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How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

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A lot of times PDF files turn out to be larger in size than expected. PDF file size increases due to factors like different fonts, excessive image resolution, colored images, poorly compressed images, etc. Due to these factors, you usually face issues while uploading them on government websites or while sending them as attachments in the mail because of the size limit. So, you need to reduce PDF file size to upload them. Now, you may be thinking: how to reduce pdf file size without losing its quality. Yes, it is possible to reduce PDF file size without losing quality. We bring to you a perfect guide that will teach you how to reduce PDF file size without losing quality. We have solutions for both Windows and Mac users to reduce PDF file size. So, continue reading!

How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

Whether you are using Windows or Mac, you must avoid scanning docs as PDF as it makes your file unnecessarily large. All the methods mentioned here are very easy and do not require any payment unless you opt for the paid versions. You can choose any of these methods according to your requirement & convenience.

Method 1: Reduce PDF File Size in MS Word

This method is the best option when you have a Word document that you need to convert to PDF. Follow the steps given below to reduce PDF file size in MS Word on Windows PC:

1. Open the Word document and press F12 key

2. Expand the Save as type dropdown menu.

expand save as type dropdown option to convert to word file to pdf

3. Select PDF option and click on Save.

Note: This process makes the size of PDF files comparatively smaller than the file converted using third-party conversion software.

select PDF in save as type dropdown option to change word to pdf

4. To reduce PDF file size to its minimum size, choose Minimum size (publishing online) in the Optimize for option.

choose minimum size in optimize option to reduce pdf size in ms word

5. Click Save to reduce your PDF file size.

Method 2: Reduce PDF File Size in Adobe Acrobat 

You can also use Adobe Acrobat Reader to reduce PDF file size without losing quality, as follows:

Note: You cannot analyze individual elements separately in this method.

1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

2. Go to File > Save as Other > Reduced Size PDF…, as highlighted.

Go to File then Save as Other and Reduced size PDF. How to Reduce PDF File Size without losing Quality

3. Choose Acrobat Version Compatibility as per your needs, and click OK.

Choose Minimum size in the Optimize for option and click on Ok. How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

4. Next, click on Save to save your file in the desired location, as illustrated below.

Save your file in the desired location. How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

5. You will see a black box stating Reducing PDF size as shown.

See a black box stating Reducing PDF size in the bottom-right corner of the screen. How to Reduce PDF File Size without losing Quality

Once all the steps are completed, this will reduce PDF File Size without losing any quality of the content and images within the file.

Also read: Fix Can’t Print PDF Files from Adobe Reader

Method 3: Use Adobe Acrobat PDF Optimizer

By using Adobe Acrobat PDF Optimizer, you can reduce PDF file size with customization. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC allows you to see all the elements of the PDF file which are affecting its size. You can also see view how much space is being consumed by each element so that you can customize the size of the file, according to your preferences. Here’s how to do so:

1. Open your PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

2. Go to File > Save as Other > Optimized PDF… , as shown below.

Click on Save as Other and go to Optimized PDF

3. Now, click on Audit space usage… button on the top-right corner of the next screen.

Click on Audit space usage given on the top-right corner of the pop-up. How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

4. in the pop-up that appears with the list of elements consuming space in the file, click on OK.

5. Choose elements given in the left pane to view details of each element, as illustrated.

Choose elements from the checkbox given on the left side and click on Ok. How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

You will be able to reduce PDF file size by following the above steps. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Pro DC software then you can use any third party software to reduce PDF file size on Windows or Mac. Follow the succeeding methods to do the same.

Method 4: Use Third-Party Software

There are many third party software to reduce PDF file size. You can use any of these to reduce PDF file size without losing quality. If you are not sure which software to use, use 4dots Free PDF Compress, as explained below:

1. Download 4dots Free PDF Compress and install it on your PC. 

Note: 4dots Free PDF Compress software is only available for Windows. If you are a Mac user then you can download any other third party software.

2. Once installation is complete, launch it and click on Add file(s) as shown below.

Download 4dots Free PDF Compress and install it. Open it and go to Add file(s).

