Shrink PDF files to save space

Multi-page PDF files usually take up a surprising amount of space. This is particularly annoying when sending via email. Many PDFs can be easily reduced in size.

PDFs are a great way to share documents across multiple platforms without worrying about how the format will look on Windows, Mac, Linux, smartphone or tablet. A disadvantage is that the size of the PDF files can be considerably larger than with a comparable Microsoft Word or standard text document. However, there are ways to make PDFs smaller thanks to free web services and free trial software. We’ll show you how to reduce the size of PDF files.

Compress PDF with free web services

A quick and easy way to make PDF files smaller is to visit one of the free websites that offer this service. Some popular services are SmallPDF, AnyPDF, PDF2Go, and ILovePDF. For this tutorial we will use AnyPDF.

Go to AnyPDF and either click the Select PDF Files button, or if you have the file handy you can click and drag it onto the area around the button. Alternatively, you can also import a PDF directly via Google Drive or Dropbox.

After clicking on Select PDF Files, an Explorer window will open that you can use to navigate to the PDF. When you’ve found the person in question, highlight them and click Open.

The PDF will now appear in the center of the screen with the three options listed below. These are Extreme Compression, Recommended Compression, and Lower Compression. The higher the compression level, the smaller the file size, but also the lower the image quality. Depending on the type and desired compression of the PDF, select the appropriate option and then click on the Compress PDF button below the list.

The service will now reduce the size of the file. Once that’s done, you’ll see a message confirming that the process is complete and a button that says “Download compressed PDF”. The button also shows how much the file size has been reduced. In our case, after selecting the “Recommended Compression” option, the PDF was 62 percent smaller than the original. The size decreased from 28.52 megabytes to 10.72 megabytes.

Click on the “Download compressed PDF” button and you will receive a smaller version of the PDF that can be more easily sent by email or shared via an online storage service.

Shrink PDF files with Adobe Acrobat

If you have a subscription to Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can use the built-in optimization tool, which reduces the file size. Those who don’t pay for the service can access the feature by using a seven-day free trial of Acrobat Pro.

After you have installed and run the software, open the PDF in Acrobat and select the option to save as an optimized PDF under “Save as”. This will create a smaller version of your file.