If you are using Ubuntu, chances, if you are using Libre Office or Open Office, are pretty much high. You can easily make PDF files from them but you don’t get any tool in Ubuntu to compress PDFs.
In many cases, PDF files get large enough to exceed size limits in uploads such as you have a limit to upload PDF files in Google Forms of 25 MB. We will discuss several solutions for reducing PDF size in Ubuntu.
Compressing PDF in Ubuntu
There are many ways by which you can compress PDF in your Ubuntu system but we have selected 3 ways that will work flawlessly for your PDF compression.
- Using an online PDF compression tool
- Using Command-line tool
- Using GUI
All of these methods would work fine on Debian-based distros such as Linux Mint, MX Linux, Pop_Os, and many others
Compressing PDF using Online Compression Tool Smallpdf
This is the easiest method of all. Several online sites give you the privilege to compress your PDF files for free but Smallpdf has always worked fine. The main facility that it gives you is previewing PDF files before downloading.
Step 1: Open Smallpdf
You can use any of your favorite browsers for visiting the Compress PDF section of Smallpdf. Click on CHOOSE FILES.
Step 2: Selecting Files for Compression
When you will click on CHOOSE FILES, it will open your File manager. From there select the required PDF file that you want to compress. And click on Open.
As we are going with the free plan, select Basic Compression and click on Compress.
Step 3: Previewing and downloading
Once the file is compressed, you will be able to see the size. In our case, the upload size was 4.89 MB and it is been compressed to 679 KB.
Click on Download and your compressed PDF will be downloaded.
You do have other options such as Splitting PDF, Protecting PDF, and others. You can easily continue with those options with a compressed file without downloading it.
Compressing PDF using Terminal
A terminal is a great tool especially when you want to complete tasks with efficiency. Similarly, we have a tool called Ghostscript. Unlike 1st option, you can compress your file as per your preference for free.
Step 1: Updating Repositories
Before downloading anything, it is always advised to update your repositories so that you can have the latest and most stable version available for your system. Use the given command for updating your system.
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
Step 2: Downloading Ghostscript
Once your system is updated with the above command, you can use the following command to install Ghostscript.
sudo apt install ghostscript
Step 3: Compressing PDF files using Ghostscript
Now we are ready for compressing PDF files using Ghostscript but before that let’s have a look at its syntax and what does each command mean.
gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/screen -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=output.pdf input.pdf
Don’t get nervous about this complex command. There are only 3 things in the whole string of commands which should concern you.
Changing quality by -dPDFSETTINGS
Renaming the output file by -sOutputFile
Inserting PDF file which you want to compress at the end of the command (we will replace the name of the PDF file with input.pdf)
You will have to get into the folder where your PDF file is located. In my system, it’s located at /Documents/PDF. I will use the given command to change my current directory to the desired one.
Compressing files in High Quality using /prepress
This will give you the highest quality which Ghostscript has to offer with the least compression. Open your Terminal and use the following command
After Entering our desired directory, we are required to identify the exact file which we are going to compress. Use the given command to list down all files in the current folder
After identifying your file from the list, use this command to compress it.
gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=compressed-file.pdf e-Notes_PDF_All-Units_27042019042410AM.pdf
As you can see, we have changed the input file, renamed the output file compressed-file.pdf
To check the results, use the following command to list down the number of files
This time, it has shown us a second file named compressed-file.pdf
Compressing files in Balanced-Quality using /ebook
If you want to have a medium quality and medium compression, use can use this method. It will compress PDF in 150 dpi which is balanced in terms of quality and size.
To list down available files in a folder using the following command:
Use given command for compression:
gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/ebook -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=compressed-file1.pdf e-Notes_PDF_All-Units_27042019042410AM.pdf
As you can see, we have changed the type of compression to ebook and its output is renamed compressed-file2.pdf
Compressing files at a Higher compression rate using /a screen
This will give you the highest level of compression with low-quality PDF (with 72dpi).
To list down available pdf files, use the given command:
Use the given command to compress your PDF file:
gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/screen -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=compressed-file3.pdf e-Notes_PDF_All-Units_27042019042410AM.pdf
As you can see, we have used /screen for getting the highest compression and have renamed the output file to compressed-file3.pdf
Compressing PDF using GUI
If you are not comfortable using Terminal, we will show you how you can use compress your PDF using Densify. It is a GUI version of Ghostscript by which you can have the same functionality without messing with Terminal.
Step 1: Downloading and Installing Densify
Go to the official release page of Densify. Click on Code and select the Download ZIP option.
Open your File Manager and locate the Zip file of Densify. Right-click on Densify and select the option Extract here. You will see a new folder. Open that folder.
Right-click on space and select the Open in Terminal option. It will open the Terminal for the current directory.
Use the given command in Terminal:
sudo chmod a+x install.sh
This command will install Densify on your system.
You will have to download Ghostscript to work with Densify. Use the given commands to download it:
sudo apt install ghostscript
Step 2: Compressing PDF Files using Densify
Click on the Activities located at the top left corner and search for Densify. And open the first result.
Click on the little file icon to select your PDF file.
In type, you do have options such as:
The printer will get you a compressed PDF with 300 dpi
The ebook is known for balance between quality and compression with 150 dpi
The screen will avail you highest compression where quality is compromised a little with 72 dpi
Select the option accordingly and click on a compress. It will start the compression process
once the compression process is finished, you get a pop-up saying your file has been compressed and will also include the previous size and size after compression.
Uninstalling Ghostscript and Densify
To remove Ghostscript from your system, use the given command:
sudo apt purge ghostscript
To remove Densify, we have to delete the folder which we have extracted to install. Delete the folder. It will show you a warning. Click on Delete.
Open your terminal and use the given command to remove the logo of Densify from the menu:
sudo rm /Densify/densify.desktop
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In today’s tutorial, we learned to use Online compression and installed Ghostscript and Densify in Ubuntu to compress PDF files. By these methods, you can easily shrink your PDF files.