How to Compress PDF Files

Apr 16, 2024
10 min
how to reduce pdf file size

Dealing with large file sizes is one of the major hurdles when it comes to working with PDFs. But you’re not alone. Many users need to compress PDF files when they're low on storage space or need to share their docs with someone.

But before we explore the intricacies of file compression, let's tackle some basic questions: What is a PDF file made of? And why do we need to reduce its size?

Understanding PDF files and compression

Ever find yourself waiting forever for a PDF file to download, even though it's only a few pages? Or you've split your PDF and noticed some pages are missing. Sounds familiar, right? Well, before you start looking for a PDF compressor, it's important to get a grasp on how the file size is spread out among the various components.

What is a PDF file composed of?

PDFs often contain more than just plain text. We’re talking about:

  • interactive elements such as annotations, links, form fields, bookmarks, etc.;
  • embedded fonts;
  • rich media (images or video);
  • file attachments;
  • document overhead, alongside various low-level elements such as extended graphics states and structural information;
  • PDF form data.

5 common reasons documents get too large

  1. 1

  2. Images. High-resolution images or illustrations can significantly increase the overall file size of a PDF.
  3. 2

  4. Fonts. These are more than just simple design features and can be pretty deceptive in how bulky they are.
  5. 3

  6. Embedded files. Various file types can be attached to your PDF, adding to its size.
  7. 4

  8. File type. The file format you start with impacts the size of the final PDF; converting from an image format like JPG or PNG tends to result in a larger file size than converting from Microsoft Word docs.
  9. 5

  10. Software. If you're working with PDFs using older software versions, you might notice that the files are larger than expected.

reduce pdf file size

Why is it useful to reduce the size of your PDFs?

How to Compress PDF Files

  • Faster uploads and downloads. When you compress the size of PDF files, you're also making them easier to share electronically via email or online. This is especially helpful for teams that often need to share big documents across their network.

  • Improved storage management. Storing large PDF files means using up a lot of your hard disk space. When you're dealing with documents, whether it's on cloud platforms or local servers, shrinking your PDF files can be a real space saver. And yes, that’s how you reduce costs too.

  • Enhanced accessibility. Smaller PDF files make it much easier to manage your documents on the go, whether using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

How to determine PDF file size

Once your PDF is saved on the device, you can easily check its size. Just hover your mouse over and click on the file. Now, go to Get Info/Properties from the menu (depending on the OS you’re using) — and find the section that indicates the size of your PDF document.

How to reduce PDF file size using PDF Guru

Our all-in-one online tool can tackle this task in no time at all. Here’s what you need:

  1. 1

  2. Log into your account and choose the Compress PDF tool.
  3. 2

  4. Upload or drag & drop your file into the designated area.
  5. 3

  6. Our PDF compressor will swiftly reduce your PDF file size.
  7. 4

  8. The resulting file will then appear in the Downloads folder and your account.

PDF Guru can do more than just shrink PDF file size. You can also use it to edit, sign, and convert PDFs with just a few clicks. Explore the vast array of tools we provide for effortless document management.

How to compress PDFs on Windows

how to compress a pdf file on windows

Although Windows doesn't have a designated PDF reducer, there is a roundabout way to compress file size:

  1. 1

  2. Right-click a PDF file you want to compress.
  3. 2

  4. Choose Send to from the menu bar.
  5. 3

  6. Select Compressed (zipped) folder.

And now you have a compressed zip folder with your files which you can unpack at any time. This method is great for saving space but inconvenient when you need quick access to the zipped files.

How to compress PDFs on Mac

how to compress a pdf on mac

Good news for Mac users — you’ve got a built-in app called Preview that can function as a PDF size reducer. To use it, you need to:

  1. 1

  2. Open your PDF file in the Preview app.
  3. 2

  4. Choose File and then Export.
  5. 3

  6. Go to the Quartz Filter pop-up menu and choose Reduce File Size.

Alternatively, you can reduce the size of PDFs on Mac using the built-in Automator app. However, this method can be pretty difficult if you're not a techie.

How to compress a PDF file on iPhone

how to compress a pdf file on iphone

iOS Files app can help you with that. Here are the steps:

  1. 1
  2. Navigate to the Files app on your iPhone and select the PDF document.
  3. 2

  4. Tap & hold over a PDF document, and choose Quick Actions > Optimize File Size.
  5. 3

  6. Compressed file version will be autosaved on your device.

How to reduce PDF size in Google Drive

Another way to compress PDFs online is to upload them as multiple folders to Google Drive. The platform will automatically bundle them into a single zip archive. This method will reduce the size of PDF files and make them easier to share, but you won't be able to access these files individually without unzipping the archive.

How to compress PDFs for an email?

When you're working with a single large file, PDF Guru is your best bet — just follow the steps outlined above. However, if you find yourself juggling multiple PDFs, it's better to compress them into a zip file. This method not only accelerates the upload and download process but also simplifies things for the recipient.

Seeking a PDF compressor online? Our PDF Guru tool is the one. We’re constantly upgrading our features, eliminating the need for you to look elsewhere.