Bloated Word document ?

Have been working away on a sizeable technical spec document (SharePoint 2007 Publishing Site) – and it’s grown to about 90 pages – not huge, but big enough.

With lots of screen-shots, and so on – but the document (Word 2007 docx) file has grown to 8 MB !!     (Can’t even email it – as it zips down to about 6 MB).

I’ve been using the clever WIN+S screen shot mode for OneNote – but this uses Bitmap (BMP) images – and (sometimes) also retains OLE linking/embedding.

Here’s the solution (brief one-page example) :

  • Here’s a document that includes ONE screen shot.
  • The DOCX file saves to about 460 KB.


  • The good thing about the new DOCX format is that it’s really just a ZIP file
  • Change the file extension – and extract the contents – to see what’s there


  • Find the “media” directory – this will list all images – PNG are bad

media directory (PNG) 

As Myth-Busters would say…… “well, there’s your problem !!

  • I then opened in Microsoft Paint – and saved the file as JPG
  • Then – back to Word 2007, and deleted the image.
  • Next – did [INSERT] – and then [PICTURE] and selected the JPG

After saving the document – it’s less than 1/2’ed in size – to 205 KB.

With my tech spec – I had over 70 images of various “bloated” sizes – as well as some that were “embeddings” – entitled :

  • oleObject1.bin
  • oleObject2.bin
  • oleObject3.bin

These allow for in-place editing of pictures within Word 2007 – who needs that !?!

So – THAT’s why my Word doc was 8 MB – and dropped to 1.2 MB !

The lesson is – beware how you use images – PNG / BMP are bloated – JPG are good.   And – if you need to find “which images” are bad – open the ZIP file from the DOCX !


2 thoughts on “Bloated Word document ?

  1. One sentence in this post – The good thing about the new DOCX format is that it’s really just a ZIP file – has just radically changed my life. I had no idea that it worked that way. I routinely work with this file type and have had the need to use the graphics in these docs. I had no idea that changing the extension would give me those files. This is going to change my world dramatically. Thank you!

  2. Echoing Paul’s comment – this snippet of knowledge is very useful – this kind of demystifying is what the world needs more of. I’ve have been shrinking the size of some of my tech specs with great results.Thanks Chris.

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