PDFs, Docs, and image files all take space on your computer, but how much?
Word Processing Documents (.doc, .docx, .txt): Text documents—whether Microsoft Word, TextEdit on Macs, or other word processing programs—typically contain only text, which is one of the tiniest forms of files that you can have. You can have a book-length Word document that is still pretty small, unless it also contains embedded images or any sort of imported media inside of it. Typically, Word documents are tiny, usually in the range of a few kilobytes (kb) to less than ten megabytes (MBs).
Portable Document Format (.pdf): Compared to word processing docs, PDFs can have all sorts of things inside of them, and can be much, much larger as a result. In addition to just text, PDFs often include images or links to other things. This increases their overall file size, and the PDF format itself is just bigger in size too. If a PDF is a scanned document, it can be an extremely large file size – many MBs. Typically your scanner will come with software that lets you create PDFs, and that software has multiple settings. You can opt to scan things at high resolution, low resolution, black and white, color, single-sided, or double-sided, depending on your scanner. If you’re scanning documents at high resolution, in color and double-sided, the resulting PDFs you create can be surprisingly large. So you might want to play with the settings in your scanner, making sure that you’re scanning at the resolution that you need, not necessarily the best possible quality. If you scan something in black and white at low resolution, that may be enough to capture what you need and the file size of your PDF will be much, much smaller.
Image Files (.jpg, .gif, .tif): Image files can be of all sorts of different file sizes, depending on the resolution of the image and/or the overall dimensions. If an image is print-quality resolution — 300 dpi (dots per inch) or higher — it can be large, upwards of 25 or 50 MBs. Likewise if the image is many inches wide, as opposed to a tiny thumbnail, it will be a larger file size. If you use images only for web-based or PowerPoint presentations, you can save them at a lower resolution (72 dpi) and thus at a lower file size.
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