Managing your document file sizes and preparing files for submission.

Information IconBefore submitting any pieces of work electronically it is worth making sure that the file you are sending is a small as you can possibly make it. This is often easier to achieve if you manage this as you are creating the document rather than just prior to submission.

Note: This is also good practice before sending any electronic document whether via email or uploading to a website.


File Names

When creating your files, it is good practice to use a concise naming convention for you documents. Word will usually just select the documents title or first line of text as the file name which will usually be quit long.

  1. Keep filenames as concise as possible while still being meaningful (There is a maximum limit to file names).
  2. Only use dashes (-) or underscores (_) for punctuations. Character such as ampersands (&) can cause problems when uploaded.


Note: instead of punctuation you could capitalise the first letter of each individual word in the file name (known as CamelCase), This makes file names without spaces easy to read e.g. ThisIsMyFile.doc


Examples of good file names.





Note: Students of the School of Earth and Environment (SoEE) please place your student number at the beginning or your essay title.

E.g. 1234567890_EssayTitle.docx


File Size

There are limits to the size of files that can be uploaded to Turnitin so it is good practice to keep your files a lean as possible (aim for a max of 20mb).

For example:

  • A text only word document of 70-80 pages of text =1mb
  • Include 6-10 optimised images = 5mb to 10mb


Crop and resize all images before embedding them into doucments. Resizing an image in Word or PowerPoint (once inserted) just alters its display size not the actual file size (aim for a maximum of 600 pixels on an images longest edge). Here are links to some quick guides on how to do this using several common applications.

  • Crop and resize using Photoshop
  • Crop and resize using Microsoft Paint
  • Crop and resize using GIMP (free software)
  • Crop and resize using Sumo (free online app)


If you already have a file with lots of uncropped or large images in, Microsoft Word has a compress feature, this will optimise the file and its inserted images.

  • Compress Pictures in Word

Note: even if you have already cropped/resized your images performing this could further reduce your final file size.


Edit: A good online service for reducing the size of PDF documents is and their ‘Compress PDF’ tool. Simply drag and drop you pdf document to compress it.

See our AtoZ of TEL guide on SmallPDF

Additional information

If you ever need to anonymise your file prior to a submission this guide shows you how.



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