Flattening a PDF simply represents merging all of the layers, content, and other aspects of a document that were previously separate into one cohesive file. This feature can be quite handy, particularly when you have some interactive aspects in your documents, such as checkboxes, drop-down lists, and text boxes, but you don’t want to keep them interactive when sharing your PDF file.
Thankfully, flattering is a quick and simple procedure that will allow you to effortlessly merge your documents in a couple of clicks, without the need for editing on any change of your current data. Here’s how to use it:
Flattening a PDF with Acrobat
If you’re using Adobe Acrobat as your primary PDF editor, like most people, you can follow the simple steps below to effortlessly flatten your PDF file:
- Firstly, open the PDF document that you’d like to flatten in Acrobat.
- Click on the Advanced tab, and then choose the PDF Optimizer option.
- In the following window, choose the Discard User Data option.
- Then, click on the Discard Hidden Layer Content And Flatten Visible Layers option, and press OK.
- You might be encouraged to save the PDF under a selected name now.
- In the Layers section, choose the Flatten Layers (or alternatively Merge Layers) option.
- Finally, save your file by going to File>Save. You could also decide to print your document at this point by choosing File>Print.
Note: Although the steps described above refer specifically to Adobe Acrobat, the process is quite similar for all other PDF editors that offer flattening as a feature. If not, going to File>Print and then choosing the Export: Flattened PDF (or similar) option might do the trick.
And there you have it; the necessary process you need to go through in order to flatten your PDF document, and efficiently merge all of its interactive or other additional content.