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PDFs are a popular way to share documents. They keep the design and layout of your pages. But, sometimes, PDF files get big. This can be a problem. Big files take up much space on your computer. They can also be hard to send to friends or coworkers. You might wonder, "Why are my PDFs so big?" Well, there are a few reasons. Pictures, fonts, and formatting can all add to the size.

This article will help you understand why this happens. We'll also show you ways to make your PDFs smaller. By the end, you'll know how to fix the issue. This means you can save space and share files easily.

In this article
    1. High-Resolution Images
    2. Embedded Fonts
    3. PDF Creation Software
    4. Additional Reasons
    1. Compress PDF
    2. Split PDF
    3. Resize PDF Pages
    4. Subset Fonts
    5. Zip a Large PDF File
    6. Remove Unnecessary Elements
    7. Reduce Image Resolutions
  1. How To Avoid Creating a Large PDF

Part 1. Why Is My PDF So Big?

Have you ever wondered why some PDFs are so big? It can be not very pleasant. Big PDFs take up much space and are hard to send. Let's dive into why this happens and what makes a PDF file grow.

1. High-Resolution Images

When we put pictures into PDFs, the clearer and more detailed they are, the bigger the PDF gets. High-resolution images are like packing your backpack with lots of heavy books. They make the PDF file much bigger because they have so many details.

2. Embedded Fonts

Some PDFs include the entire font family - every style and weight (like bold or italic) - so the words look right on any computer. But this is like packing too much. It takes up much space.

3. PDF Creation Software

When you make a PDF, the software you use matters a lot. Some software packs everything tightly, making the file smaller. Others don't pack things as tightly, which can make your PDF bigger. Also, newer versions of these programs are often better at making smaller files. They have new tools and settings that help keep the size down.

So, the type of software you use and how new it is can change how big your PDF turns out.

4. Additional Reasons

Besides pictures and fonts, other sneaky things can make PDFs big. Layers are like having different pictures and texts stacked on each other. They add more details but also make the file heavier. Bookmarks help you jump to different parts quickly, but they also add some weight. Comments are like little notes you leave for yourself or others. They're helpful but also take up space.

Even if you can't see these things immediately, they're like hidden stuff in your PDF that makes it bigger. Remembering this when you're wondering why your PDF file is so large is important.

Part 2. Solutions for PDF Is Too Large

Now that we know why PDFs can get so big let's talk about how to make them smaller. There are some easy tricks to help with this. We'll explore how to shrink those big PDF files to a more manageable size. This way, saving and sharing them becomes much easier. Let's dive into the solutions.

Compress PDF

Making your big PDF files smaller can be simple. Let's look at two ways: using PDFelement and HiPDF online.

With PDFelement


First, open PDFelement on your computer. Pick the big PDF file you want to make smaller and open it.


Look for a button that says "Compress" and click it.

compress pdf

Next, you'll see options for how much you want to compress the file. You can pick to make it 100KB, 200KB, or 500 KB. The more you compress, the smaller the file. After choosing, click "Apply."

compress custom settings

In just a few moments, your PDF will be smaller. PDFelement will show you how much smaller it is now. You can click "Open" to see the compressed file.

Using HiPDF Online


Go to HiPDF's website and find the tool to compress PDFs.

hipdf compress

Upload your PDF by selecting it from your computer.


Once your file is uploaded, you can choose how much to compress it. There are different levels of compression. After picking one, press "Compress."

select compress size

Wait a bit, and HiPDF will shrink your file. When it's done, you can download the smaller PDF right away.

download compressed pdf

Both of these methods are pretty easy and don't take much time. Whether you use PDFelement on your computer or HiPDF online, you can make your PDF files easier to handle.

Split PDF

Splitting a big PDF into separate pages can be easy with a tool like PDFelement. Here's how you can do it:


Start by opening PDFelement on your computer.


There's a button that says "OpenFiles." Click on it. Find the PDF you want to split and open it.

open pdfelement

Now, look for the "Page" tab. It's up at the top.


Under this tab, you'll find a "Split" option. Clicking on "Split" opens a new window.

split page

If you want each page to be a separate file, choose "1 Page per File." This is under the "Split by number of pages" choice. You can also split by the size of the files or by bookmarks.


Each page will now be its file. To see your new files, click on "OpenFolder."

save pdf page

That's it! You've split a large PDF into individual pages, making each one its file. This is handy for organizing documents or sharing specific pages without sending the whole file.

Resize PDF Pages

Resizing PDF pages to a different size is simple with PDFelement. Here's how you can adjust the page size:


First, make sure you have PDFelement installed. Open it and click the “Openfiles” icon.


Select the PDF you want to resize and upload it.


