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How to Reduce PDF Size Manually on Windows/Mac/Online

Jane Zhou updated on Apr 29, 2021 to PDF Editor Tutorials

PDF is a great format to save and share both professional and personal documents. If you create a PDF, you might have faced this situation where your PDF has turned out way too big. This is especially the case with PDFs that use a lot of images. Your email provider might prevent you from sending large PDF files and this causes a huge inconvenience.

Luckily, most major platforms allow you to reduce PDF size manually. This way, you can decrease the size of PDF without having much effect on the quality of the PDF. This is a great way to make your files compatible with various file-sharing services.

Reducing the size of a PDF is fairly easy on all the major platforms out there. In this guide, we will take a look at some of the methods on how to reduce PDF size offline and online.

Part 1. How to Reduce PDF Size Offline on Windows

While Windows has several tools to let you open and edit your PDF files, there do not seem to be many tools for compressing your PDF files. However, that is not to say you do not have any tools at all to reduce your PDF files' size. In this part, we will show you two methods.

1. EaseUS PDF Editor

As the name indicates, it is a PDF editing software that helps you modify your PDF files by cropping, merging, splitting, adding or removing items as your liking. Because of the various import and output file formats, you also can regard it as the best PDF converter to change your PDF document format with a few simple clicks. 

Moreover, it has the ability to help you decrease the file size when the PDF is too large to share. No matter you are working or studying, this all-in-one PDF editor can simplify your life to some degree. Now let's take a look at how to reduce the PDF size with EaseUS PDF compressor:

Step 1. Click "Open Files..." to import your PDF document.

Import PDF files

Step 2. Choose the "Compress" tab in the top toolbar, then click "Reduce File Size..." in the drop-down menu.

Reduce PDF size

Step 3. Select the folder to save your compressed PDF file and click "OK".

Save compressed PDF

2. Free PDF compressor

Free PDF Compressor is one of the apps you can use on your Windows PC to shrink your PDF files and save your storage space.

This tool comes with a nice compact interface that enables you to add your PDF files, specify the compression options, and then get the resulting PDF that is way smaller than the original PDF file.

Reduce PDF size on Windows

How to use Free PDF Compressor to reduce PDF size:

Step 1. Open the Free PDF Compressor on your PC once it is installed. Then click the "Browse" button next to "PDF File" and select the PDF on your computer.

Step 2. Once your PDF is added, click the "Browse" button next to "Output File" and choose the folder where you want to save the reduced-size PDF file. This can be any folder on your computer or on your external drives.

Step 3. Under the "Settings" section, you can specify how you want to compress your PDF file. There are several options to choose from, with each offering its own advantages. Select the one that applies to your situation.

Step 4. Finally, click the "Compress" button at the bottom to start reducing the size of your PDF file. 

Part 2. How to Decrease the Size of PDF on Mac

If you are a macOS user, you have both built-in as well as third-party methods to reduce the size of PDF files on your computer. You can use any of the methods that you think are convenient for you.

Tool 1. Preview

One of the many advantages of using a Mac is that your computer comes preloaded with several useful apps. One of these apps is Preview and it enables you to both read as well as modify your PDF files. Using an option in this app, you can actually shrink the size of your PDF files on your Mac. This option is fairly easy to find and use, and your task will be done in no time.

While using this method to compress your PDF files, keep in mind that your resulting PDF files might not be as high quality as your original files. However, all your PDF files will be readable even after compressing them.

Compress PDF file using Preview

How to reduce the PDF size with Preview:

Step 1. Launch a Finder window and navigate to the folder where your PDF is saved. Once you find it, right-click your PDF and select the option that reads "Open With" followed by "Preview". Your PDF should now open on your Mac.

Step 2. When you see your PDF in Preview, click the "File" menu at the top and choose "Export". This helps you export a reduced file size version of your PDF file.

