which I have mentioned many times before, to convert the file into the JPG format. The resulting file was 85% smaller! It was easy for Laura to integrate the smaller file into her slide. Make sure you also resize and resample the file to get it down to a reasonable size as well.