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How Big Is Too Big for a Microsoft Word Document?

by Walter Jules

The more you write, the bigger your file—but just how big can a Microsoft Word document be? The answer is, it depends. Text, video, and image content make all the difference when it comes to Word document size.

The maximum file size of a Word document also depends on the file format. Newer versions of Word use the DOCX format, while older versions use DOC.

The Maximum File Size for Microsoft Word Documents

The maximum file size for Microsoft Word documents that only contain text is 32 MB. This is true for documents created in Microsoft Word 2007 and later.

That’s a lot of room for text, but not much for videos or images.

If you add images or video to your document, the maximum file size increases to a much more manageable 512 MB—at least, in theory. This is the absolute maximum size, but we advise caution if your Word files begin to approach this size.

Word documents that are half a gigabyte are going to be extremely difficult to work in, especially if the bulk of the file contains images or videos. However, a lot depends on your system resources, and whether your computer is capable of working with files that large.

It also depends on Word itself. While the program is typically stable for general use, you might find it significantly less so if you try to work in or save a file of a substantially larger size than usual.

The same is true when you open a file larger than what would otherwise be routine.

How to Check the File Size

If you want to check the size of your Microsoft Word document, you can do so in Word or Windows File Explorer.

To quickly check the file size in Word, click File > Info. This menu includes various pieces of information about your document, including authors, the current word count, and file history.

On the right side of the menu, you see a section called “Properties.” This includes document statistics, starting with the document’s file size at the top.

You can also open the folder that contains your Word document in File Explorer, and then click View > Details.

In the “Details” view, you’ll find the file size of your Word document under the “Size” column.

How to Reduce the File Size of Word Documents

There are a few ways you can reduce the size of your Word document. This might be useful if your file has become difficult to work with, and especially if Word crashes while you’re in it.

If you convert older documents to the newer DOCX format, you should also see improvements in the size. DOCX files automatically compress any additional content, like images.

To convert a document, open it in Word, and then click File > Info > Convert.

How you insert images into your Word document can also impact the file size. If you paste images into your document directly, Word converts them to the BMP format, which is significantly larger than other file formats, like JPEG.

If there are uncompressed files in your Word document, you can compress them all at once. To do this, click File > Save As > More Options.

In the “Save As” dialog box, click Tools > Compress Pictures.

From here, choose the picture quality you want to use for any images in your Word document.

For the smallest possible file size (but the worst possible quality), select “E-mail (96 PPI),” click “OK,” and then click “Save.”

This automatically compresses all of the images. You can select one of the other options, but doing so will result in a larger Word document.

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