in Misc

How Not to Annoy Others with Big Files


While bandwidth is cheap and connection speeds increase every year, file sizes remain a problem, especially for sharing with others. This is not a big problem for sending files over e-mail, as most providers impose a fairly strict limit on the total size of files that can be sent in a single e-mail. However, the advent of cloud computing has led to the emergence of cloud storage without any size limitations.Since size is no longer a factor, anyone can share files as big as they want. Trouble starts when everyone wants to share big files without regard for the time it takes to download them all. Here’s how to stay polite.

Is It Really Necessary?

Always ask yourself if the element you want to share needs to be shared. For example, the usual cause of size bloat in documents is the inclusion of images, especially bitmaps. These can cause a modest sized document counted in the hundreds of kilobytes to number several megabytes. Now imagine everyone you work with sharing several hundred of these files every day. To minimize the problem, consider eliminating the images entirely or substituting them with graphs or other vector graphics. If that bitmap is truly necessary, make use of the compression tools available in most modern text editors. For example, in the Microsoft Office packet, look for the option to Reduce File Size.

Check the Format

Of course, documents aren’t the only thing shared through cloud storage. Images, videos, and other media files are often transferred as well. To minimize their size, consider switching to a compressed format. The most obvious choice for images is jpeg. It is a glossy format, of course. However, if an image is converted using a high-quality setting (anywhere between 85 and 100 percent), the loss is usually negligible, while the reduction in size can be tremendous. The same goes for video and audio files. Accepting a small loss in quality can help keep the file size down and reduce the time it takes to share large files.

Archives Are Good


The usual choice for reducing the size of files is compressing them using one of the dozens of protocols available on the market, with zip, rar, and their derivatives being the most common choices. If you can’t keep the size of your files under control using other means, archives can be a blessing. In this case, always remember to check what settings you use. The default configuration for a file archiving tool is geared toward speed and moderate efficiency. While choosing options that minimize the size of the archive increases the time it takes for the software to pack an archive, it can greatly reduce the actual size of the archive.

Always Explore for More Options

Of course, these are not the only possibilities for reducing file size. For example, the ubiquitous PDF has its own options for controlling the size of the document, both at the creation stage and subsequent conversion. It’s good practice to explore the possibilities of software. Especially when you don’t have to alienate the rest of the office by sharing a giant file they have to wait an hour for.


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.