PDF comes from Portable Document Format and is one of the most popular types of electronic document formats nowadays. The reason behind this popularity stands in the fact that you can send a PDF file to anyone, without worrying if they can read it properly (the layout of the page is preserved).
PDF is so wide-spread that you don’t need a special app or piece of software to open it. It’s enough to have a modern browser (such as Mozilla or Chrome). Still, if you want to edit it or make sure you view it the right way, it helps to have a PDF reader installed.
In short, PDF is the one file format we can’t live without nowadays. You’ll work with such files in school (eBooks, school lessons, essays you write), in college, at work (business proposals, blueprints, how-tos), and basically any social situation that requires an electronic document.
Now, given that PDFs are so easy to send back and forth online, you may have to compress some of them. After all, most email clients have a size limit for attachments and the same is valid for messenger apps. Not to mention that compression also helps with storage (especially if you’re using the free Google Drive version)!
As such, today we’ll take a look at the process of compressing a PDF file and how to make sure your files are always in good hands.
Size vs. Quality
The main reason people compress PDF files (or any files for that matter) is to reduce the size and make it easier to send them via email or other online channels. However, you also have to pay attention to quality – not every small PDF file will keep its structure and elements, so it’s best to use a tool that won’t favor size over quality.
As such, you should compress a PDF file with a tool that allows you to choose the type of compression you want. Here are some of the options that matter the most:
- Compress images as well – when you have a PDF with lots of images, it will get quite big in the end. However, if you want to keep it professional and visually appealing, it’s best to keep the quality of the images intact.
- How to compress images – some tools allow users to specify just how much compression there should be on the images (high, medium, low, or custom).
How Does Compression Work?
Before you can decide what type of compression you want, it’s important to understand what happens during the process. In short, each compression tool uses a specific algorithm to identify and eliminate redundancies, find patterns, and highlight areas that can be shrunk without damaging too much the quality of the original. For images and other graphic materials (like PDF files), this means a recreation of the original at a smaller resolution (fewer pixels).
Furthermore, once a file is compressed, you may not be able to return it to its original state (unless you keep a backup). So, before you do any compression, it’s highly recommended to backup your files!
Free vs. Paid Tools
Nowadays it’s enough to run a simple Google search and you’ll find a wide array of free compression tools. But should you use them?
We all know the price we pay for the so-called free apps we love to use. So, would it be safe for a business to use a free online compression tool?
Well, it depends on the tool. You should always look for tools that promise to respect your privacy and have an automatic delete sequence in place. This means that, after compression, all the files you uploaded will be deleted (which is why backup is important).
In summary, there are safe-to-use online tools out there – you just need to find the right one.