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How to Flatten a PDF

Oct 17 2023

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In the world of PDFs, efficiency is everything. But dynamic data-filled PDFs can be a double-edged sword. It can be nerve-wracking to imagine your carefully curated document being altered or becoming inaccessible to your users. This is where flattening PDFs with Xodo can be a lifesaver.

However, when you use Xodo, you're not just flattening your document. You’re ensuring data security, preventing unauthorized changes, and streamlining the document sharing process. It's a game-changer, offering peace of mind and efficiency in one fell swoop.

So, if you're ready to flatten PDF files online, read on as we show you how to flatten PDFs and give you a bit of a backgrounder on just what flattening PDFs can do for your workflow.

How to flatten PDFs online

Xodo provides you with a quick way to flatten your PDF documents without sacrificing the quality of your content, letting you focus instead on working with your content. To flatten your PDF, follow these steps:

1. Go to free Flatten PDF tool.

2. Upload your file from your device or cloud storage.

3. Select your output option: Flatten entire document or Flatten only form fields.

Flatten PDF options available in Xodo PDF Flattener

4. Click on the Apply Changes button.

5. Once the process is done, you can select to Download your file or save it to either Google Drive or Xodo Drive.

What does flatten PDF mean?

Now if you’re new to flattening PDFs, you may be wondering: what does flatten PDF mean? How is it different from other PDFs?

Flattening a PDF merges all layers containing graphics, text, charts, annotations, and form fields, into a single uneditable layer. It removes any interactivity from your PDF document and combines those layered elements into a static, one-dimensional file.

Flattening a PDF helps to:

  • Improve security by locking down form fields and removing hidden metadata.  
  • Merge visual and graphical elements to ensure consistency across devices when printing or viewing.
  • Enhance compatibility by making annotations universally readable, which can help with complex PDFs, preventing crashes and improving file rendering.
  • Reduce PDF file sizes which makes transferring and loading PDFs faster and easier. 

Note that because the flattening process melds all elements into one layer, you won’t be able to add or edit PDF content. Thus, if you’re the owner of the PDF, be sure to keep the original version in case you need to edit or add other elements later on. 

Flattening PDFs for different industries

Given the above, you can easily see how different industries would make use of flattened PDF files. It becomes especially important in industries that handle sensitive documents. Here's a look at how some industries are using flattened PDFs:

  • Legal: Lawyers can flatten contracts and other legal forms to ensure the integrity of the documents and content in the form fields.
  • Finance: Finance professionals can use flattened PDFs to secure financial statements, records, and confidential reports.
  • Healthcare: Flattening PDFs help to preserve patient information for healthcare professionals, preventing any data breaches that put those patients at risk.
  • Government: Government workers can use flattened PDFs to protect confidential documents, government forms, and prevent unauthorized changes to official documents.
  • Publishing: Flattened PDFs provide print publishers with optimized print-ready PDF proofs. Because all visual elements re combined into one layer, all the digital content within the PDF can be printed properly.

Flatten PDF and do more with Xodo

There’s no doubt – flattening PDFs provides major benefits for security, printing, compatibility, and sharing. It’s an essential PDF task for any industry or professional dealing with digital documents.

And by using a full-featured PDF tool like Xodo to flatten PDFs, you retain control over the entire process and more.

Xodo Pro can transform your digital document game, providing you with all the advantages you need regardless of the industry you work in.

Xodo offers a handful of free PDF tools that lets you further edit, annotate, sign, and merge PDFs. So why not simplify your PDF handling? Make your digital life easier by trying Xodo Pro out for 7 days.

Try Xodo Pro For Free!
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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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