Compress PDF: How to Reduce PDF File Size with These 4 Tricks

Knowing how to reduce PDF file size can save you from a number of different frustrating hold-ups—like trying to email a large file and being notified the file is too large to send. Here are some simple tricks to make PDFs smaller and avoid these problematic traps.

How to compress PDFs

1. Reduce PDF file size by compressing the PDF

The idea of recreating a PDF sounds scary. With Nitro Pro™, you can shrink PDF files down by simply compressing the document. This allows you to strip out any unwanted space-gobbling objects, remove tags, and compress any pesky images further. Any tool that supports ‘print to PDF’ functionality can be used for this trick, including Nitro Pro.

  1. Open the PDF file in Nitro Pro
  2. Click File > Print
  3. Select Nitro PDF Creator from the list of printers
  4. Click the Properties button and select Web-ready Conversion Quality
  5. Click OK.

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2. Make PDF smaller with ‘Save As’

If you use a PDF editor such as Nitro Pro you can make use of the ‘Save As’ functionality to trim some fat off your PDF files. This method was explained succinctly in a previous post:

PDF files have something that is called incremental updates, where any changes that you make to a document are appended to the end of the file without doing a complete rewrite. This is why the Save feature is much faster than a Save As, and also why PDF files saved this way can be large. The ‘Save As’ feature will rewrite the entire file and provide you with a smaller file size.

Here’s how to shrink PDF file size using the ‘Save As’ method:

  1. Open the PDF in your Nitro Pro editor
  2. Click File > Save As

3. Decrease PDF file size by removing unwanted objects

PDF files can contain different “objects,” like bookmarks, links, annotations, form fields, JavaScript, named destinations and embedded fonts—all of which can be removed to make PDFs smaller. Like tip #2, this method requires a PDF editing tool such as Nitro Pro.

  1. Open the PDF in Nitro Pro
  2. Click File > Optimize PDF 
  3. In the Optimize PDF dialog, select Reduced size > Show Details
  4. Choose the objects to remove
  5. Click OK, then Optimize  

4. Minimize PDF file size by shrinking all images

For PDF files that contain many images, downsizing all of them can make a noticeable difference in making your PDF smaller. Following the same instructions as Step 3 will get you where you need to go!

Learn how to split a PDF into multiple files with this step-by-step guide >>

If you want a simple solution with the most options to reduce PDF files, Nitro Pro will automatically attempt to reduce the size of your documents. You can download a free 14-day trial with the full functionality today.