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

Improper Index Page Numbers

Adding an index to a document can be a nice finishing touch, particularly if the document is a long one. What happens if the ...

Discover More

Dealing with Run-On Sentences

A common task when editing documents is to break up run-on sentences. You can make this task a little easier by using the ...

Discover More

Editing the Windows Registry

The Registry is the central depository of configuration information used by Windows and by programs running on your system. ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Creating a Document Clone

If you need to work with a copy of a document rather than the original document, you can use Word's Open dialog box to ...

Discover More

Opening a Word Document when Starting the Computer

Some people use their computers for little else, other than to work on Word documents. If that is the case with you, then you ...

Discover More

Embedding TrueType Fonts by Default

If you use TrueType fonts frequently, you might want to set Word to embed those fonts by default. Here's how to do it.

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 five minus 4?

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.