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How to resize a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro in 3 easy steps

How to resize a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro in 3 easy steps


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Available for Mac and Windows, Adobe Acrobat Pro is a powerful platform for managing your PDF files. However, the sheer number of features can be overwhelming at first. While a simple task such as resizing a PDF only takes three steps, you’ll need to know where to look. Luckily, resizing your documents is very easy once you do.

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This guide will help you navigate the list of options with Adobe Acrobat Pro so that you can quickly reduce the size of your PDFs at any time. Due to the tendency for PDFs to grow in size to the point where transferring the files becomes difficult, the ability to shrink the footprint of your documents is crucial when it comes time to send.

How to unlock the PDF resizing feature

To unlock the PDF resizing feature, you must first acquire Adobe Acrobat Pro. PDF resizing is not available in Adobe Reader. If you only have a handful of PDFs to resize, you can take advantage of Acrobat Pro’s weeklong free trial period. Otherwise, the monthly subscription plan is perfect for when you intend on managing numerous documents for the foreseeable future. Once you have Adobe Acrobat Pro activated, you are ready to start the resizing process.

  1. Selecting the files to resize

    Click on optimize PDF to begin the process.

    Upon opening Adobe Acrobat Pro, you will see a menu of options for how to manage your documents. Click on the optimize PDF button to open up a file selector. Navigate to the PDF you wish to resize, and click on it to open the file in the optimization view. This optimization tab allows you to make all the edits you need to previously locked PDF documents.

  2. Make your resizing edits

    Reduce file size from this drop-down menu.

    With the file open, there are two ways to access the resizing menus. Both take you to the same place, so use whichever one you prefer. The first method is as simple as clicking the resize PDF button on the optimize toolbar near the top of the screen. Alternatively, you can click on the document menu tab and select the resize PDF link from the list of options in the drop-down menu that appears.

    Adobe Acrobat Pro resizes your document by compressing the various elements that make up your PDF. In the next step, you will learn how to customize which elements get compressed and to what degree. This allows you to maintain file quality where you need it most while cutting back on the areas that won’t garner much attention.

  3. Use advanced options to determine which elements get compressed

    Use this screen to adjust what you want compressed.

    The screen that opens as a result of step two lists all the options you need to shrink your document. You can compress images, downsample colors, optimize text fonts, discard user data, or run a general cleanup to reduce every element equally. Finally, there is the discard objects panel. Clicking this panel reveals a whole host of advanced features to disable. If your PDF has extra bells and whistles, such as JavaScript prompts, you can disable them here. You can also flatten form fields or disable all alternate images in the document. For large files that have trouble displaying in the file browser, you can also discard embedded page thumbnails so that they do not waste time loading in.

    After making your choices, be sure to check the box labeled optimize images only if there is a reduction in size to ensure your image quality is not lost during compression. It is best to automate the balancing act between image shrinking and quality retention with this option.

Getting the most out of Adobe Acrobat Pro

The pro version of Adobe Acrobat allows you to do so much more than compressing your PDF file sizes. Now that you have an active trial or subscription, consider learning how to take advantage of the additional features you unlocked. One of the first features you should learn is how to enable password protection for your most sensitive documents. Adding a passcode to the file itself is a surefire way to avoid having your confidential data stolen.



Ever since his brother brought home the original PlayStation, Doug Fakler knew he would be a gamer for the rest of his life. He has been glued to the screen with a controller in hand for over 20 years. While he will always acknowledge that gameplay is king, he's equally interested in the stories that can be told through interactive means. This inspired him to earn a bachelor's degree in Game Design from Full Sail University in 2015.

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