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How To Compress Large PDF Files

PDF is a common format that most of us are familiar with, so it’s only natural that you may want to compress a large PDF so you can share it with friends or colleagues. However, if a file is too large it can be rejected by email and website servers and fail to reach its destination. In these cases, you’ll need to use a tool to reduce the document’s file size.

If you’re wondering how to compress large PDFs, there are a number of tools that can help you complete your request. One of these tools is provided by FormatPDF. This quick and simple online tool will get to work straight away and deliver your altered document without ads or watermarks. It offers three options: low, recommended and maximum. Select the level to suit your desired result. To retain maximum quality, simply select the ‘low’ option.

In this post, we’ll take you through how to use our online tool with step-by-step instructions. We’ll also discuss key information that’s useful to know before you get started with the process. Finally, we’ll provide some alternative methods. Without further ado, let’s begin!

Step By Step: How To Compress Large PDF Files

Many tools in the market can support compression to reduce the size of a large document. FormatPDF’s online tool is one of these tools that can help you complete your task. To condense your file, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to https://www.formatpdf.com/en/compress-pdf/.
  2. You’ll see a box that says “Select PDF File” - clicking on this button will enable easy upload of your document. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file as indicated.
  3. Once you’ve uploaded your document, you will be offered three options:
    1. Maximum compression
    2. Recommended compression
    3. Low compression
  4. Choose your preferred compression option, and then hit the “Compress PDF” button. Select ‘low compression’ for the highest quality result.
  5. Navigate to “Download PDF” to retrieve your resized document.

compress pdf mobile

What You Need to Know About Compressing Large PDF Files

Here are a few points to bear in mind before you start reducing your large PDFs:

  • When you reduce a file, the percentage reduction is not always the same. The percentage will be higher or lower depending on the document type. To reduce a large PDF, the tool searches for repeating patterns, so the size decrease is determined by pattern similarities within the document.
  • You can reduce large PDFs more than once. However, you will not obtain a greater file reduction because the first time around the documents were reduced to their maximum capacity without losing quality.
  • You can reduce multiple large PDFs at once and upload your files as a batch. FormatPDF will allow you to compress multiple files at the same time.
  • When it comes to compression levels, the rule is the higher the level, the smaller the file and the lowest quality output. For maximum quality, select a low compression level.

Alternatives To Compress Large PDF Files

Although FormatPDF enables free and fast reduction, you may still wish to explore other methods. Here are some of the best alternatives when using different systems such as Windows or Mac, or Android or iPhone devices.

Options To Compress Large PDF Files On Your PC

You can reduce your large PDFs when using Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems by using different programs or software. Let’s explore these options in more detail.


Windows users can use Adobe Acrobat to reduce their large PDFs. You can follow this step-by-step process to reduce the size of your document:

  1. Head to Adobe.com and open the Adobe Acrobat online compressor.
  2. Locate the box that says “Compress PDF size”, then the blue button labeled “Select a file”.
  3. Click “Select a file” to choose your document or use the drag and drop to move it into “Compress PDF”.
  4. Choose from high, medium or low, depending on the outcome you want.
  5. When your file is ready, just select “Download” to access it!


Mac users can reduce the size of their large PDFs by using the default image and PDF viewing program, Preview. Right-click your file and select “Open With” > “Preview”. Then click “File” > “Export”, and in the “Quartz Filter” drop-down box, select “Reduce File Size” to reduce the size.


Similar to Windows users, Linux users can use the online Adobe Acrobat editor to reduce the size of their large PDFs. It’s the same process for Linux users as it is for Windows ones, so simply follow the steps outlined above to complete your task.

Options To Compress Large PDFs On Your Smartphone

FormatPDF works on any mobile device, so using it on your smartphone couldn’t be easier. However, we’ve lined up some alternatives in case you’d like to explore these further.


You can download a third-party app to reduce your document’s size. Search for a “PDF Compressor” app in the app store and download it. Find your document and click on “Share” and then select the app you’ve just downloaded. Complete the process by following the instructions on screen.


The Adobe Acrobat Reader app is available to Android users. It’s not free of charge, so you will need to take that into consideration before you download. To compress, download the app, sign into your account and head to the “Files” menu to load your document. Click the three icon dots in the top right of your screen and then “Compress PDF” to complete the action!

Becky is a freelance tech writer with over 8 years' experience writing for print and online. She is often found heavily caffeinated and accompanied by a laptop occupying local coffee shops, bars, co-working spaces and, frankly, anywhere she can get a strong cup of coffee. She enjoys collaborating on different projects ranging from tech to travel and everything in between!
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