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NX PowerLite Desktop Edition 4

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      21.08.2009 14:35
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      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      Make those massize documents tiny in seconds

      If you are a big user of Microsoft Office you will have no doubt come across large document files especially those that contain graphics. Sometimes this isn't a problem especially if you have loads of disk space. However problems occur when you find yourself limited by e-mail size sending limits or just the amount of time it takes in space and cost to backup especially if you use one of the growing number of online backup systems that are capped.

      To explain the software lets take a real world example with a file I currently have in front of me. I have a Microsoft Word file with a number of pictures that I have pasted into the document. When I pasted a lot of these shots into Word I was lazy and cropped some of them - this is a key point. The file size is now 15MB. Now I cant send this document by certain e-mail services - for instance a lot of online mail providers have things like 10MB limits and at work we have a 5MB mail transfer limit. Certainly most wont allow a 200MB PowerPoint presentation!

      I could try zipping the file. With WinZip (a zip compression tool) I managed to get the file size down my 1MB to 14MB. This was still no use to me. I could use something like a file splitter but this is a nuisance. And I could upload the file to a hosting point for someone to pickup, that is presuming they want to download this on perhaps a slow link or a smartphone etc. Needless to say my 15MB isn't as much of a problem as a 100MB PowerPoint presentation or a 50MB JPEG for instance. Another option would be to use a PDF creator which again can get the file size down significantly. However unless the other person has similar software they can't edit the file if needed. I guess this is the key point of using NX PowerLite - the person at the other end does not need any extra software and the file format is exactly the same.

      So to get around these problems my tool of choice is a utility called NX PowerLite currently at version 4. What NX PowerLite does is "optimise" the document file unlike something like a ZIP format that "compresses" it.

      In the example of my Word file I can either right click on it within Windows Explorer and choose to "Optimize with NX PowerLite" or you can launch NX PowerLite and drag and drop files into it. Just a note that you can optimise multiple files at once by selecting multiple files in Windows Explorer or dragging a number of files into the software.

      You then choose to optimise the file. You have 4 options as to how you want this optimised - Screen, Print, Mobile Device or Custom. On this note its maybe a good time to explain how NX PowerLite works. Firstly because of these options let's talk about resolution. When people takes digital photos etc. they tend to forget that the resolution that the photo is taken is a lot higher than is required to print or display. For instance a picture taken on a state of the art camera is wasted on a presentation running from a machine capable of displaying only 256 colours - a bit of a far fetched example because most computers now have a much higher resolution but should give you the idea. One of the first things that NX PowerLite does is just this - it compares the quality of the images within a document and depending on the option you choose adjusts them down as necessary. Secondly it gets rid of wasted bits. Most lazy people like myself will often paste a picture into Word or PowerPoint and then crop the image to the only part required. When saving the document however the entire picture is still stored. You can get round this to a certain extent by using "Compress Image" within Office but it's not as automatic as using NX PowerLite.

      Anyway just to give you the results of my example. By default you end up with two files - your original and a compressed version with the same file name but with (NXPowerLite) appended to the end of the file. Obviously to save space you would want to delete the original when happy with the new smaller file. The 15MB file ended up the following size with the different options. Screen - 397kb, Print 1.3MB and Mobile Device 131kb. I am sure you will agree most smartPhone users wouldn't thank you for making them download a 15MB file rather than a tiny file than can be seen just as well on there screens. This was just one example. I have compressed massive PowerPoint files to literally nothing.

      NX PowerLite works on Windows 2000 or later and can optimise Office 97 documents or later (to actually integrate into the Office toolbar you need Office 2000 or later). If you are a user of Google Docs, StarOffice etc. you can also take advantage of NX PowerLite by saving the documents in Microsoft Office format. It can also integrate into Outlook and Outlook Express to automatically ask if you want to optimise an attachment. As well as Microsoft Office files NX PowerLite also supports the compression of JPEG files using the same methodology. So if you work on a lot of graphic files the software is also worth a look.

      You can download a trial copy of NX PowerLite from their website. This allows 20 runs of the software to give you a feel of how well it works. I would certainly recommend giving it a go.

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