What are Content Streams in PDF files and how to compress them?

A page in a PDF document has one or more content stream parts that together contain all the PDF page description commands for the page. So content streams are essentially the contents of the pages - the text and any line drawings.

Some applications create PDFs that use Content Streams and other applications create PDFs that make use of image and text markup that don't require large content streams. A lot of PDF files only have one content stream but some PDF files have multiple content streams.

Can Content Streams within PDF files be compressed by WeCompress (or NXPowerLite)?

Currently, it is not possible for NXPowerLite Desktop or WeCompress to manipulate or compress Content Streams data.

Using Print to PDF option to recreate a new PDF file

There is a method that can help make PDF files smaller in size but it involves creating a new file by printing the PDF. Doing this can create a file that is bigger than the original but usually without large amounts of Content Streams. This file can subsequently be compressed with WeCompress or NXPowerLite and end up much smaller.

Most modern browsers come with the ability to open PDF files and also 'Print to PDF'. In our example below, we use Google Chrome on Windows to create a new file from the original file with large content streams. However, a similar process is available with other browsers and operating systems.

  1. Right-click the PDF file and select Open with and then select Google Chrome
  2. In the Chrome tab showing the PDF click the Print option in the top right of the screen.


  3. Now select Save as PDF in the Destination drop-down control and click Save.


  4. Now give the PDF a name and save it.


  5. Try compressing the newly created PDF file with NXPowerLite Desktop (Windows | Mac) or try WeCompress online.


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