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How To Make A PDF Smaller

How To Make A PDF Smaller

Do you need to reduce the size of your PDF file? Although this format isn’t particularly flexible when it comes to editing, it’s surprisingly easy to make it smaller by compressing it. This process maintains the integrity of your document while eliminating non-essential data to reduce the file size.

There can be many reasons for changing the size of your file; one of the most common is to make it easier to share. Whether you’re uploading it online for others to see or sending it as an email attachment, sharing documents is quicker and easier with smaller files. Another common reason for shrinking your files is to save storage space on your device.

In this article, you will find out how to make a PDF smaller using a cloud-based tool with our step-by-step guide. What’s more, you will learn everything there is to know about this process, and alternative tools for different devices such as laptops and smartphones.

Step By Step: How To Make A PDF Smaller Online

There are several ways you can reduce your file’s size, but certainly, the most hassle-free and cheapest is using an online platform like FormatPDF. Follow the steps below, and you’ll have a smaller file in no time at all:

  1. Go to https://www.formatpdf.com/en/compress-pdf/
  2. Upload all the documents you wish to shrink, which can be done in two ways:
    1. Click on ‘Select PDF file’, and find and select the document from your files.
    2. Locate the file you need, and drag and drop it into the action box.
  3. Once your files are on the platform, select one of the options on the right:
    1. Extreme compression
    2. Recommended compression
    3. Low compression
  4. Then click on ‘Compress’ ad wait a moment for the program to process it.
  5. Don’t forget to select ‘Download File’ at the end to save the new document to your device.

What You Should Know About Making A PDF Smaller

There are both pros and cons to making your documents smaller. Depending on the purpose and way in which the documents will be used, you may decide to go for it or to stay well away. Here are all the most important things you should know before reducing your files.

  • You should know that to make a Portable Document Format smaller, it must eliminate data. Mostly, this tends to be unnecessary data that won’t affect the content or appearance of your file. However, if you significantly reduce the size, you may end up losing data that does impact the quality of your document.
  • Certainly, online platforms and programs place restrictions on the file size you can upload. For instance, there is generally a limit on the file size you can attach to an email, which varies depending on your provider. It’s best to always check how large your document can be before making it smaller.
  • If you’re constantly struggling with a lack of storage on your device, making your files smaller could be the perfect solution. This is a great way to create extra storage without deleting important documents, particularly if you have lots of files in this format.
  • One of the greatest perks of using an online tool to make your files smaller is that you can reduce multiple files in one go. Simply upload all the documents at the same time and click on ‘Compress’.
  • Finally, when you use a cloud-based editor to make your files smaller, don’t forget to take advantage of other tools and features available. For instance, you can merge multiple documents together or unlock a PDF that is password protected.

Which Other Programs Can Make A PDF Smaller?

A cloud-based platform is undoubtedly the best solution for making your PDF files smaller. It’s free, accessible from any device, and comes with a bunch of useful tools.

Nonetheless, if you need to work offline and would prefer to install special software on your device, we look at some options below.

How To Reduce The Size Of A PDF On Mac, Windows, And Linux

There are several programs to choose from, so it can be a little overwhelming to find the right fit. We need to look at each operating system individually, as the programs and apps can differ.


For Windows, you can download and install Acrobat Pro. Keep in mind that you will need to pay for a subscription to use this program, although you can try it out for free. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Sign up for and install Acrobat Pro on your Windows computer.
  2. Open your file in Acrobat Pro.
  3. Choose the ‘Optimize PDF’ tool.
  4. Select ‘Reduce File Size’.
  5. A window with some options will appear. Once you have selected your preferences, click on ‘Ok’.
  6. Save the file.


On a Mac computer, you can use Preview to make your files smaller. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Open the document in Preview.
  2. Select ‘File’ and then ‘Export’.
  3. Click on ‘Quartz Filter’ and finally select ‘Reduce File Size’.
  4. Don’t forget to save the file once you’ve finished.


On Linux computers, you can use a command line like Ghostscript. Keep in mind that you may need to download it first if you don’t already have it on your device.

Once you have Ghostscript, you can use one of the compress PDF commands to reduce your file.

How To Reduce The Size Of A PDF On Smartphones And Tablets

If you’re used to working on the go, you’ll be pleased to know you can also change the size of your document from smartphones and tablets. So, whether you’re commuting on the train or sitting at home on your sofa, you can fix your PDFs in a flash.

Using a cloud-based tool remains the most convenient option, but there are some alternatives available if you prefer to use an app.

iPhone or iPad

Aside from jumping online and changing your file’s size, you can also download a specially designed app. One of the most reliable options is certainly Adobe Acrobat Reader, which offers a wide range of PDF editing tools. Simply upload your file to the app and use the ‘Compress’ tool to reduce your file.


Android phones don’t have a built-in function to make files smaller, so you can either use a cloud-based tool or download an app from Google Play. An app you can try out is Compress PDF File, which is simple to use and allows you to reduce the size of your documents quickly.

Jesse works as a freelance translator and copywriter. She has a degree in Media & Culture and is passionate about anything to do with language and writing. With a love for research and learning, she has written about all sorts of topics including Technology, Gastronomy, Travel, Nutrition and more. She currently collaborates with FormatPDF as a copywriter.
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