How to Make a PNG File Smaller: The Ultimate Guide

When working with digital images, you often need to conform to specific size and dimension limitations. One project may need images below a 720x720 px resolution. Another may not be able to upload files greater than 2MB in storage size. This introduces the importance of the two types of sizes.

A PNG's size can refer to one of two qualities. The image's size in pixels is its resolution, for example, 720x720 px is a square with not especially high resolution. The other PNG size is the size of the file, or how much data is stored in the image. This size determines storage space along with download and upload speed.

Often in graphic design, you will need to reduce one or both sizes of a PNG image.

Why shrink your PNG?

  • Resize an image to use in design
  • Scaling to fit images into a template
  • Complete a scaled asset list in pre-set image sizes
  • Reduce file size to meet upload requirements
  • Reduce file size to speed page performance

There are several good reasons to make a PNG smaller. Graphic designers often need to resize an image to make it part of a larger visual design. Resource images are rarely the size you need them to be initially. However, the most common reason is a platform upload limitation or conforming to image sizes in a design template. Every website, template, and program has their own image upload and storage requirements which must be met on a case-by-case basis or handled with pre-sized portfolio assets. In both cases, you'll be scaling your PNGs in both resolution and file.

In templates and asset packs, you'll focus primarily on scaling the resolution size of your PNGs, while scaling the file size will depend on each platform's upload limitations.  Developers sometimes also reduce the file size to get better performance from their programs or web pages.

How to make a PNG image smaller

If your goal is to scale the resolution of your image to fit a smaller template or size requirement, this is easy to do with PNG. PNGs are low-loss bitmap images that scale well, especially when pixel deletion is used.

Scaling the image and canvas

The best way to scale a PNG is in an advanced image editor with a resampling feature like CorelDRAW. When you make a PNG smaller, there are fewer pixels in the image. Resampling is a smart pixel selection program that identifies which pixels to delete and which to keep to get the best detail on a smaller image.

Upload your PNG image and go to the Image Resampling option. Adapt the settings to your desired resolution and run the tool. The result will be a sharp, cleanly scaled PNG at a smaller image size.

The scaling and transform tool

Your other option is to transform the PNG as an asset. Graphic designers may want to work with a PNG as part of a larger design and need to make it smaller. In this case, you will want the Transform tool.

Upload your PNG into your graphic design program and select it. If desired, remove the background. Then select the Transform tool and adapt the UI handles or the settings to shrink the PNG image to the size you need.

How to make a PNG image file smaller

Let’s say you need to make a PNG file smaller without reducing the pixel resolution. This can be done in a number of ways depending on the content and detail of your PNG image.

Compress the PNG

One option is to compress the PNG. This uses a compression algorithm to compact the file size. It stores smaller, but can take more time to unpack and load as a result.

Save without an alpha channel

You can remove the alpha channel of your PNG. The alpha channel allows for transparency, including a transparent background. However, if your PNG has a background and does not need transparency, you can reduce the total file size by saving your PNG without alpha channel data.

Save in Grayscale or Indexed-Color

Change the image to grayscale or to indexed-color, which is a limited but capable color scale. These simplified shade file types require less data storage to record each color in your PNG and will reduce the file size.

Make the image smaller

One option is simply to shrink the image resolution. If the resolution doesn't matter or you have a range to work with, a slightly smaller image can fit into your file size requirements.

Save as another file format

Another option is to save your PNG as something lighter and smaller. JPGs are smaller raster images with slightly less detail (and no transparency). Or you can vectorized your PNG into a lightweight SVG.


If you are working with PNG images, it's helpful to know how to scale them both in resolution and in file size. Use these tips to tackle each future template asset pack and upload file requirements in the future.

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