#253 Shrink PDF Files

We’ve discussed PDF documents around here before, including some alternatives to the slow, bloated Acrobat Reader and some free, easy tools for “printing” your own PDFs. This week I’d like to share a super simple way that you can reduce the file sizes of almost any PDF by up to 80%. This trick is especially handy if the PDF is too big to email or over some other type of file size limit.

Without getting into any of the boring details, the easiest way to shrink a PDF is to “re-bake” it.

NOTE: This trick assumes that you already have something along the lines of CutePDF Writer installed as a printer on your computer.

How It Works

This works by reducing the resolution, and therefore, the file size of the PDF. This works best with PDFs that contain images. Usually text only PDFs can’t be compressed very much…but sometimes they can so it’s worth a try.

1. Open the Print dialog box via the File menu but select your PDF “printer” instead of your usual printer.

2. Click the Properties… button.

3.. Then click the Advanced button.

4. Find the Graphic – Print Quality option and reduce the DPI setting.

The default is 600dpi but you can safely drop it as low as 72dpi without much trouble. You can experiment to see what works best for you.

Sceenshot for Cute PDF Writer
(Yours may be a bit different.)

Do you have any other PDF questions? Which PDF reader do you use?

3 thoughts on “#253 Shrink PDF Files

  1. Gary Fabian says:

    I have done this on a number of occasions, my only comment is that if you are reading them on a monitor 72dpi is sufficient, but if you need to print them 300dpi is the lowest I would recommend. also if the image has text and OCR is going to be run on it you need at least 300dpi to get good results.


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