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How to Decrease PDF Size Online and Offline

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2024-06-25 14:24:26 • Filed to: Compress PDF to Smaller Size • Proven solutions

How to decrease the size of a PDF file? That's a question most of us come across at one time or another in the course of daily official tasks. Did you know that there are actually many different ways to decrease PDF size? You can crop the pages to make them smaller, you can remove all images and other visual content, you can flatten the PDF, and even remove all the metadata from the file to decrease PDF file sizes.

But the best way to do it is to use an online or offline tool that is designed for that purpose. The simple reason for this is that these tools have been tested in a real-world setting by millions of users - or more, depending on what software or web optimization tool we're talking about. That means you're getting a fully tested utility that has worked for others and will definitely work for you.

Part 1: People Always Ask

Q1: Does decreasing PDF size affect the quality of the content?

Mostly, no. Unless you have images that need to be downsampled to smaller sizes to fully optimize the PDF they're in, you won't see any perceivable loss of quality. You might also see some font variations, but that shouldn't happen if those fonts are already embedded in the PDF.

Q2: Is it better to decrease PDF size online or offline - what are some of the good and bad of both?

Online methods are, of course, very convenient because you can do it on any system or device that has an Internet connection and a browser. That gives it the power of mobility, but it also brings a certain amount of risk; your data is exposed to hackers when you upload and download content on the web.

Offline methods, on the other hand, offer greater security since nothing is shared online. Offline tools can also leverage your local system resources in better ways than online utilities. The downside of using desktop tools or mobile apps is that they take up memory and processing resources on your computer or mobile device.

As for which is better, that can only be answered by the user themself. A lot depends on the content of your files, the size, security concerns, lack of access to a specific device, etc. In general, however, the processing of official documentation and other digital assets is best done in a secure, offline environment where you control where your data goes.

Part 2: Top 5 Online Tools to Decrease PDF Size

#1: Wondershare HiPDF

HiPDF is an expansive set of online PDF tools to decrease PDF file size, edit files, convert documents, protect PDF, organize files and pages, unlock PDF, perform OCR, and more. The modules all have dedicated URLs, and it's easy to navigate from the Home page to any tool you want.

In fact, after you deal with the how to decrease PDF file size with the Compress PDF tool, there's a Continue button that reveals a new and relevant menu of tools you can pick from. The compression quality is excellent enough for any online PDF optimizer to be proud of, and using the site is as simple as upload → compress → download. The service is free when you want to process single files under 10MB, and the upgrade only costs about $6 a month on an annual plan.

How to Decrease Size of PDF with HiPDF

Step 1: Upload the file to the HiPDF Compress PDF web page by dropping it from its folder or using the Choose File button

hipdf decrease pdf size

Step 2: After the upload is successful, you'll see a slider with three compression quality options: High, Medium, and Low - the higher the option you pick, the higher the compression level

hipdf compression degree

Step 3: Click on Compress and then Download on the next page - you can also share the size-reduced file online, start over on a new document, or continue with other processes, as mentioned earlier

hipdf download pdf


● Comprehensive suite of PDF tools covering all basic and complex tasks

● Easy navigation to any tool page

● Fast compression with an excellent output quality and compression level

● Up to 83% decrease in PDF size


● Batch Process is locked behind the paywall

● Processing large files will require stable and fast Internet

#2: PDF2Go

PDF2Go offers a relatively more modest suite of tools to convert, compress, edit, and perform other actions on PDF files. The conversion quality is pretty good and there's an option to convert everything to grayscale to save even more file space. It offers Basic compression by default, but you can choose Strong or Custom Presets. Upgrading costs about $6.50 a month on an annual plan but you can use the free version to process up to 5 files of up to 100MB each in a batch.

How to Decrease Size of PDF with PDF2Go

Step 1: Drag and drop the PDF file into the PDF2Go web interface or use the Choose File button

pdf2go decrease pdf size

Step 2: After the import is successful, scroll down below where your file is listed

pdf2go compression degree

Step 3: Set compression levels and other parameters

pdf2go download pdf file

Step 4: Hit Start and wait for the compression process to be completed - click the green Download button to save the file locally - you can also upload it to a cloud storage service or perform other PDF actions


● Generous free limit

● Multiple conversion options

● Good compression quality


● Cluttered interface - ad-supported

● File upload takes a while

#3: Online2PDF

This website is flexible and 100% free but the file size is limited to 100MB. It does allow free users to compress up to 20 files at a time but the total size cannot exceed 150MB. For smaller files and batches that fall within this limit, this is a pretty good way to decrease PDF size online and completely free.

