5 Easy Steps to Shrink PDF Files

If you plan to upload PDF files to your website, it may be wise to shrink the size of your PDFs first. Otherwise, your pages may take forever to load, and Internet users don’t like waiting. Also, it’s not enough to just shrink the PDF files. The point is to decrease the size of the PDFs while maintaining the quality of the material.

There are plenty of programs and applications that will help you shrink your PDFs. Some PDF creators allow you to shrink PDF files, as well.

However, the best way to optimize your PDFs is by thinking ahead and knowing how to put together the parts of your document before creating the PDF file. Simply put, the smaller the original document is, the smaller the resulting PDF file will be.

Once your PDF is created, there are several other things that you can do to make your PDF easy to view and load. It is possible to shrink your PDF files using Adobe Acrobat, a program you probably already have if you are dealing with PDF files regularly.

When you are creating your PDF, there are several things that you need to keep an eye on and be aware of, because they will determine the size of your PDF file.

Let’s take a look at each of these things individually and see how they can be optimized in order to make the smallest possible PDFs for your site.

1. Optimize Your Images

Your images actually need to be optimized before you create the PDF file. Do everything you can to compress and decrease the size of your images. It is always best to use black and white pictures instead of color ones. Another good idea is to turn off all thumbnails when you are saving the PDF for the Web. It is also recommended that you use vector graphics wherever possible. They are best to use because they scale perfectly and they look excellent. Additionally, the mathematical formulas used for vector graphics take up much less space than the ones used for bitmapped graphics.

2. Optimize Your Fonts

The way you use fonts and the number of fonts you use can have a great impact on the file size of your PDF. Do not overdo it with different types of fonts in your PDFs. Stick to only a few, though it would be best if you could use just one font type. Each additional fully embedded font can increase the file size of the PDF by as much as 30-40K.

3. Optimize Your Space

Various Adobe Acrobat forms can take up a lot of space within your PDFs. However, in Acrobat 8 Pro and other newer versions, there is a way to flatten the form fields. Click on Advanced > PDF Optimizer > Discard Objects to do this. You will see a box for “flatten form fields“ under Discard Objects Settings. When you flatten forms, the form fields are rendered unusable and the form data is merged with the page, which saves a lot of space.

PDF Optimizer

4. Optimize Your Colors

If you really must use color images and you do not want to make your PDFs black and white, then at least, if possible, use the RGB color space, not the CMYK color space. This is because RGB has one less data channel, which makes the images smaller in size. It is also important to note that RGB is more convenient, because all Microsoft applications think in RGB, even when the images being imported are in CMYK.

If you do not need color, convert the PDF to grayscale. This can be done in Adobe Acrobat as well. Click on Advanced > Print Production > Convert Colors menu. Under Document Colors select “Device Gray,” and under Destination Space click “Gray Gamma 1.8.

5. Save What You’ve Done

After applying these simple tricks you have officially optimized your PDFs for the Web. Now click File > Save As and overwrite your existing PDF file. In the newer versions of Adobe Acrobat, the Save As command removes changes that are appended to PDFs by the Save command, linearizes the file for fast Web viewing, and removes unused objects all by default, so you don’t have to do any of that manually.

Now upload your optimized and shrunken PDF to your website and enjoy!