Step 3. On the following screen, choose "PDF" from the "Format" dropdown menu, select "Reduce File Size" from the "Quartz Filter" dropdown menu, choose a folder to save your file in, and click the "Save" button.

Tool 2. Terminal

The Terminal on macOS is a boon for those who prefer using command-line tools to perform their tasks. If you like commands and you would like to use one to reduce the size of your PDF, we have some good news for you. There is a free utility called ImageMagick that you can install on your Mac, and then use it from within the Terminal to shrink your PDF files.

This is a great way to compress your PDFs without actually having to open them in any PDF viewer. You simply need to type commands in the Terminal and that gets the job done for you. Plus, everything is free so you do not need to spend a single penny on anything.

How to reduce pdf size using terminal

How to shrink PDF files using Terminal:

Step 1. Open the Terminal utility and type the following command to do this. Keep in mind this requires HomeBrew installed on your Mac.

Click to copy

Step 2. Once ImageMagick is installed, you need to go to the folder where your PDF is saved from the Terminal. You can do this using the "cd" command in the Terminal. Simply type "cd" in the Terminal, and then drag and drop the folder of your PDF onto the Terminal. Then, press "Enter".

Step 3. Here comes the actual task of reducing the PDF size. To do this, run the following command replacing "source.pdf" with your current PDF name.

Click to copy

This command will generate a new PDF called "result.pdf". This file will be significantly smaller than the original PDF file that you threw at the tool.

Part 3. How to Reduce PDF Size Manually Online

If you are only looking to compress a single or a few PDF files, you might want to use an online tool so that you do not need to install anything on your computer. There are quite a few web-based apps you can use to significantly reduce the size of your PDF files. Here are some of the tools you can use on the web to reduce the PDF size.

Tool 1. iLovePDF

iLovePDF is one of the online tools that lets you perform a plethora of actions on your PDF files. You can use this web-based app to edit your PDFs as well as compress them using various options on the web. There are no add-ons or extensions you need to install to use this utility. It works from pretty much any modern browser, and you just need to head to the tool's site to start reducing the size of your PDF files.

However, keep in mind that your file is shared with the site's servers. If you have confidential information stored in your PDF files, you might not want to use this method for security reasons.

How to reduce PDF size online:

Step 1. Open a browser on your computer and access the iLovePDF site. When you are there, click the "Select PDF file" button and upload your PDF file. You can add your file from cloud storage as well, if you want.

How to reduce PDF size online

Step 2. Once your PDF is uploaded, the site will offer you various compression options to choose from. On the right of your screen, click the compression that you want to use for your PDF, and then click the "Compress PDF" button at the bottom.

Step 3. Wait while your PDF is compressed. When it is done, click the "Download compressed PDF" button to download the file back to your computer.

Tool 2. Smallpdf

Smallpdf is another tool on the web that lets you compress your PDF files. With this tool, not only can you reduce the size of your PDF files but you can do that pretty quickly. All the compression happens on the server-side and this means your computer resources are never used for the process. The fast servers of Smallpdf ensure your PDF files are reduced without taking longer.

The site says it deletes your files after an hour of you uploading the files. This ensures your privacy is kept and that nobody can access your files on Smallpdf's site.

How to use Smallpdf to reduce the PDF size:

Step 1. Head over to the Smallpdf site using one of your browsers, click the "Choose Files" button, and add the PDF that you want to compress from your computer. 

Reduce PDF file size online with SmallPDF

Step 2. After your file is uploaded, choose a compression option from the options shown on your screen. Unless you are a pro user, click the "Basic compression" option and then click the "Choose Option" button.

Step 3. Once your PDF is compressed, click the "Download" button to save the PDF to your computer. If you want to share this compressed PDF with someone, you can click the share icon to share the link to the PDF.

The Bottom Line

Reducing the PDF size becomes necessary if you want to email a PDF and your file is larger than what your email provider supports. Using the various methods above, you can turn your large PDF files into smaller files, without having a huge impact on the quality of the files.