3. Select your PDF file and click on Open.

Select the file you want to add from your device and click on Open. How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

4. Your file will be added and all the details of the file will be shown in a table viz Filename, File size, File date, and File location on your device. Adjust image quality using the slider at the bottom of the screen, below the Compress Images option.

Adjust image quality using the bar at the bottom of the screen, below the Compress Images

5. Click on Compress from the top of the screen and click OK, as highlighted.

Click on the Compress tab given at the top of the screen and click OK. How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

6. Comparison of PDF size before and after compression will be visible. Click OK to finish the process.

Click OK to finish the process.

Also Read: 4 Best Apps to Edit PDF on Android

Method 5: Use Online Tools

If you do not want to download any software or use Adobe Acrobat, then you can simply, use online tools to reduce PDF file size without losing quality. You just need to search the internet for such tools & upload your file. It will be compressed in no time. Thereafter, you can download it for further use. You can search for online PDF compressing tools in any web browser and you will find a lot of options. Smallpdf and Best PDF are the most popular ones.

Note: We have used Smallpdf as an example here. Smallpdf offers a 7-day free trial if you are a first-time user. You can also use the paid version for more options and tools.

1. Go to the Smallpdf webpage.

2. Scroll down to view Most Popular PDF tools and choose the Compress PDF option.

Choose the Compress PDF option. How to Reduce PDF File Size without losing Quality

3. Select a file from your device by clicking on CHOOSE FILES button as shown.

Note: Alternatively, You can drag and drop the PDF file in the red colored box.

Select a file from your device by clicking on Choose file. How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

4. If you want to compress your file slightly, then choose Basic Compression, or else choose Strong Compression.

Note: The latter would require a paid subscription.

choose Basic Compression, or else choose Strong Compression.

5. After you have made your choice, your file will be compressed. Click on Download to download the compressed PDF file.

download the compressed pdf file. How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

Method 6: Use In-built Compressor on Mac

If you are a Mac user, you are lucky because Mac comes pre-installed with an inbuilt PDF compressor to reduce PDF file size. Using the Preview App, you can reduce PDF file size and replace the original file with the new one.

Note: Make sure to copy your file before reducing its size.

1. Launch Preview App.

2. Click on File > Export To > PDF, as illustrated below.

Select Export To from this list and click on Word. How to Reduce PDF File Size Without Losing Quality

2. Rename the file as you wish and click Save to save the compressed file at the desired location.

Also read: Electronically Sign PDF Documents Without Printing And Scanning Them

Pro Tip: When you want to make a consolidated PDF file from different PDFs, you do not need to take a printout and then scan those. Different PDF files can be combined into one file electronically as well. You can either use Adobe or the options available online. PDF combined electronically will consume lesser space than the PDF made by scanning physical copies of documents.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How do I reduce the size of a PDF?

Ans. There are a lot of options to reduce the size of PDF, but the easiest & most commonly used is Adobe Acrobat Pro. As most people use Adobe Acrobat to read PDFs, so this method will be feasible to use. Follow the above Method 2 to reduce PDF file size in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Q2. How do I reduce the size of a PDF so that I can email it?

Ans. If your PDF is too large to mail, you can either use Adobe Acrobat or online tools to compress it. Online tools like Smallpdf, ilovepdf, etc are very easy and quick to use. You just need to search for online PDF compression tools, upload your file and download it, when done.

Q3. How do I reduce the size of a PDF file for free?

Ans. All the methods mentioned in this article are free. So, you can opt for Adobe Acrobat (method 3) for Windows PC and an inbuilt PDF compressor (method 6) for MacBook.

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We hope that this guide was helpful and you were able to reduce pdf file size without losing quality on both, Windows & Mac. Let us know which method worked for you the best. If you still have any queries regarding this article, then feel free to ask them in the comments section.

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Pete Mitchell

Pete is a Senior staff writer at TechCult. Pete loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has a decade of experience writing how-tos, features, and technology guides on the internet.

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