How to reduce the PDF file size in Adobe Acrobat Pro

By |Published On: April 20th, 2017|Categories: Business|

Big PDF files can be difficult to work with, especially online: the upload, download and page loading can take a long time. It can be annoying for you and for your PDF viewers, so you should do something about that. The best idea is to make a web-optimized PDF right when you export the file from InDesign or other tool that you might be using. However, if you didn’t make the PDF yourself, you can still do something about the file size: compress it using Adobe Acrobat Pro or an online tool (you have plenty of options, some listed here)

By following the steps below you will reduce the PDF file size (compression) without distortions or cropping. You will get a quality PDF for web. If you plan to print it out, we recommend you to send the original PDF.

Let’s get started!

  1. Open your file in Adobe Acrobat Pro
  2. Go to File > Save as other > Optimized PDF


Check the audit for space usage to see an analysis of your PDF, with all the elements that are used in your file. You’ll find the audit request button at the top right side of the popin.


Images are often in a higher resolution that necessary, so they are going to slow down all the PDF-related processes. If images are a big part of your document, you need to start by fixing their size.

You can see above the default options in the PDF Optimizer. If you keep these settings, you should be fine. But let’s explain the terminology.

Downsample – to lower the resolution of images by merging some pixels into larger pixels.

PPI – pixels per inch; how many pixels should be displayed per inch of screen space.

Compression – file size reduction made through eliminating unnecessary pixel data. JPEG and JPEG 2000 are both great compression options for photography.

Quality – The Medium quality is recommended for the JPEG compression, as this will not bloat the file size, but it will render a good image quality for your web PDF.

Don’t forget to click ok when you finish.


Another thing that you should do to your PDF is to enable the Fast web view. It will load each page at a time, rather than the entire PDF at once, resulting in much quicker loading. You can check this option by going to AcrobatPreferencesCategories – DocumentsSave as optimizes for Fast Web ViewOK.

fast web view

I hope you found this helpful. Let us know what other Adobe Acrobat Pro tasks you need tutorials for!


  1. abhay June 7, 2018 at 9:40 am - Reply

    thanks for this information, nicely explained with graphics!

  2. Denis January 29, 2019 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    I just want to say thank you for taking your time to write this…this page should be #1 on Google but I found an article that was written in 2009 by Adobe.

  3. Corrina March 26, 2019 at 12:32 am - Reply

    I came across your article in desperate need to find some answers to reduce a file size pdf for printing. I’m super new at this & created my printable in Illustrator, following many tutorials to export. It does have images and some text. But I cannot upload document to my selling platform as it’s too large (47mb). I need to get down to at least 20mb. I tried to just the reduce size in Adobe (using the free trial for now) and Optimize tool. Nothing seems to be working. What am I missing??

    • Jani March 28, 2019 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Corrina, so sorry to hear about your problem. I would think that images are most likely the problem. Since I don’t have access to your PDF it is impossible to give you very specific instructions on how to re-save your images and re-export, but the first step would be taking at look at the individual size of each image used in your PDF, and try to work on that first.

  4. Mary Soto May 11, 2019 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Hi, Jani. Thanks for taking the time for making this tutorial, really appreciated. I used to reduce my PDF file size with Acethinker PDF Converter, it works fairly well for me. Share it here as an alternative to adobe acrobat pro.

    • Jani May 17, 2019 at 11:31 am - Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion. Our readers will certainly appreciate it.

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