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reduce pdf sizeIf you’ve ever tried to send a large file over email, I’m sure you’ve experienced the frustration that comes with realizing that the file size is too large. Whether you’re trying to attach a PDF to an email, upload it somewhere on the internet, or even save it on a flash drive, there will be many times where you’ll need to reduce PDF size before continuing.

Luckily, Adobe Acrobat Pro makes it easy to do just that. Whether you want the program to decide on a file size for you or you want more control over the final outcome, there’s an option for you.

Reduced Size PDF

By saving a Reduced Size PDF, Adobe Acrobat Pro will determine the reduced size for you. This is a simple solution for those who don’t want to get too technical.

  1. In order to save a Reduced Size PDF, open Adobe Acrobat Pro and choose Open. Another window will pop up that will then allow you to find your PDF document within your computer. Choose your document and open it.

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  2. You should see your PDF on the screen. You can now go to File  > Save As Other > Reduced Size PDF.

    Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.10.14 PM

  3. Another box will appear, asking what versions of Adobe Acrobat you’d like to make your file compatible with. Note: the later the version, the smaller you can make your file. If you’re sending the file to yourself or a colleague, feel free to make it compatible with whatever version of Adobe Acrobat is on the company computers. If you’re sending it to someone via email, it may be better to allow greater compatibility with earlier versions.

    Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.14.16 PM

  4. To test the difference in file sizes, I have the size of my original PDF, the size after making it compatible with Acrobat 4.0 and later, and the size after making it compatible with Acrobat 10.0 and later.

    Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.05.44 PM

    Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.16.25 PM

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  5. You can see that the later the version, the smaller the file. The larger the original file, the more extreme the size differences will be. Once you determine which version(s) of Acrobat you want your file to be compatible with, click ‘ok’ and then name your file and save it in a folder where it will be easy to find. Voila! You have a smaller PDF file that can easily be shared.

Optimized PDF

As you can see from the above, you don’t have much control over the exact size of your final PDF when you save it using the Reduced Size option. Fortunately, Adobe Acrobat features the option to save using an Optimized PDF, which gives you control over more variables such as image size, metadata, transparency and fonts.

  1. Begin by opening your PDF, following step 1 from above.
  2. When you see your PDF on the screen, select File > Save As Other > Optimized PDF.

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  3. A complicated looking screen will pop up.

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  4. Let’s say you want to save your PDF in a way that it can be optimally viewed on a mobile screen. In the top left corner you’ll see a drop down menu that says Standard. If you click on that menu and choose Mobile, the settings will change to reflect the optimization for mobile use.

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  5. If you want to reduce the image size yourself, you have the option of using that same drop down menu and choosing Custom, where you can choose which versions of Acrobat you’d like your file to be compatible with and how small your images should be compressed – measured in ppi (pixels per inch). You also have the option of choosing the quality of your photographs, from minimum to maximum.  Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.37.43 PM
  6. If you have used a font in your PDF that isn’t considered a standard font, you have the option of substituting that font with a standard font in order to further reduce file size. On the left side of your screen, you’ll see the word Fonts under the word Images.

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  7. Click on Fonts, and then you’ll see a list of embedded fonts that you have the option to unembed. If there are a handful of fonts that aren’t absolutely crucial to your PDF file, unembed them to shrink your file size.

    Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.37.24 PM

  8. When you have optimized your PDF to your liking, click Ok and then name your PDF and save it to a folder on your computer where it will be easy to find. Your file should now be smaller and easy to share on a wide variety of platforms.

Having to reduce PDF size can be a pain, but Adobe Acrobat Pro makes it easy to shrink your file without too much trouble. If you want to learn more about Adobe Acrobat, Udemy has a wonderful course that will make you a pro in no time!

Page Last Updated: April 2014

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