Making Gains In Reduction
‘Making gains’ is usually a term thrown around by people who spend lots of time getting bigger in the gym, not websites that are all about getting smaller. But we’ve been making gains of our own! We’ve gained a huge amount of loyal users, and through their help, a huge amount of insight into where to spend our effort making changes. Most important is the work we’ve done improving our file compression engine, meaning that your files are now slimmer than ever.
Our first upgrade: December 2017
Just three months after we launched WeCompress, we made our first major upgrade to the compression engine based on real user data. You may have seen a message popup if your compression result wasn’t as awesome as anticipated. By sending files like these, our users have been helping build a picture of where we can make the most impact with our upgrades...
Reduce ‘Shape’ Image Backgrounds
‘Shapes’ are simple, adjustable geometric objects that you can include in a document and easily adapt as your design evolves. You just click and a square, circle, triangle etc... then drag it into the shape and size you need. You’ve probably used them all over the place in Google Apps, Microsoft Office or the Adobe Suite.
Among the files our users sent, we noticed lots of files with images set as backgrounds in a shape instead of as just an image object. Being able to do this with a shape is a more recent feature for Office and G Suite apps. We also discovered that if you exported a PDF to a PPT with an Adobe app, your pictures would end up as backgrounds in a square shape. As shapes are usually very efficient for file size, so we didn’t consider them good a reduction candidate, but if you add an image, they ballon up and become a great target. So, along with two other separate improvements that allowed us access and reduce previously untouched images in Office files, we added reducing shape backgrounds to our engine.
Here's the average file reduction broken down by Office File Type:
Update PDF Library
The ‘PDF Library’ is what allows us to work inside PDF files, and we partnered with Adobe to use their official library within our file compression engine. Put simply, when we made this update we improved PDF compression by supporting more files and improving compression rates.
Here’s how the change effected average PDF reduction:
Upgrade Number 2: March 2018
Moving forward in time three months saw the next engine upgrade for wecompress. Just like the previous upgrade, our work was informed by the files submitted to us by our users, this time we concentrated on…
Files Created Outside Of Office
Among the next on our hitlist was Google and Apple, or more specifically G suite and Keynote and a host of other apps that allow you to create Office files. When you export a .docx from Google Docs or a .xlsx from Google sheets, we discovered it was missing a key bit of data: The document property XML. This data was also missing from many files created in Keynote and lots of other file editing apps. When building our file compression engine we worked to Microsoft's file specifications when manipulating data within Office files. The unexpected missing data meant our engine was skipping these files as it thought they weren’t valid Office files.
So, we fixed that by filling in the gap in the file and reducing all those bloated images.
Here’s the increased average reduction by Office file type:
Upgrade 3: Soon 2018
We’ve got so many more ideas on what to work on thanks to all our amazing users, and we’ll be bringing them to you in the very near future. You can expect to see further improvements to Word file reduction with images in headers and footers being compressed and fixes meaning more files can be compressed, as well as new tools to help show you how you can go beyond what wecompress can achieve. We’ll keep making gains as long as you keep sending files!