How to Decrease the Size of a PDF with Online2PDF

Step 1: On the Online2PDF PDF compression page, click Select Files to import your documents

online2pdf decrease pdf size

Step 2: Once it's uploaded, scroll down to the compression settings section

online2pdf compression degree

Step 3: Change settings such as quality, resolution, color, and even other parameters like password security and page layout on opening the file

online2pdf download pdf

Step 4: Hit Convert to compress the PDF per your specifications and wait for the download to happen automatically - choose a folder and save the compressed PDF


● Free forever

● Useful compression options and supporting tools

● Can convert PDF to other editable formats such as Word, etc.


● Hard limits on file size and batch total file size and number of files

● No way to upgrade for higher limits

#4: PDF24

PDF24 is quite a popular online PDF services website. It is distributed over the web as a free application and comes with several other useful modules for PDF conversion, editing, security, organizing, etc. Overall, the compression quality is pretty good considering you don't have to pay anything and there are virtually no limits on using the web application.

How to Decrease PDF Size with PDF24

Step 1: Use the Choose Files button in the PDF24 compression URL or drop your files into the browser interface

pdf24tools decrease pdf size

Step 2: Change the compression parameters below the yellow box once the file has been uploaded

pdf24tools compression degree

Step 3: Click on Compress to process the file size reduction

pdf24tools download pdf

Step 4: On the final page, click Download to save the file, or use one of the other PDF tools or options for sharing


● 100% free and unlimited

● Batch compression

● Handles fairly large files well


● Outdated interface

● Compression percentage could be better

#5: Smallpdf

Probably one of the most popular of the online PDF tool family is Smallpdf. As we saw in the case of HiPDF, Smallpdf also offers an extensive array of PDF tools online. The only downside is that much of its power is locked behind the paywall in the PRO version. As such, you can only do basic compression of two PDF files for free per day. Upgrading to PRO starts at a relatively expensive $9 a month paid annually.

How to Decrease PDF Size Online with Smallpdf

Step 1: Click the Choose Files option on the Smallpdf Compress PDF page or drop your file in the designated area

smallpdf decrease pdf size

Step 2: Select the Basic compression option on the next page and click Compress at the bottom

smallpdf compression degree

Step 3: You can now download the file, export it in a different format, share it with others, and perform various other functions

smallpdf download pdf


● Well-known utility

● Reasonable compression quality with the free version

● Fast compression


● Uploads are slow for free users

● No advanced compression in the free version

Part 3: Offline Tools to Decrease PDF File Size

The Wondershare PDFelement family of PDF editors for Windows, Mac, and iOS represents a unified solution to handle PDF workflows on diverse device types - desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet, hybrid 2-in-1, etc. It is a true multi-platform PDF solution with compression, editing, conversion, and a whole lot of useful PDF tools. The best part is that the desktop products are integrated with Wondershare PDFelement Cloud, which is a cloud storage solution, electronic signature platform, and collaborative annotations utility bundled into one.

#6: PDFelement for Windows

Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor is a professional PDF editor with features that very closely match the market leader, Adobe Acrobat DC. Available in Standard and Pro options, PDFelement is versatile, affordable, and extremely user-friendly. It simplifies handling complicated PDF tasks to the point where anyone with little or no experience can perform practically any task on a PDF file.

How to Use PDFelement for Windows to Decrease the Size of PDFs

Step 1: Import a PDF into PDFelement - many methods work: drag and drop, click the Open Files button on the home page, or even double-click a file if PDFelement is your default PDF editor

decrease pdf size

Step 2: Click the Tool tab and then click Compress PDF

decrease pdf file size

Step 3: In the pop-up, select the compression level and hit Apply

Step 4: Save the compressed PDF file to a local drive with a different name for easy identification (File → Save As)

Another Way to Decrease PDF Size Manually

There is another option. As a PDF editor, you can use it to decrease PDF size manually. That means you can edit text, images, pages, and more, and reduce PDF size.