Once your PDF is open, click “Organize” at the top. Find and click “Size.”

pdfelement organize tab

Select “FixedSize” and pick A4 or another size. You can choose to resize all pages by selecting “AllPages.”

pdfelement resize pdf pages

For a specific size, click “Custom” to set your desired width and height.


Click the “Apply” icon. Your PDF pages are now resized as you wanted.

pdfelement customize pdf pages size

This method is great for getting your PDF pages to the size you need, whether printed in a standard size or custom dimensions.

Subset Fonts

When you subset fonts in a PDF, you only include the parts of the document's font, not the entire font set. This means only those are included if your document only uses a few letters or characters from a specific font. This can significantly reduce the file size because fonts, especially complex ones, can take up much space. It's smart to keep your PDF looking good without making the file too big.

Zip a Large PDF File

Zipping a PDF makes it smaller by compressing its data. It's like packing your clothes into a suitcase and then squeezing out all the air to make it as compact as possible. When you zip a PDF, the computer does something similar with your file's data, making it take up less space.

This is useful for storing or sharing large PDFs because it makes them easier to handle without removing any content.

Remove Unnecessary Elements

Look through your PDF for things you don't need. This could be extra images, text, or even hidden objects you forgot about. Deleting these can make your PDF smaller and cleaner. It's like cleaning out a closet; removing the stuff you don't use means more space for what matters. Plus, it can make your PDF faster to open and easier to share.

Reduce Image Resolutions

Lowering the quality of images in your PDF can make the file smaller. High-resolution images look great but can make files huge. By reducing their resolution, the images take up less space. You can do this with most PDF editing tools. Remember, the goal is to find a balance where the images still look good enough for their purpose, but don't bloat your file. It's a practical step for managing file size without removing visual elements completely.

Part 3. How To Avoid Creating a Large PDF

Creating a PDF that's not too big from the start can save you much hassle. Here are some tips to keep your PDFs lean without losing their quality:

  • Convert to Other Formats: Before turning a document into a PDF, consider whether another format like Word or Excel could work. These formats often end up smaller than PDFs.
  • Use PDF Tools: Programs like Adobe Acrobat and PDFelement have tools designed to make PDFs smaller. These tools reduce file size while keeping everything looking good.
  • Choose Lower Image Quality: If your PDF will have images, you don't always need the highest resolution. Lowering image quality a bit can cut down on file size a lot.
  • Clean Up Your Document: Look through your PDF for anything you don't need. This could be extra pages, images, or text. Taking these out makes your PDF simpler and smaller.
  • Go for Vector Graphics: Using vector graphics (like logos and icons) instead of pictures can help keep the file size down. Vector graphics can be resized without losing quality, making PDFs more efficient.
  • Be Careful with Fonts: Some fonts can make a PDF much bigger. You might not need to include the entire font in the PDF. Just include the parts you use, or stick to common fonts that most people have.
  • Stick to Default Settings: When making a PDF, starting with the standard settings can prevent accidentally adding stuff you don't need. It's a good way to avoid making your PDF too big without realizing it.

Following these practices can help you create PDFs that are easier to handle from the beginning, making them better for sharing and storing.


We've examined why PDFs get big and how to make them smaller. Remember, high-quality images, embedded fonts, and how you make the PDF can all add to its size. We shared tips like compressing files, cleaning up unnecessary parts, and choosing the right settings. Try using these ideas to keep your PDFs light and easy to share. And for managing your PDFs, don't forget about tools like PDFelement. They're really helpful for keeping file sizes down. Give these solutions a go and see how much easier it is to handle your PDFs!

People Also Ask

  • 1. Why is my scanned PDF so large?
    Scanning a document to make a PDF is like taking a picture of each page. These pictures, especially in color and high detail, can be big. Scanners often use settings that make very clear and detailed images. While great for quality, your PDF is large because it's full of these big images. It's like having a book where each page is a heavy, detailed photo.
  • 2. How do I reduce PDF file size without losing resolution?
    PDFelement is a handy tool for making PDFs smaller without making them look bad. It has a special feature that lets you compress your PDF. This means it makes the file size smaller while keeping the pictures and text looking good. It works by adjusting the details of images and text just enough to reduce the size but not enough to notice any blurriness or missing parts. It's a smart way to keep your PDFs easy to share and store.
  • 3. How do I resize a PDF without Adobe?
    PDFelement is a great choice for changing PDF sizes without using Adobe. It lets you adjust the size of your PDF pages to something more suitable for your needs. Whether you want to make them fit a standard paper size or a custom dimension, PDFelement can do it. You just open your PDF in PDFelement, choose the "Page Boxes" tool, and set the size you want. It's a straightforward way to tweak your PDF size without needing Adobe's software.
Audrey Goodwin
Audrey Goodwin May 22, 24
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12 years of talent acquired in the software industry working with large publishers. Public speaker and author of several eBooks on technical writing and editing.