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Compressing PDF Files: Everything You Should Know

What Does it Mean to Compress a PDF

Trying to shift between different file formats or compress a PDF file are smaller problems than the challenges faced in a traditional office. For a long time, many businesses, institutions, and corporations faced challenges storing bulky information conveniently. But the advent of technology has seen many get rid of filing cabinets and adopt digital processes. Tech has transformed office processes from the physical documents to electronic records. The most appropriate platform to store documents is on the cloud. And though the cloud is more efficient than cabinets in organizing and storing information, it still has its limitations. Documents that are stored in the cloud include TIFF, JPEG, and uncompressed PDFs. When these documents increase in size, they may take up all the space forcing the cloud storage to reach capacity. When full, there are two options to deal with it:

  • Spend more on buying more storage space
  • Compress the files and create more space without spending a dime

Besides creating more space, there are more reasons to compress a PDF document. Let's first understand PDF compression.

Five Facts about PDF File Compression: What happens When You Compress a PDF?

1. Compressing a file reduces its size. As a result, the file reduction or compression steps will lead to files that a user can store in existing databases without extra storage space.
2. PDF docs are naturally built to enable compression. The file format permits the two major types of document compression: lossless and lossy.

  • Lossy compression focuses on images & graphics and compresses files by getting rid of chunks of data. In the end, the user manages to compress the file but with reduced file quality.
  • Lossless compression reduces file size while preserving its quality. PDF/A (one of the many types of PDFs) is the only format that permits lossless file reduction, upholding document quality.
  • 3. The average compression ratio of PDF is 1/2 for lossy file reductions usable for low or medium quality work. For lossless compressions, the average compression ratio is 1/5.
    4. Compressing PDF files eases the sending of the document while saving on storage. After reduction, most files compress to 1 MB (megabyte) or less.
    5. File compression dates back to the 1990s with Adobe's co-founder John Warnock. Mr. Warnock and his colleague, Camelot, realized that MS-DOS, MAC, and Windows all had their unique way of responding to a file. They realized that opening a Windows file on MS-DOS operator and vice-versa resulted in an incomprehensible output. The team then decided to develop a portable document format to enable users from different operating systems to access the document without hindrances. Now you understand all the facts about PDF compression and the best way to achieve the kind of reduction you need-- whether lossy or lossless. That being said, let's dig deeper into the pros and cons of PDFs to help you make informed decisions concerning file formats.

    The Advantages and Downsides of PDF Documents.

    The Advantages

    1. They are compressible.

    You Can Compress PDF Documents. PDF formats are efficient when it comes to maximizing storage space. Large PDF data files can be compressed into smaller documents making it easier for mailing services. One can compress a PDF file, even if it contains large files with music tracks and images.

    2. They Are More Secure and Private.

    PDF documents are unlike word and excel documents when it comes to security. With Word and Excel, one can easily have access without any barrier. These documents guarantee total privacy and security as they are password-protected. This protection ensures that no one can tamper or access documents without the editor's consent.

    3. One can access PDF files from most devices.

    Today, all the devices run by different operating systems can either download or install PDF tools. Most of the file formats have not yet achieved this universal standard. PDF documents have the versatility to fit into any in operating systems. Downsides

    1. Only the Author Can Edit.

    One can easily edit documents from word or excel. It's quite different from PDF files. PDF files are locked for editing after processing, and only the author can edit a given document. It might frustrate at times when a record requires some additions or corrections.

    2. Smaller Devices Are Not Convenient For PDFs.

    Accessing PDFs in smaller devices like eBook readers and mobile phones is very challenging and hectic. Most people have a problem with reading PDF documents from smaller devices. The pages appear to be too little, making learning a strenuous activity.

    What Should You Know about PDF Development?

    1. What does the acronym "PDF" abbreviate?

    PDF conversion and compression is so far the best way to store documents today in most businesses. It has become part of many companies. PDF compression has made communications and filing systems more accessible. It's not astonishing that most people are not aware of what the acronym PDF abbreviates or even its origin. The acronym PDF stands simply for "Portable Document Format."

    2. The Origins of File Compression.

    File compression dates back to the 1990s with Adobe's co-founder John Warnock. Mr. Warnock and his colleague, Camelot, realized that MS-DOS, MAC, and Windows all had their unique way of responding to a file. They realized that opening a Windows file on MS-DOS operator and vice-versa resulted in an incomprehensible output. The team then decided to develop a portable document format to enable users from different operating systems to access the document without hindrances. These developments led to the creation of a reading format called PDF. After a few years, in June 1993, Adobe launched Version 1.0, the first program that could open and read a PDF file.

    The software has gained popularity over the years. Adobe continues to release new updated versions with new features. The company has successfully refined and improved the PDF's functionality by listening to customer feedback and needs. Document users enjoy the ability to convert, compress a PDF, and share documents. Warnock and his team have revolutionized the creation of portable documents across all operating systems globally. Their success has helped many businesses enjoy the convenience of a digital office.

    3. U.S. Federal Courts Depend on Compressed PDFs.

    The PDF doc remains essential to the U.S. federal court as it stores all files in compressed PDF format. For instance, the storage of all PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) files is done in PDF formats for security purposes. Court files are usually huge and bulky. Such data may include audio recording, images, and video recordings that need conversion into documents. PDF format turns out to be the most convenient storage for such files. The court documents are compressed then uploaded to the server in black and white format. PACER has made it easier to access specific court documents by searching the respective names. Unlike the previous court filing system where locating a file took a lot of time, it only takes a few clicks to find a PDF doc.

    4. PDF Formats Are the Best Way to Save Your Documents.

    Many times we want to save valuable content we find on the internet. More to saving, we mind the privacy of some of the material. How do you go about it? When you get your content, for instance, an article in word format, convert it into PDF format. This file format allows you to compress a PDF to a smaller size. Compressed materials maximize on storage by saving on space. When saving or posting compressed PDF documents on the internet, expect better quality than other formats.

    5. PDF files increase flexibility.

    Since its creation, the PDF has maintained its adaptability across all operating systems. It's compatible with PC, iOS, Mac, and Android operating systems without any problem. PDF's adaptability has made it an integral part of human communication in businesses, governments, and other corporations. Warnock and his team's effort in creating a portable document format compatible with all operating systems has been a significant milestone in document storage. Adobe and PDF tools have enabled the converting of a wide range of documents into PDFs. This feature has enhanced access to most of these files.

    Twenty-five years down the line, we are still benefiting from Warnock's work. Gauging by the adoption rates worldwide, PDFs will remain a staple document format in many offices. Bottom Line The world is becoming a better place, thanks to increasing technological advancement. The PDF format has improved the access and security of documents significantly. Today, it only takes a short time to access a file, convert it into a PDF format, and secure it with your password. Beyond PDF security, compression reduces file sizes. The reduction or compression steps will lead to files that a user can store in existing databases without acquiring extra storage space. Refer to this guide when looking to compress a PDF file to make the right decision.

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