We tried out a specialized PowerPoint compression utility by the name of NXPowerlite ($45 from Old hands will note that there are lots of compression utilities, and some of them are free. This one is for Windows PowerPoint presentations only and has some extra benefits. (Microsoft reports that there are 30 million PowerPoint presentations made every day, by the way. Wretched excess, we say.)

There’s a free utility that comes with Windows XP and we used it to reduce a 1.7 megabyte PowerPoint presentation to 1.4 megabytes. You can use this utility to compress any file or folder by right-clicking on its name and choosing “send to compressed zipped folder” from the drop-down menu that appears.

We also tried compressing the file with WinZip 11 ($30 from and got about the same results as the free one in Windows, a little less than 20 percent reduction. But using the “normal” setting in NXPowerlite, the file size was compressed from 1.7 megabytes to 972K, a reduction of 43 percent. Using a higher compression setting gave us a reduction of 55 percent.

All this matters because reducing file size saves storage space and transmission costs. A remarkable benefit (we thought it was remarkable, anyway) was that the PowerPoint file compressed with NXPowerlite retained its native format. That means it appears as a PowerPoint file, and can be opened immediately, without decompression. We couldn’t tell the difference between the compressed presentation and the decompressed one.


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