By Naaziyah IsmailThu. 10 Aug. 20233min Read

How to Flatten a PDF Without Losing Quality

File flattening can be crucial for preserving your content exactly as you intended. However, the main concern for many users is the potential loss of quality during the process.
How to Flatten a PDF Without Losing Quality

Flattening a PDF without losing quality is essential for preserving the integrity of your document's visual elements while making it more universally accessible and secure.

Naaziyah Ismail 
B2B SaaS Content Writer
Naaziyah has written many tutorials on apps and software such as, Jira, Asana, Trello, and PDF Reader Pro. She excels at engagingly simplifying complex processes. 

This guide will introduce you to the straightforward steps and tools needed to achieve a seamless flattening process, ensuring your PDFs maintain their high-quality appearance across all viewing platforms.

How to Flatten a PDF Without Losing Quality on Windows

PDF Reader Pro has many features that allow you to edit your PDF document quickly and easily. Follow our simple three-step process to use them to flatten your PDFs on Windows:

Step 1: Open your PDF files in PDF Reader Pro

Click "Open Files" and open it from your file manager or using the drop zone, then wait until it is visible on the screen.

PDF Reader Pro tool showing

Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Step 2: Select our flattening feature

Click on "File" then the option labeled "Save as Flattened PDF".

PDF Reader Pro tool showing the

Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Step 3: Save your PDF files with your chosen file name.

This will export documents to a folder of your choice on your device, rendering them uneditable and secure. After you’ve clicked Save, remember to review the documents one last time.

"Before discovering PDF Reader Pro, I was merely grazing the surface of PDF tool capabilities. Now, I've achieved complete command over my documents, experiencing document management on an entirely new level."
Theodore Cipolla
B2B SaaS Content Marketer
Source: LinkedIn

How to Flatten a PDF Without Losing Quality on Mac

Step 1: Select the digital documents you want to flatten and open them in PDF Reader Pro.

You can upload them by clicking Open File, selecting your files from your device, or dragging them into the drop zone.

PDF Reader Pro tool showing the
Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Step 2: Select our flattening feature from the drop-down menu to start the converting process.

This will start a saving process and show a pop-up requesting a filename and save location.

PDF Reader Pro tool showing the
Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Step 3: Before clicking Save you can adjust the file names on any documents you flatten.

After creating the document, open a preview to maintain its integrity after flattening. Thanks to PDF Reader Pro's capabilities for PDF documents, you now have a file for print or secure sharing saved to your device. 

PDF Reader Pro tool showing the

Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Flattening vs. Merging: What's The Difference?


Flattening PDFs

Merging PDFs


Integrates all elements into a single layer, making them uneditable. Combines multiple PDF documents into one file without altering individual content.

Use Cases

Finalizing documents for printing or sharing to ensure consistency. Compiling related documents for easier distribution or archiving.


Creates a static document where interactive elements become permanent and non-interactive. Produces a composite document with each original PDF intact and editable within the merged file.


Eliminates the ability to edit form fields, annotations, and layered content. Maintains the editability of content within each original document included in the merge.

Visual Integrity

Preserves the document's appearance by embedding all elements directly onto the page. Keeps each document's original format and appearance, now sequentially arranged in a single file.


Removes interactivity, converting elements like hyperlinks and form fields into static content. Preserves the interactivity of content within each merged document, allowing for continued user interaction.

However, my routine tasks also heavily rely on PDF Reader Pro for efficiently merging and splitting PDFs. This capability allows me to easily compile research and reference materials into single documents or break down large files into more manageable sections.

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PDF Reader Pro and its vast features help my writing process and document organization.

"Flattening PDFs is particularly helpful for me as a content writer, ensuring that all the annotations, comments, and edits I make are permanently embedded into the document, maintaining its intended appearance across all platforms."
Naaziyah Ismail
B2B SaaS Content Writer
Source: LinkedIn


Flattening PDFs: FAQs

Will flattening affect the size of my PDF?

Flattening can sometimes increase the file size due to merging all elements into one layer, but any change is usually minimal and depends on the document's content.

Can I unflatten a PDF after the process?

Once a PDF is flattened, the process cannot be reversed. Ensure you have a backup before flattening if you might need to edit the document later.

Does flattening a PDF remove hidden data or metadata?

Flattening primarily affects the document's visual and interactive layers. Removing hidden data or metadata may require additional steps within your PDF editing software.

How do I flatten a PDF for free?

There are free online tools and software with flattening capabilities, though their features may be limited compared to professional PDF editors.

Can all PDF editors flatten PDFs?

Not all PDF editors have a flattening feature. Check your software’s documentation or explore its menus to confirm its capabilities.

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