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PowerPoint File Size Limitations: how big can my PowerPoint files be?


How big can I make a PowerPoint file before it explodes, fails to load or simply becomes too fat to be able to get up on its own?


First, understand that these are theoretical limits. We can promise you trouble if you exceed them, but you may well run into other unexpected/untested issues with much smaller files. And there are plenty of very good reasons not to get anywhere close to the limit. See below.

PowerPoint 97-2003 / PPT binary format files

For the binary (PPT) format, call it 2GB.

There's a hard limit at 4GB because the offsets and record lengths are 32-bit. Because there is often some trouble w/ signed and unsigned ints, anything over 2GB is susceptible to potential issues.

PowerPoint 2007 and up / PPTX format files

For the new PPTX format, your PC is the limit.

PowerPoint uses ZIP-64 (for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions), so the file sizes have no theoretical size limit. Well, ok, there is a limit: 16 Exabytes (2 to the 64th power).

But unless you have that much memory on your PC (real RAM and, with a severe performance hit, virtual memory) you won't be able to load, view or edit files that big. The real limit is your computer, it's RAM, the operating system version and file system (NTFS vs FAT).

For all practical purposes, assume that the limit is the amount of physical RAM you have in your system. And when measuring the PPTX file size, keep in mind that it's a ZIP that must be unzipped before use. To get a better idea of its real size, unzip the contents of the file to a folder and look at the folder's properties to see how much space the unzipped files occupy.

OK, that was the theory. Here's some practical advice.

It's better to break large files up into smaller units, even if you later combine them into one big file for presentation purposes.

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PowerPoint File Size Limitations: how big can my PowerPoint files be?
Last update 07 June, 2011