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How To Flatten A PDF

Flattening a PDF involves merging all the layers and annotations into a single, unchangeable page. It's like turning a dynamic document into a static one. It is handy for enhancing security and ensuring nobody messes with your content. Plus, it simplifies reading by getting rid of any extra layers or annotations that might clutter the document. It also makes the File more reliable.

One easy way to do this is to convert your PDF to JPG and then, once the file's layers are flattened as an image, convert the JPG back into a PDF.

There are various circumstances where you might need to flatten a file. Suppose you are applying for a job or a program, and your application form might be in PDF format. To ensure the information remains intact and unalterable, you may need to flatten the file before submitting it. Moreover, when sharing confidential documents containing sensitive information, it's important to flatten the file to prevent unauthorized changes or tampering.

In this article, we will provide you with clear and straightforward instructions on how to flatten a PDF using various methods. Whether you are using Windows, Mac, Linux, or mobile devices, we've got you covered. So, let's get started!

How To Flatten A PDF Step-By-Step

One of the best and easiest ways to flatten a file is by using Microsoft Edge. The step-by-step guide on how to flatten a file is as follows:

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge on your device and open the file you want to flatten. You can do this by right-clicking on the file and selecting "Open with" from the context menu. Choose Microsoft Edge as the program to open the file.
  2. Once your file is displayed in Microsoft Edge, click on the "Print" button. You can typically find this button in the top-right corner of the window. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcuts.
  3. A print dialog box will appear. From the list of available printers, select the "Microsoft Print to PDF" option. This virtual printer will convert the file into a flattened format.
  4. After selecting the virtual printer, click on the "Print" button to initiate the process.
  5. A save dialog box will appear, allowing you to choose the destination folder and provide a name for the flattened file.
  6. Enter a name for the file and select the folder where you want to save it. Finally, click the "Save" button.

What You Need To Know About Flattening A PDF

When it comes to flattening a file, there are a few things you should consider. It means merging all the layers and interactive elements into a single, non-editable document.
Here are some crucial points to keep in mind while carrying out the activity:

  • Always make sure that the software or tool you are using supports PDF flattening. Not all applications have this feature, so it's essential to check beforehand.
  • You should review the document thoroughly to identify any elements that need to be flattened. This includes form fields, annotations, or multimedia content. Make sure you don't flatten any aspects that should remain interactive.
  • Before flattening, create a backup copy of the original document. It ensures that you can revert to the editable version if needed in the future.
  • If the document contains sensitive information such as banking details, personal data, and more, consider securing it with either a password or applying a digital signature before flattening it. It will help you to protect the content from unauthorized access or tampering.
  • After flattening, double-check the resulting file to ensure that all elements have appropriately been merged. Test interactive features, such as links or buttons, to confirm their functionality.

Which Programs Allow You To Flatten A PDF

When it comes to PDFs, we often use them on various devices like computers, phones, or tablets, regardless of whether we're on Windows or others. That's why it's essential to know how to flatten PDFs on all these options. It's handy to be able to merge everything into one neat document, making it easier to work with and view across different devices.

Flatten A PDF On A PC

In terms of computers, the most common operating systems are Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you are looking for an alternative program, you will need to find one that works well with your specific operating system. It's essential to ensure compatibility so that everything runs smoothly and you can use the external program without any issues.


If you are a Windows user, have Adobe Acrobat DC, and want to flatten PDFs, you can do it, but it can be a bit complicated. First, open Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, then go to File > Open. Click on Print Production and select the desired settings in the Flattener Preview dialog box. Specify the pages to flatten, and click Apply > Yes. Finally, save it.


If you are using a Mac computer, you are in luck! You don't need to download any extra programs to flatten PDFs. Macs have a built-in app called Preview that does the job effortlessly. Open the file, go to the "File" menu, select "Print," click on "Save as PDF," choose the destination for the file, and finally click "Save."


On Linux, you can use the "pdftk" command-line tool to flatten a PDF. First, install the tool on your computer. Then, open a terminal window and go to the directory where your file is. Run the command "pdftk input.pdf flatten output.pdf." It will create a new flattened file called output.pdf based on the original one.

Flatten A PDF From A Smartphone Or Tablet

Computers are usually the go-to for flattening files, but there are instances when we don't have a computer at hand and need to use a smartphone or tablet instead. The good news is that it's totally possible!


Android is well-known for its compatibility with various applications. So, if you are looking to flatten PDFs on an Android device, it's easy. Just go to the Google Play Store and search for "flatten a PDF" to find a list of options. Apps like Adobe Acrobat Reader, PDF Reader Pro, or WPS Office are examples that support PDF flattening.

iPhone (iOS) Or iPad

Contrary to popular belief, working with PDFs on iOS devices is easier than some may think. In fact, the experience is quite similar to Android. The process mentioned above for flattening PDFs also applies to iPhones and iPads. If you prefer using a specific app, keep in mind that Apple doesn't provide built-in programs for flattening PDFs.

Husain has been around the internet ever since the dial-up days and loves writing about everything across the technosphere. He loves taking tech apart and see what makes them tick, without necessarily putting it all back together.
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