File Sizes in Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 15, 2013)

5

If you have been a long-time Word user, you may have noticed that file sizes for Word documents have grown over the years. To examine how versions have affected file sizes, we did some testing. We created the exact same document in the last four versions of Word. In each case, the document contained only a single character: a space. The results are as follows:

Version File Size
Word 97: 19,456 bytes
Word 2000: 19,456 bytes
Word 2002: 24,064 bytes
Word 2003: 19,968 bytes

As you can see, the files are quite large when you consider that only a single character is being saved in the document. (The growth is really amazing if you look back to Word 6, where the size for the same file was only 9,216 bytes.) For most users, this growth in document file sizes from one version to the next won't affect them much. The size differences appear to be related to additional features introduced with each new version, and the data that must be saved with the document for that feature.

It is encouraging to see that file sizes have been going down in recent versions. There was a large increase in file size from Word 2000 to Word 2002, and then the reduction in file size from Word 2002 through Word 2003.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (196) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Excel 2007 Filters and Filtering (Table of Contents)

Excel provides two ways to filter your data so that only what you want to see is displayed. Discover how filtering works ...

Discover More

Dynamic Headers and Footers

Do you want to change the headers and footers that appear on different pages of your printout? Here's how you can get ...

Discover More

Creating a Single Index from Multiple Documents

When dealing with large projects, it is not uncommon to break the project into multiple documents. When it comes time to ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Changing the Startup Directory

When you start Word, it makes an assumption about where your documents are stored. If you want to force Word to change ...

Discover More

Can't Get Rid of Unwanted Recovery File

Sometimes Word can get confused, and it may think that it needs to recover files that you are sure no longer exist. If ...

Discover More

Creating Multiple Blank Documents in One Step

Word makes it easy to create a new, blank document. What if you want to create more than one document at a time, however? ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 8?

2015-01-09 05:11:15

Joy Fernandez

Thanks! I am using Word 2013. Where I can I find the versioning option so that I can disable it? Is there?


2015-01-08 22:58:37

awyatt

Joy: It can affect the size, particularly if you have versioning enabled.

-Allen


2015-01-08 22:28:16

Joy Fernandez

Hi, may I ask does the number of times you revised a word document affects the file size? Say you revised a document 20 times then it also increases the file size. I just noticed in my template. Thanks!


2013-06-15 10:53:48

awyatt

Stephen,

May well be, but this tip (and, indeed, this whole site) is for the older versions of Word. If you want tips related to the newer versions of the software, you'll find this site appropriate:

http://wordribbon.tips.net

-Allen


2013-06-15 10:16:33

Stephen Eccleston

Hello,

This may have been more useful if it included the Word 2007 & 2010 file sizes as well.

In documents that contain much more than just a space, I have found that 2007 & 2010 file size can be just 10-20% of the 2003 file size. Plus opening both 2003 & 2007 files in 2007 can be much faster - particularly when the file contains many tables and pictures.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.