Turnitin: Reducing File Sizes for upload

Turnitin currently allows you to submit a file up to a maximum size of 40 MB. It is therefore important to check the file size of your assignment before you submit it and if necessary reduce the file size.

This guide will outline a number of different file types, show you how to find out the size of a file, and give you advice on how to reduce (or compress) your file, to achieve the smallest possible size and ensure that the file size of your assignment does not exceed 40 MB

File Sizes

Distinguishing between a KB and a MB with a GB thrown in now and then can sometimes be trying, especially when you are working to a deadline. However, computer file sizes are actually very easy to understand. There are 1000 Kilobytes in 1 megabyte. Generally, you wouldn’t expect a word document to reach a file size above 1MB, but if the document contains images etc, this can push up the file size considerably

Discovering the file sizes of your content

Finding out how large your files are is very easy. There are generally two methods depending on whether you are viewing a file located on your desktop or in an explorer window. To begin with, we will find out the size of a file on the desktop of your computer.

Locate the file that you wish to upload on your desktop, hover your mouse cursor over it and right click. You will see a menu appear with a range of options. Next you will need to select the option titled ‘Properties’ at the very bottom of the menu

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A Properties window will appear displaying a range of information about the file over four tabs including the type of file, the default program that file type has been set to open with, and dates for the files creation and last access/modification. File size information can be found on the ‘General’ tab. In this example, the word file is 1.02 MB  in size

If you are browsing through files using Windows Explorer there is an even easier way to discover the size of your files.

Set your window layout to display the ‘Details Pane’ by clicking the ‘More options’ down arrow next to the ‘Change your view’ icon (top right hand side of the explorer window)

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Once you have changed to ‘Details’ view,  the file size of each file will be displayed

You will be able to use these methods to find out the size of most widely used file types for document, images, video, audio etc.

Resizing a Word Document

We use Word Documents so often while studying and working that it’s easy to forget that files containing images, shapes, charts and screenshots can sometimes become very large, very quickly. However there are ways to greatly reduce the size of the Word Documents in a matter of minutes before you upload them

Probably the quickest and most effective method is to convert your Word Document to PDF format. When a Word Document is saved as a PDF, any images inserted into the document will be compressed thus reducing the overall file size greatly. This also has an added advantage in that the PDF file format can be opened using a range of universal PDF readers that are available cross-platform (e.g. Windows, Apple, Linux etc.).

With your Document opened in Microsoft Word, select ‘File’ then  ‘Save As’, click on the ‘Save as type’ drop-down menu and select PDF

A number of PDF specific saving options will appear below. Make sure to select ‘Optimize for: Minimum size (publishing online)’. This will compress your file specifically for online use. Click ‘Save’ and your Word Document will be converted to PDF in a matter of seconds significantly smaller in size


Watch the video below to see this in action

Resizing an Image

You may need to include scanned images in your assignment. Often, the preferences of a scanning device will be set so that an extremely high optical resolution image of around 300-600dpi (dots per inch) is produced. This not only means that the image dimensions will be large but that the file size will be too. A much lower resolution of around 70dpi is normally more than satisfactory
Microsoft Paint can be used to reduce the file size of an image (or scanned image)

Open your image in Microsoft Paint and select the Resize button
Click the ‘Maintain aspect ratio’ check box so that both horizontal and vertical figures will be linked and your image will keep its proportions

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Click the ‘Pixels’ radio button

In the example below the original image was 3008 pixels (width) by 2000 pixels (height)

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Change the horizontal (width) pixel count to around 300px (the vertical pixel count will adjust automatically)


Then click ‘OK’ (you will see immediately that the image size has been reduced considerably)

Click ‘Save As’ and select PNG as the image type. MS Paint applies a fixed compression which will generate a medium quality image with massively reduced file size
The file size of the ‘kitten’ image has been reduced considerably from 2,931 KB to 126 KB

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 Watch the video below to see this in action

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Helen Baker

Head of Digital Innovation

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