How to Optimize and Reduce the File Size of a PDF

A portable document format (PDF) file is a popular choice among offices, businesses, academic institutions and other organizations that handle and process hard copies (printed documents) and soft copies (computer files) of documents. It has a high format retention feature which keeps the format, font, images, layout, bookmarks and more look exactly the same as you created your document when the PDF file is opened by the recipient. Due to this feature, most files in PDF format have a large file size. Large file size can delay email attachments, file downloads and uploads, email sending and can consume computer storage space.

A solution to this is to optimize and reduce the file size of a PDF file. We’ll explore ways on how to effectively reduce PDF file size.

Determine the size of your PDF document

You need to first determine if a PDF file has already been optimized or still needs optimizing. If your computer has Adobe Acrobat installed, it is easy to find the file size information of a PDF document. If you are still viewing files and folders, you can right click on a PDF document and click Properties. If you have opened a PDF document, you can click on File, then Properties. Both ways, you’ll be able to see various information about the file, including its size. Another important information you can find on the Description tab of the Properties window is the Fast Web View. If it indicates “Yes”, your file is already optimized; otherwise, it needs to be optimized.

Use a PDF processing software

While PDF can be opened, edited and saved using its default processor, Adobe Acrobat, not all computer systems may be compatible with this software. For the benefit of those who can’t install Adobe Acrobat on their computers, another efficient way of reducing a PDF document file size is to compress PDF by Soda PDF software both offline and online. The offline option means you can download their desktop PDF compression software, while for the online option, you can drag and drop your PDF file onto their online PDF compression application.

If Adobe Acrobat is installed in your desktop or laptop, there are two ways you can reduce the file size: save the file as “Reduced Size PDF” or “Optimized PDF”. The former option is the simpler way of reducing file size. You just need to click on File, Save as Other, and choose Reduced Size PDF. However, this method can reduce the image quality and can remove digital signature so this works only in simple documents.

The latter option gives you more control by allowing you to audit the space usage of the elements in your file. By clicking on File, Save as Other, and choosing Optimized PDF, proceed with clicking the Audit Space Usage option. You can then select the elements in your file that you want to have the space usage reduced while retaining the quality of important elements.

Stick to the basics

In case you didn’t know, fonts make up a large percentage of data in a PDF file. Using non-standard fonts can easily pile up bytes into your PDF file. Thus, sticking to the basics by using standard fonts, minimizing the use of other font styles and avoiding the use of special characters are easy ways of ensuring that your PDF file size is minimal. Also, creating the PDF file through MS Word also produces a small-sized file when you save it as a PDF file. However, images and graphics can still make your file size quite large, so add an extra step to saving your Word file as PDF: click on the File button, then Save As and select PDF and assign a name to your file. At the bottom of the dialog box, look for the option that says Optimize for and select Minimum size (publishing online).

There can be many ways we can use to lower the file size of our PDF files. Thanks to numerous internet resources and other programs and software that can open, edit and process PDF files, we can worry about having a large PDF file size no more. We just need to make use of our PDF processing software’s available resources or simply stick to the basic and standard fonts and formatting when we create PDF files.

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