Optimising File Sizes for Submission

Let’s have a look at methods of optimising files for submission.  It is good practice to avoid submitting very large files to any online submission point, whether it be a My Dundee Assignment or through Turnitin.

It is always best to make a copy of your file before compressing or reducing the size.

A penguin with headset and monitor holding a file icon
MS Word

This Microsoft Support guide – reduce the file size of your Word documents – takes you through three simple processes for reducing file sizes; compress pictures, save pictures at lower resolutions and don’t embed fonts. Note: Turnitin has a maximum file size limit of 100MB.

MS PowerPoint

PowerPoint presentations with lots of slides or pictures can become very large in size.  If you are using a Windows device, follow this Microsoft help page to reduce the file size of your PowerPoints.

Compressing document images on a Mac

If you are using a Mac, you can use the following steps to compress document images. 

  • Word:
    File > Reduce file size and choose ‘On-screen (150 ppi)’
  • PowerPoint:
    File > Compress Pictures and choose ‘On-screen (150 ppi)’
  • If you have a lot of cropped images you can check the ‘delete cropped areas of pictures’ box to reduce the file size further.
  • After compressing images, double check the quality of them to make sure they are still clear.
Exporting or Saving as a PDF

If uploading a PDF for a submission, you can ensure the file size is lower by choosing the ‘suitable for electronic distribution’ option when exporting or saving your file as a PDF.

Hand-written Submissions

If you need to upload hand-written submissions to My Dundee, whether it be a drawn diagram or hand-written workings, you can reduce your file sizes by:

  • Scanning documents to PDF rather than taking photographs.
  • Compress your PDFs online using Adobe’s online PDF compressor
  • Use your phone to scan documents (see below for more information)
Scanning Documents - Apple Notes App

If you are using an iPhone or iPad, you can scan documents using the Apple Notes app:

  • Open a new Note > tap the camera icon > Scan Documents
  • Take a photograph of your document, crop to size and tap Save
  • Send to your laptop/computer via email, airdrop or equivalent, so that you have a saved copy for submission.

The resulting PDF file size is significantly smaller than taking a normal photograph.

 – Video created by Lauren Kilcullen

Scanning Documents - Adobe Scan App

You can scan documents on your iOS or Android device using the Adobe Scan App which is free to download.

  • Download and open the Adobe Scan App
  • Position your phone over a document to capture it
  • Either retake the capture or continue to capture more documents
  • Edit the colour, crop and orientation settings if necessary
  • Rename the document to submission specifications (this may include you student ID)
  • Select Save PDF
  • Send to your laptop/computer via email, airdrop or equivalent, so that you have a saved copy for submission

– Video created by Dominykas Radzevicius

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