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How to Flatten PDFs Easily: Offline & Online

Flattening a PDF means that you can render all layers of your PDF files into one layer so that others cannot edit them. For instance, if you have a PDF form with interactive content, now, you want to share it with others but do not want them to edit and change the form contents, then, you can flatten PDF files. If you cannot find an effective way to flatten PDF files, you can continue reading as this article aims to help you flatten PDFs easily and answer all the questions that is related to flattening PDF files.

Method 1: How to Flatten a PDF on Windows and Mac?

UPDF is an all-in-one solution for your PDF editing needs. This PDF editing app can efficiently help you flatten PDF files. It has three options for you: flattened annotations and forms, flattened watermarks, and flattened cropped pages. You can use the option for the desired result.

Let's download UPDF here and take a quick look at how you can flatten PDF with UPDF:

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Step 1: Upload PDF to UPDF

You have to open the UPDF app and click on the "Open File" button to add your PDF file to the app.

Step 2: Edit Your PDF (Optional)

To make your PDF editable, you have to click on ''Edit Text & Images" from the left toolbar of the UPDF. The PDF will become editable, and you can edit the file if you want to make any changes to it. You can also add comments and annotations to your PDF documents, and manage the pages of it. Learn more about how to edit a PDF with UPDF.

Step 3: Flatten the PDF File

Now click on the "Save as Other" icon on the right and select the "Save as Flatten…" option. Following this, you have to choose the location where you want to save your PDF file, and it will make your PDF flatten. 

pdf flatten layers

Following this, there are three options in the pop-up window, including "Flatten Annotations and Forms", "Flatten Watermarks", and "Flatten Cropped Pages." You can choose any of them and tap the "Save As" button to save the flattened file.

flatten pdf files

As UPDF is an all-in-one PDF editor, it can also help you edit PDF files, and you can add different elements, text, additional notes, and many other things to your PDF file. You can also use the PDF conversion feature to help you convert the PDF to any format you need. What may surprise you is that UPDF has AI integrated which allows you to improve your working and studying efficiency via summarizing, explaining, writing, rewriting, translating, and more.

You can download UPDF via the below button and read this UPDF review article written by Techadvisor to have an overview understanding of why UPDF is the best tool to flatten PDF files.

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Video Tutorial on How to Flatten PDF


Method 2: How to Flatten a PDF Online Free?

There are a few online tools to flatten PDF files. However, using online tools is not safe as you have to upload your file to their website. There are also many limitations for online tools, such as you can only process 1 file per day for free. Your PDF file can't exceed 5 MB. But if you still want to use online tools, let's see how you can flatten PDFs online. Here, we choose Sedja.

Step 1: Flatten PDF Online

Open the website of Sedja, click on "All Tools," and select "Flatten." Next, click on "Upload PDF Files" and add your PDF file to the website. Now choose the option of how you want to flatten the PDF and click on "Flatten PDF."

Flatten PDF Online using sedja

Step 2: Download the Flattened PDF

The system will inform you when your file is flattened, and you will see a download option. After that, click on "Download" to save your flattened PDF. 

Keep in mind that flattening a PDF file online is not the best option. The security issue is one of the main reasons one shouldn't opt for PDF flattening online. Moreover, internet availability is a must-have for such tools. Although these seem to be free of cost, you have to subscribe to the paid version if you want to upload a large file or access more features. Why not use UPDF to help you flatten PDF files? It is more reliable and stable at a friendly price. It allows you to flatten the annotations, forms, and watermarks easily. Give it a try now:

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After knowing how to flatten PDF files, you may want to know what is flatten in PDF and why you need to flatten PDF files. We will explain them in detail here.

What is Flatten in PDF?

Do you know that there are layers in a PDF file? Each layer of the PDF file has elements; separating these elements and removing them makes a PDF flat. This process is called the flattening of PDF. The layers of PDF can include annotations, written text, and data in the form of elements and images. The PDF flattening tool merges these layers and flattens them into one.

The values and data you present cannot be changed in a flat PDF. Flattened PDFs have great use in business and other office presentations. Flat PDFs ease the work, and the PDF is more efficiently presentable. 

Why to Flatten a PDF File?

There are many reasons to flatten a PDF file and some of them are here.

  • A flattened PDF file is more secure than the usual PDF file you create because making changes in a flat PDF is not easy. It secures your PDF so that it is not easily editable.
  • It's easier to send a PDF file that is flat as it takes less storage than a normal PDF file. The receiver can readily open the file as it is smaller in size.
  • If you want to keep your annotations and elements safe from any changes while printing, it's better to flatten the PDF so that the PDF file is not affected when taking a print.
  • If you have added your banking detail in a PDF file, then it's better to flat your PDF to add a layer of protection; otherwise, anyone could use your details with their names.
  • PDF files that are used a lot start to crash or show signs of corruption. Flattening the PDF file is one way of keeping your PDF files intact and working.

FAQs on Flattening a PDF

1. How do you flatten an entire PDF?

If you want to flatten an entire PDF, then UPDF is the right app for you as it offers to flatten the entire PDF file.

2. Can I flatten a part of a PDF?

It's not possible to flatten just a portion of a PDF file. The whole document gets flattened when you choose it. However, if you want to flatten some pages of a PDF, you can extract pages from PDF as a separate PDF file and then flatten it.

3. What does it mean to flatten a PDF?

A normal PDF file has many layers of elements, annotations, texts, and the list goes on. These layers can be removed or separated from the PDF to become more secure and intact.

4. How do I flatten a PDF for free?

UPDF has proved to be very effective in flattening PDFs free of cost. Many people are using it every day for flattening PDF files because it gives effective results without any charges.

5. Can you flatten a PDF in Adobe Reader?

No. You can't flatten a PDF in Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader is a free version and you can only read and annotate PDFs with it. You have to use the premium version of Adobe Acrobat to flatten your PDF file.

Wrapping Up

Flattening PDF files is important in work and life because of its advantages. If you are also looking for a way to flatten PDF files efficiently, then you can use Windows, Mac, and the online ways introduced above. But compared with the online way, we recommend you to use UPDF. It has more features and can flatten PDF files securely. Just download UPDF via the below button to test it before purchasing it.

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