How to Flatten a PDF?

In printing, the process of flattening PDF is commonplace. A PDF file can have various layers each with different content. To print, only the visible layer is necessary. Hence the need to flatten a PDF file when printing.

Flattening a PDF file eliminates transparency details and converts photos to a printer-friendly format. Today, some PDF editors make the process a breeze for anyone.

The process of flattening a PDF makes it possible to print visual elements. Some publishing houses require authors to submit their books as flattened PDFs. Read on to find out how you can flatten a PDF file.

What Does "Flatten PDF" Mean?

The phrase "flatten PDF" denotes a process of eliminating multiple layers in a PDF file to create a "flat PDF". The process entails the removal of any interactive elements and embedded fonts among others.

The process of flattening a PDF requires a careful merging of text to the data on the file. Also, document creators flatten PDF for a number of reasons. For instance, flattening a PDF file locks its fillable form fields.

This helps avoid scams, especially in banking. Imagine providing your details to make a withdrawal through a fillable PDF. The next thing you know is the PDF falls in the wrong hands. At least, they will be able to change the details to wire themselves some funds.

How to Flatten a PDF on Windows?

Adobe Acrobat DC or Pro DC provides a feature to flatten PDF files. With Adobe, you can flatten a PDF file in various ways. One way is to export the file to a printer and then save it as a simple PDF without layers.

This is the easiest way since Adobe allows you to use the Optimizer feature to flatten PDF files. Here are the simple steps:

Step 1: You need to install the application on your Windows device to get started.

Step 2: Open the file you wish to flatten using Adobe DC or Pro DC.

Step 3: Choose the File menu and select Print to launch the "Print" dialog. Ensure you switch the printer name to Adobe PDF. Also, you can change other parameters like page range, orientation, and size among others.

Step 4: Once you are done, click the "Print" button. Adobe will request the folder you want to save the file. Also, you can rename the file before hitting the Save button.

How to Flatten a PDF on Mac?

On Macs, you can flatten PDF using PDFelement software. To do this, you need to download and install the software on your Mac.

Step1: Launch PDFelement and use the "Open File" option to open the PDF file you want to flatten.

Step 2: Open the File menu then scroll to the option that indicates "Save as Other".

Step 3: Now, choose the "Save as Flatten…" option in the contextual menu.

You're done! It is that fast to flatten PDF on a Mac.

How to Edit PDF Online?

CocoDoc provides the most convenient way of editing pdf files online. It's an all-in-one PDF editor that can do a lot more besides PDF editing. The platform even lets you fill PDF forms.

Below are the simple steps involved if you decide to edit a PDF file online.

Step 1: Start by visiting the official CocoDoc website. Scroll to the "View & Edit" section towards the bottom of the homepage. In this section, click on the "Edit PDF" link to get started.

Step 2: Now, upload the PDF file you wish to edit. CocoDoc lets you choose from your device or cloud storage platforms like Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox.

Step 3: After uploading, the platform will open the document in a new window. Here, you will be able to edit the document to your heart's satisfaction. When you are done, hit the Download button to get the edited PDF file.


PDF flattening is a great way of ensuring the original PDF file remains the same. By flattening a PDF file, a user optimizes the PDF making it easy to print. A PDF editor is necessary for flattening PDFs whenever needed.