June 16, 2024
Learn how to shrink PDF file size with these easy techniques. This article discusses compression techniques for PDF files, the use of online file size reduction tools and software programs, and provides step-by-step guides on using Adobe Acrobat Pro, Foxit PhantomPDF, and Nitro PDF.


PDFs or Portable Document Formats have been widely used for years, given its compatibility across different operating systems. This format has been the choice for eBooks, user manuals, and even business documents. While its popularity is undeniable, PDF file size can sometimes pose a significant challenge. Hence, it is essential to learn how to shrink PDF file size for easy storage, sharing, and management.

In this article, we will be discussing effective techniques and software programs to help you compress PDF files. We will also provide a detailed guide on reducing file size using Adobe Acrobat Pro, Foxit PhantomPDF, and Nitro PDF.

Compression Techniques for PDF Files

PDF files can be quite bulky, mainly if they contain images, videos, and complex formatting. The following compression techniques can help minimize the file size:

Downsampling Images

In a PDF file, images can often be the most significant contributor to the file size. Downsampling images can help to reduce PDF file size significantly. This technique involves reducing the resolution of embedded images. You can downsample by either compressing or decreasing the number of pixels in images embedded in the PDF file.

Optimizing Fonts

PDF files often have embedded fonts, which can add to the file size significantly. Optimizing fonts involves selecting only the necessary fonts and compressing them. This technique can help to remove all unnecessary fonts, resulting in a smaller file size.

Removing Embedded Materials

Embedded materials such as videos, audio, and extra fonts can in some cases, contribute to the bulkiness of your PDF file. Removing these elements can help to reduce the file size of the PDF document.

Use of Online File Size Reduction Tools and Software Programs

Aside from the several compression techniques mentioned, several software tools and programs can help in reducing PDF file size, such as:

Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro is the go-to software for most professionals for editing, creating, and managing PDF files. Adobe Acrobat Pro XI or later version includes the “PDF Optimizer” tool, which delivers excellent compression results.

Foxit PhantomPDF

Foxit PhantomPDF is a comprehensive solution for PDF documents and includes several features like compression and optimization. PhantomPDF’s “Reduce File Size” feature is available to any user with a license to the software.

Nitro PDF

Nitro PDF offers an affordable solution for reducing PDF file size without losing quality. Nitro PDF has several features that cater to PDF management, including file compression and optimization.

Step-by-Step Guide on Using Each of the Software Programs/Tools Mentioned

Adobe Acrobat Pro

1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

2. Click on “File” at the top left corner of the screen.

3. Open the “Save As” option from the drop-down menu.

4. Select “Optimized PDF” from the menu.

5. Select the “Make compatible with” option and choose the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Pro.

6. Select the “Audit Space Usage” option and click “OK.”

7. Review the results and select individual items to optimize or eliminate from the PDF file.

8. Click the “Save” button to save the optimized PDF file.

Foxit PhantomPDF

1. Launch Foxit PhantomPDF on your computer.

2. Open the PDF file by clicking “File” and then “Open.”

3. Select “Reduce File Size” from the “File” menu options.

4. Choose the required quality level as well as the compatibility level.

5. Click the “OK” button.

6. Save the new compressed PDF file to your computer.

Nitro PDF

1. Open Nitro PDF on your computer.

2. Click on “File” and then “Open” and choose the PDF file you want to optimize.

3. Choose the “Optimize Document” option from the “File” menu.

4. Choose the type of optimization required.

5. Select “Settings” to apply specific compression settings if required.

6. Click “Optimize now” to compress the PDF file.

7. Save the new compressed PDF file to your computer.

Tips for Minimizing the Use of Large Images and Scanned Elements

There are several ways to minimize the use of large images and scanned elements that can help in reducing your PDF file size further:

Breaking up Documents into Smaller Files

Breaking up long PDF documents into smaller files can help minimize the use of images and graphics. The file size would be considerably smaller hence easier to share, manage, and store.

Other Ways of Minimizing Scanned Images

Several methods can be used to minimize scanned images’ use, such as:

  • Crop excessive white space:
  • The white space surrounding an image can be cropped to reduce its file size.
  • Adjust the Compression Ratio:
  • The compression ratio of scanned images can be adjusted to help reduce the file size without significantly affecting the image quality.
  • Change Image Format:
  • Change the image format to a low-resolution format such as JPEG or PNG can help reduce the file size of scanned images.


In summary, several techniques can help you reduce PDF file size, including downsampling images, optimizing fonts, and removing embedded materials. Using online file size reduction tools and software programs such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, Foxit PhantomPDF, and Nitro PDF can also assist in lowering PDF file size. Breaking up documents into smaller files and minimizing scanned images can also help in reducing the file size of your PDFs. Try these techniques combined with the software programs mentioned for a more efficient way of managing your PDFs today.

We hope this article has been helpful in providing you the necessary information to shrink PDF file size. Implementing them will undoubtedly help you with your PDF management needs.

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