Remove unwanted texts:

Start by removing unwanted text and editing text size, font, and style. Go to the "Edit" section in the toolbar. Click on the "Edit" switch icon on the top right. You can edit the text in Line mode or Paragraph mode. The latter is by entire paragraphs.

decrease pdf size online

Remove unnecessary images:

Next on the line are images. If your document has a lot of images, you need to reduce their size or remove unnecessary objects and images. Again, go to the "Edit" section, and click the edit button. Right-click on any image to edit it. You can delete an image if needed. To reduce the size of the image, click on any corner, and drag your mouse inwards.

pdf file decrease

Crop PDF pages:

Now let's move on the pages. Page boxes are the visible area of your entire PDF file. You can adjust the visible area using the "Page Boxes" tool. Crop them to create consistency within your file. Some pages have a more visible area; others have a less visible area. Go to the "Pages" section, and click on "Page Boxes." It is the first icon on the left. Here, you can crop the pages, change the page size, and more. All these measures will decrease the PDF file size manually.

decrease pdf file size online

Now, let's talk a bit about PDFelement. This feature-rich software has a familiar Office-inspired design and user interface. This makes the software easy to use, even for novice users. If you have ever used Office software anytime, you will handle it easily. As a great alternative to Adobe Acrobat, PDFelement comes with a much more affordable price.

What makes this software stand out is the design, simplicity of use, and features. Speaking of the features, we touched the topic with the option to decrease PDF size. But what more can you do? You can edit the text within your document, change style, font, size, or remove text using line and paragraph mode.

  • Rotate images, crop images, extract images, and more edits with images and graphical objects.
  • Convert PDF into a number of formats, including Epub, RTF, HTML, and Office formats.
  • Auto recognizes and creates fillable forms.
  • Extract data and export it directly into the CSV file.
  • Create and apply a digital signature.
  • Protect your documents with a 256-encryption password.
  • Advanced OCR function to transfer scanned and image-based PDF into editable texts.

#7: PDFelement for Mac

The compression process in PDFelement for Mac uses a similar compression method but the interface is different in order to make it more native to the macOS environment. Cloud access is integrated, and you can download from the cloud, save to the cloud, or send an open document for electronic signature collection using the power of Wondershare PDFelement Cloud.

How to Use PDFelement for Mac to Decrease the Size of a PDF

Step 1: Upload the file by clicking Open on the home page or the other methods described for the Windows version

create pdf on mac

Step 2: Click the File menu and go down to Save as Other - in that contextual menu, select Compress PDF

save as and compress pdf

Step 3: Choose the compression level preset you want and click Save As to compress the file and open Finder - choose a location and hit Save in the Finder dialog

optimize pdf on mac

#8: PDFelement for iOS

The iPad and iPhone edition of PDFelement is a slick and powerful tool to edit PDFs, organized pages and files, annotate documents, protect files, and so on. The iOS-friendly interface is intuitive and any operation can be performed with just a few taps.

How to Use PDFelement for iOS to Decrease PDF File Size

Step 1: Click the + symbol to import a file from your local device memory - you can also import a photo and convert it to PDF before compressing it

import pdf to pdfelement

Step 2: Tap the ellipsis icon (three dots …) on the top right and then select Reduce File Size

decrease pdf size on pdfelement for ios

Step 3: In the pop-up, choose the compression level and tap Save as Optimized PDF to save it to a local folder on your iPhone or iPad

Part 4: Final Thoughts on How to Decrease PDF Size Based on End-usage

Compression is a very important consideration, and your prime concern must be how the output file will be used. For web use, high compression in PDFelement or HiPDF is recommended because the quality will still remain adequate for web consumption. On the other hand, if you just want to make it easier to share, use the medium compression level so the quality of images, etc. is retained even for physical printing.

For large outdoor printing and other advertising uses, use either the low compression level or don't compress the file at all. You can easily upload high-resolution PDFs to Wondershare PDFelement Cloud and share it with the designer or printer without having to compress it. As such, the multi-terminal PDFelement and Wondershare Cloud give you a holistic solution to compress, edit, annotate, secure, and share files freely with your online collaborators.

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Buy PDFelement right now!

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Elise Williams

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