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4 Tips and Tricks for Using PDF Files Effectively


PDFs are among the most popular documents for professional use, and so knowing how to make the most out of them makes sense.

With that in mind, here are a few handy pieces of advice that will turn you from a PDF novice into a power user in no time.

Making edits to your PDF file…for free

You might think that to do anything more than view PDFs, you will need to pay for the fully-fledged version of Adobe’s Acrobat platform. However, there are actually a few ways to make changes without having to pay for the privilege.

First, you could use an online PDF editor to make changes using your web browser, while still preserving the original file for posterity.

Secondly, you could use a separate respected software solution, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, to open your PDF and, in doing so, convert it to an editable format, before exporting it as a pristine PDF once you are finished.

Merging files to create a single PDF

Another advantage of PDFs is that they can be composed of multiple separate documents that are then effectively stitched together into a format that is far more convenient and portable.

You can do this within Adobe Acrobat itself, by opening the File menu and choosing Create, followed by the Combine Files into a Single PDF option, which does exactly what the name suggests.

If you do not want to use Adobe Acrobat, then there are plenty of third-party solutions that offer a similar set of features, including the aforementioned online sodapdf editor.

Making PDFs smaller

Another common complication for anyone using PDFs is that they can have the potential to balloon in size if you are not careful.

You have a number of options if you find yourself faced with this problem, the first of which is to make use of a compression tool to drive down the size of the file using a compression tool.

This should give you a range of options in terms of what the output file will look like in terms of quality, but just remember that the smaller you go, the less well-defined the finished product will be.

Another option is to either compress the specific elements which are making the PDF oversized in the first place or to remove them altogether. This could mean replacing the unnecessarily hefty JPG or PNG image files that are included with compressed equivalents, or cutting them if you deem them to be superfluous.

Finally, you could harness the compression capability that is baked into most good PDF software solutions. For example, if you are trying to export a Word document as a PDF, you can select a lower quality setting to make the resultant file as compact as possible.

Securing a PDF

While some PDFs you will want to be accessible to all, others might contain sensitive information which is only for the eyes of a few people.

In this instance, it makes sense to password protect your document, remembering to choose a secure passphrase rather than settling for something simple and easy to guess.

Once again you can harness Acrobat for this purpose, or use any one of the other PDF-compatible document tools to do exactly the same.

Also be aware that when sharing the document, you should not include the password in the same message, since this is far from ideal from a security perspective.

The more you use PDFs, the more you will discover you can do with them, so get out there and start exploring the opportunities!

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