How to compress a PDF file

By December 13, 2011

 



Have you ever tried to email a PDF to someone, only to receive a returned undeliverable message because it was just too large? This tip will show you can reduce or compress the size of your PDF file using Acrobat X or XI and how you can apply the same compression setting to multiple files using Acrobat X or XI Std. or Pro..

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How to compress a PDF file

Lori KassubaDecember 13, 2011

Have you ever tried to email a PDF to someone, only to receive a returned undeliverable message because it was just too large? These instructions will help you to reduce or compress the size of your PDF file using Acrobat X Std. or Pro. Now the file that I currently have open is rather large. To check the exact size press Ctrl + D on Windows or Cmd + D on the Mac to bring up the Document Properties. This particular file is 3.14 MB. So to reduce the file size, select the command File, Save As, Reduced Size PDF. Next, select the version compatibility that you need. For example, if you’re certain that all your recipients use Acrobat X or Adobe Reader X, then setting compatibility to the latest version can further reduce file size. Now if the file size is already as small as possible, this command has no effect on the size of your document. And remember to not perform this command on digitally signed documents because it will remove the signature. Now when I open the Document Properties dialog, the file size is nearly 2 MB smaller.

To apply the same compression setting to multiple files, open the File, Save As, Reduced Size PDF command, and click on the Apply To Multiple button. Note that this particular command is not available for PDF Portfolios.


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Products covered:

Acrobat X ProAcrobat X StandardAcrobat X Suite

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Edit PDF

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21 comments

Lori Kassuba

2 days ago

Hi Radhakrishna Rao ,

To get more granular in the file size reduction try using the PDF Optimizer (Acrobat Pro.) under File > Save As Other > Optimized PDF.

Thanks,
Lori

Radhakrishna Rao

5 days ago

I would like to reduce the size of the PDF Form from 2.6KB to 2.5KB.
Please help me

Lori Kassuba

11, 2014-02-11 11, 2014

Hi Ben Melville,

If you have a document already open, then you’ll see the Reduce File Size dialog shown in this video. If you don’t have a file open, then when you select File > Save As > Reduced Size PDF, you’ll be prompted with the Arrange Document dialog, where you can select multiple files.
Alternatively, you can also create an Action to compress multiple files or folders of files.

Thanks,
Lori

Ben Melville

5, 2014-02-06 06, 2014

Hi,
I am using Adobe Acrobat Pro and want to compress multiple pdfs but I can not see this in the ‘Save As’ option box as it shows on your Windows version. Is there one? Do I have to merge, compress and split for this to work on a Mac version?
Ben

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-04-25 25, 2013

Hi Steve,

Great idea about creating an Action for various optimization techniques. I would be great if you could share these with us in the Actions Exchange:
http://acrobatusers.com/actions-exchange

Thanks,
Lori

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-04-25 25, 2013

Hi Julie,

The Reduce Size File command will subset embed fonts that were fully embedded. So the best thing to do is to make sure the fonts are subset embedded during the creation process.

Thanks,
Lori

Steve

11, 2013-04-24 24, 2013

Nice tutorial. I prefer to use Optimize settings instead of the Reduced Size PDF feature to reduce file sizes for most of my documents because Optimize settings can be customized. I have several optimizing settings set up in Actions and can run them on any document that has certain requirements. I have been able to bring a 5MB file down to 1MB or less in some cases using one of these actions.

And we shouldn’t forget good ol’ Save As for getting the file size down. After working on a PDF file the last thing I do is perform a Save As and write over the file. In many cases files sizes can be reduced by a few KB but some by significantly more. Someone once sent me a 22MB single page file and by doing a Save As it got the file down to under a 100KB.

Thanks again for a nice short and to the point video tutorial.

Julie Gallagher

10, 2013-04-24 24, 2013

Be sure to check your file after reducing the file size. Sometimes text styled as small caps or caps changes to a strange mix of characters when Acrobat strips out “extraneous” font information in the reduction. If this happens, recreate the PDF from your source program at a lower resolution to preserve the type appearance.

Lori Kassuba

9, 2013-04-24 24, 2013

Hi Sharon,

The ability to compress or reduce the file size is only found in Acrobat Std. or Pro.

Thanks,
Lori

sharon

4, 2013-04-18 18, 2013

hey there, I have Adobe reader but I don’t know what version. I have been trying to compress my pdf files, no success. when I click on Save As, it gives me options ‘PDF FILE” OR TEXT. what should I do

Lori Kassuba

1, 2013-04-01 01, 2013

Hi tari,

In Acrobat XI, you select the File > Save As Other > Reduced Size PDF. This command is found in either Acrobat Std. or Pro. not the free Adobe Reader.

