4 Ways To Reduce The Size Of A PDF File

Ads by Google

reduce pdf file sizeLately, I’ve been trying to scan my class notes and handouts, and transfer some e-textbooks so I can view them on my Kindle to save myself carrying too much in my backpack. This is something that Calibre could help convert easily to ebook reader-friendly formats, but the resulting PDF files are often huge, have several pages and thus, take sometime to load and smoothly display things. This is especially true for my Logic textbook, which is about 180MB.

So in my desperate search for ways to optimize PDF files, I’ve found that there aren’t many free options. Although there are a lot of shareware programs, there are also, thankfully, a few free programs can help you reduce a PDF file size.

Irfanview & GhostScript [Windows & Possibly Linux]

If you don’t have Irfanview, you should really consider downloading it. It’s a much better and lightning fast alternative to the default image viewer in Windows, supports countless plugins that allow it to be extremely versatile, and converts images to different file types. You can use it to add borders and watermarks to your photos, and batch process many images at a time. You can also view PDF files, provided you download GhostScript first.

Once you have Ghostscript installed, you can use Irfanview (portable version will work as well) to view PDF files and save them as new files. You’ll get a box on the right of the Save As dialog to choose compression levels.

reduce pdf file size

You can choose to save with lossless, best, high, medium, and ‘dump’ quality. In my tests, Irfanview reduced a 14MB PDF file to 8MB using the high-quality setting in Compression, while the lossless and best quality settings produced files bigger than the original size.

reduce pdf size

PrimoPDF [Windows]

PrimoPDF is a desktop application that allows you to create PDF files from image files and documents.

reduce pdf size

It installs itself as a virtual printer, which makes optimizing PDF files a matter of opening the files and printing them with PrimoPDF, though you can also drag and drop documents to the PrimoPDF desktop shortcut. From there, you’ll get a dialog box, where you can choose the document quality.

Ads by Google

reduce pdf size

For the smallest file size, choose the Screen setting. Pressing Create PDF starts the conversion.

Free PDF Compressor (version 1.12) [Windows]

how to reduce size of pdf document

This program is now shareware but the link provided leads to the last freeware version. It is pretty much just an executable that does a decent job at reducing PDF file sizes. In my tests, this program managed to reduce a 50MB PDF file to 45MB, with the maximum compression level, at an impressive speed (almost instant conversion).

Neevia’s PDFCompress [Web-Based]

reduce pdf file size

PDFCompress is a simple web app that takes any PDF files smaller than 5MB and compresses them according to the presets you chose (low, medium, high and maximum). Maximum compression means the quality will be approximately a 10 in a scale of 100. In my test with a 3MB file and maximum compression, the optimized file was about 9% smaller, with no visible quality loss.

how to reduce size of pdf document

I should also mention PDF ReDirect which is another Windows-only PDF printer that lets you optimize and rotate PDF files, which we previously reviewed here.

What free software do you use to reduce PDF file size? Let us know in the comments!

Ads by Google
Comments (18)
Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.