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How to Reduce PDF Size with Adobe Acrobat

2021-11-29 13:52:17 • Filed to: Comparison of PDF Software • Proven solutions

PDF file size reduction can be done in a number of ways. You can reduce PDF size in Acrobat and other downloadable PDF editors, you can use function-specific tools like PDF compressors, or you can reduce PDF file size online with a web-based application. Using Acrobat to reduce file size is relatively straightforward, but if you're looking for how to reduce PDF file size in Adobe Reader DC - or even an unregistered version of Adobe Acrobat DC or Pro DC - then you're out of luck. Let's first look at how to reduce PDF size in Acrobat during the free trial period or with a registered product. After that, we'll take a quick tour of PDFelement, a totally free solution to minimize and optimize PDFs.

How to Reduce PDF Size with Adobe Acrobat DC

Things can get a little confusing with Acrobat because there are two options to save a PDF file in this particular context: you can either save it as a "reduced size PDF" or as an "optimized PDF". As one professional illustrator puts it, the first option is a "quick and dirty approach." The better way would be to save it as an optimized PDF because it gives you more control over the optimization, downsampling, and other technical parameters, as shown below:

reduce pdf size acrobat
  • 1. After opening the file, in the "Tools" section of Acrobat DC or Acrobat Pro DC, look for the "Optimize PDF" module.
  • 2. Alternatively, you can use the tool menu on the right sidebar, which gives you additional optimization choices.
  • 3. Once you have the PDF Optimizer window on your screen, you can choose the Downsample method, resolution, compression, and quality. You'll also be able to create custom settings and save them for future tasks.
  • 4. Click "OK" when you're done tweaking the settings and wait for the file size reduction to happen. Save your file with a different name to prevent overwriting the original.

How to Reduce PDF Size with Adobe Reader DC for Free

As mentioned in the beginning, you cannot reduce PDF file size with Adobe Reader DC since it is essentially a viewing tool for PDFs. You also can't use Acrobat DC or Pro DC once the free trial period has expired because those become defunct versions that are only suitable for viewing PDFs and doing a few other minor tasks.

One option open to you is to upgrade to a paid subscription, but that's expensive when you don't need any of the other tools. For instance, if you only need a free tool to optimize your weekly newsletter before emailing it to your customers, it doesn't make sense to invest in expensive software.

A better option here would be PDFelement, a premium PDF editor with a very flexible free trial. The free version is virtually unlimited in functionality except for a few small restrictions, such as how large your files can be or how many files you can convert in a single batch. Even if you opt to upgrade and take advantage of all its basic and advanced PDF tools, you'll be paying a fraction of what it costs for a DC or Pro DC license for Acrobat. That's why PDFelement is widely considered as affordable alternatives to Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, respectively.

acrobat reduce file size

If you do upgrade, you can enjoy all the features shown below:

  • Full-fledged PDF editing capabilities that include text, image, object, link, and other PDF components. It also includes the ability to add, change, and remove other content such as headers and footers, text and image watermark backgrounds, embedded media, annotations, and just about anything else.
  • It lets you review, comment on, and annotate PDFs with an impressive range of markup tools like highlighting, sticky notes, text boxes, callouts, shapes, arrows, stamps, and so on.
  • Create PDFs from scratch or use a large template library to get started. You can even create PDFs from more than 300 other file formats, including image files, text-based documents, spreadsheets, slide presentations, HTML, EPUB, and others.
  • Convert PDFs into several different output types based on your requirements. For example, tables can be converted to spreadsheets, graphs can be converted into image files, and so on. The tool is flexible and offers numerous custom options for PDF conversion.
  • Sign PDFs with digital signatures to legally validate a document.
  • To protect PDFs from being viewed, edited, printed, or copied, this software offers strong encryption algorithms that allow you to use passwords to grant access and modification rights for specific users. It can then be shared conveniently via cloud, email or uploaded for web use, making it an ideal collaboration tool for remote work.
  • Forms can be created, filled, or converted from non-editable formats to editable and fillable PDF forms. Additional tools let you import, export, and extract specific data from and to PDF.
  • OCR processing supports 20+ languages to transform scanned PDF to texts.
  • Batch processes include file size reduction, watermark management, OCR, form data extraction, and more.

You can do most of these with the free trial version, and that includes reducing PDF size. The simple steps are outlined in the following section.


How to Reduce PDF Size without Adobe Acrobat

The process here has been tremendously simplified so that new or inexperienced users can work like professionals, thereby increasing their efficiency and overall productivity and throughput.

Step 1. Open a PDF

Open the PDF file in question using one of many ways: use the "Open File…" link on the welcome page, use the "File" menu to import it, or simply drag the PDF over the PDFelement icon or the software window to bring it in.

adobe acrobat reduce file size

Step 2. Resize PDF

Click on "File" and go to "Optimize"; here, you'll see a slider control for selecting output quality and a real-time preview of your final file size after optimization. Once you're comfortable with the quality setting, just hit "Optimize" to reduce the file size. You will be prompted to save the file - modify the name slightly so you maintain the original PDF as-is.

adobe reduce file size

And that's all there is to it - no fussing with raster compression, downsamples, and other technical bits. Compared to most other PDF editors, PDFelement has one of the most user-friendly interfaces in its software segment because of its intuitive and uncluttered design.

Free Download or Buy PDFelement right now!

Free Download or Buy PDFelement right now!

Buy PDFelement right now!

Buy PDFelement right now!


Margarete Cotty

chief Editor

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