After creating the perfect PowerPoint business presentation, you may discover that it's not so perfect anymore after you save it. Microsoft includes a helpful image compression tool in PowerPoint that has several benefits and one disadvantage: compressed images can become fuzzy. You can correct that problem by learning about PowerPoint image compression.
Image Compression Benefits
Whenever you surf the Web, you enjoy the benefits of image compression. Many Web pages contain JPG images that download quickly to your browser because they are compressed. However, when you compress an image using software, the image loses a little bit of its quality, and can become fuzzy if you compress it completely. Even though you may not post your PowerPoint presentations on the Web, you may want to conserve disk space by keeping images in those presentations small. PowerPoint's image compression feature makes this possible.
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PowerPoint Automatic Compression
When adding images from your hard drive to a slide, PowerPoint compresses them automatically unless you tell it not to do that. If you save the file, work on it and save it again, PowerPoint compresses the images again. If you keep repeating this process, your images' quality will slowly degrade with each save.
Disable image compression if you want the images you insert into PowerPoint to retain the same quality as images that appear in the presentation after you save it. Click "File," then "Options," and then "Advanced" to view the "Image Size and Quality" settings. A text box next to the words "Image Size and Quality" displays the name of the current presentation. Click the arrow next to that text box and select another presentation if you have multiple presentations open. Disable automatic image compression for the presentation that you selected by placing a check mark in the "Do Not Compress Images in File" check box. Microsoft cautions that your file sizes may become very large if you disable image compression.
PowerPoint's sharpening tool can't decompress images that it has already compressed, but it can help you make fuzzy images clearer. Sharpen a picture by right-clicking it and selecting "Format Picture" to open the Format Picture dialog window. Click and drag the Sharpen and Soften slider to the right to make the image sharper. The Format Picture window has additional tools that can help you alter your PowerPoint images in a variety of creative ways. Try them out by clicking "Shadow," "Size," "Picture Color," "Artistic Effect" or any of the other buttons in the Format Picture dialog window.
Information in this article applies to PowerPoint 2007 and 2010. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.