4 Tips for Optimizing Your PDFs for Use on the Internet

by Josh Biggs in Software on 29th November 2019

Learn how to Compress and Optimize Your PDFs

The PDF file format is the ultimate tool for document sharing. It is a great way to ensure that a file’s formatting is maintained between different viewing programs and devices. This is achieved because PDF files self-contain their formatting data. Most file types need a specific program to render them on the screen. Therefore, they can rely on the program to format them properly for human viewing. In this post, you will learn these 4 tips for optimizing PDFs that will help you achieve this. PDFs are designed to be less reliant on this setup and contain enough formatting information that they will look the same on every device and program that can open them. However, the drawback of this is that PDFs can be relatively large documents. This isn’t ideal for sharing via the internet, especially if bandwidth is limited. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to optimize PDFs for web viewing. Learn these 4 tips for optimizing PDFs:

1. Save as an Optimized PDF

If you own Acrobat Pro, the simplest way to optimize a PDF for the web is to save it to use Acrobat’s built-in functionality. This is an extremely simple process.

Just open the PDF document, click “File,” then select “Save As Other” and select “Optimized PDF.” This is an alternative way of saving a PDF that is better optimized for web viewing. If you want to get more in-depth, you can edit some of the settings for the PDF optimizer.

For example, you can choose which versions of the PDF format the document will be compatible with. Older versions tend to need smaller files but have fewer features. You can also change settings for image, font and transparency optimization. High-quality images, complex fonts, and transparent sections require larger, less-optimized files.

2. Compress the PDF

If you don’t have Acrobat or don’t want to go through the process of resaving your file, compress your PDF using an online tool. This is a fast, free and effective way to reduce the size of a PDF.

You can even edit your PDF while you are at it. Want to compress your document but also add a watermark before sharing? No problem.

Reducing the size of your PDF document makes it easy to share on the internet more smoothly. Compression also maintains a high-quality file. You can consider converting to an image file for even easier online sharing.

3. Save as a PostScript File Then Convert Back

A slightly more complex way of optimizing a PDF file is to save it as a PostScript file then convert that back to a PDF. While this is less preferable compared to the first two methods mentioned, it is compatible with earlier versions of Acrobat than saving an optimized PDF.

The process is fairly simple. Just open the PDF in Acrobat Pro and click “File” then “Save As.” From the options, choose the PostScript file format with the .ps file extension. In Acrobat, select “Create PDF” then “From File.” In the popup, select the PostScript file. This will create a new, smaller PDF file.

It is a workaround solution that is generally unnecessary. However, if you can’t access an online compression tool and you have an older version of Acrobat, this can be a useful solution. It is worth noting that this will strip out a lot of the more advanced functionality of the PDF as a PostScript file is a type of image and text data.

4. Set Compression to Smallest File Size

For an even more optimized version of the above PostScript solution, you can change the Acrobat settings to make the smallest possible PDF. Click “Edit” then select “Preferences.” In that menu, select the “Convert To PDF” category and the “PostScript/EPS” option. Click “Edit Settings” then pick “Smallest File Size” from the popup window for the Adobe PDF settings.

This will further optimize converting a PostScript file into a PDF to make the file as small as possible. The result can be a file that is about a tenth of the size of the original.

The Value of Optimization

Optimizing a PDF file makes it easier to share on the internet. With modern connections speeds, it likely isn’t often necessary for a single-page document. However, if you have a large document, it can make opening it in a browser much faster. Files with dozens or hundreds of pages really benefit from optimizing and compression. So, the next time you need to share online, remember these 4 tips for optimizing PDFs.

Categories: Software