Thanks,
Lori

tari

9, 2013-03-28 28, 2013

i have adobe acrobat XI, and when i click save as other menu.. i don’t find anything to reduce my PDF file. should i buy Acrobat Std or Pro?

Lori Kassuba

4, 2013-03-18 18, 2013

Hi Sharon,

Sometimes files cannot be reduced any further. If you have the Pro. version of Acrobat you can try optimizing the file. Here is a tutorial on the subject:
http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/how-optimize-your-pdf-file

Remember to make a copy of the file first.

Thanks,
Lori

Sharon Wetherby

1, 2013-03-15 15, 2013

I HATE THIS.  I wish I’d never updated Adobe Reader.  I cannot reduce the file size by following the directions either.

Lori Kassuba

11, 2013-03-13 13, 2013

Hi JTSW,

I think it’s impractical to assume that the file sizes are deliberately increased for this purpose. In many cases where I’ve seen this problem it’s actually a result of a 3rd party (non-Adobe tool) that was used the create the initial PDF. Some of these 3rd party tools don’t create PDFs that take advantage of the compression features of the PDF ISO specification this creating larger file sizes.
Do you know what tool was used to create the PDF file you’re referring to?

Thanks,
Lori

JTSW

1, 2013-03-07 07, 2013

Hi Lori: you indicate, in answer to Scott’s question, that Adobe Acrobat will not allow users to shrink a PDF file’s size unless they pay the premium price for the software.  Whereas the PDF file I need to shrink is 136 KB, and the original MS Word document it was saved from is only 36 KB—ALMOST ONE-FOURTH of the size that Adobe Acrobat blew it up into, when Adobe Acrobat converted it to PDF format, does this mean that Adobe intentionally increases the file size, when converting documents in other file formats to PDF format, so that users are forced to purchase Adobe Acrobat, if they need to have their documents in reasonably sized files?  You will note that, in this same discussion thread, several commentors have complained about the giant file sizes that their Adobe Acrobat consume.  Please let us know the answer to this question.  Thanks, JTSW

Patty Friesen

11, 2013-03-05 05, 2013

Hi Grammie Gale,

For a faster response from one of our experts, ask your question in the Answers Q&A forum at:
http://answers.acrobatusers.com/

Be sure and include the version of Acrobat that you are using.

Patty

Grammie Gale

10, 2013-03-01 01, 2013

I am in the same boat as Scott 11/21/12. Can anyone help me please. I am applying for a federal job and need to attach 32 pages of pdd. HELP!

Wrong and wrong

4, 2013-01-10 10, 2013

There is a “Reduce file size” under Document. And, I have Acrobat Pro, and I do not have a “save as reduced size PDF.” Perhaps the version info isn’t up to date here, or isn’t specific. Nevertheless, it should be far more detailed here than it is (and even so, reducing the size appears to do it to my document, rather than save a new one - I don’t necessarily WANT to lose my old one just in case). AND it doesn’t tell one how MUCH the file size will be reduced (and I need to get it on an iPad, and it’s a HUGE file).

This is not as helpful as it should be, in other words. It’s a start, but not complete

Hi Wrong and wrong,

This tutorial is specific to Acrobat X and XI—as specified in the tutorial description.If you need detail for Acrobat 9 then try the following tutorials:
http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/reducing-file-size
http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/optimize-pdf-files-better-results

Lori

Anoop

7, 2012-11-29 29, 2012

It is very frustrating that we cannot compress the PDF file.
I request to all software eng to do something about it.

Hi Anoop,

If you have the Pro. version of Acrobat, you can also try working with the PDF Optimizer to reduce the file size. Here is a tutorial on the subject:
http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/how-optimize-your-pdf-file

Lori

scott

2, 2012-11-21 21, 2012

I have Acrobat X Reader, but this doesn’t work for me.

When I click on “save as,” I don’t get “Reduced Size PDF” as an option. I see only a choice between “PDF,” “Text,” and “Word or Excel online.” (And clicking on “PDF” doesn’t allow me to compress the file.)

Very, very frustrating.

Hi Scott,

This feature is only part of Acrobat Std. or Pro.

Lori

Lori Kassuba

2, 2012-11-07 07, 2012

I believe the command was in a different location in earlier versions of Acrobat. In Acrobat X it’s located under the File > Save As menu and in Acrobat XI it’s located in the File > Save As Other menu.

Lori

S

3, 2012-11-06 06, 2012

Very helpful. No other info I found on the web mentioned that the ability to save as a reduced file was in the SaveAs function. They all pointed to Documents - which doesn’t exist. Thanks.

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