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pdfmm (for "pdf minus minus", or "pdf--") is a graphical assistant to reduce the size of PDF files.

Graphical assistant to reduce the size of PDF files

Here are some results obtained with PDF files randomly selected:

Input size Output size % optimization
29 KiB 23 KiB 20 %
363 KiB 72 KiB 80 %
733 KiB 658 KiB 10 %
991 KiB 349 KiB 65 %
1.7 MiB 0.8 MiB 52 %
1.9 MiB 1.1 MiB 40 %
2.3 MiB 1.6 MiB 31 %
3.4 MiB 1.3 MiB 60 %
7.1 MiB 5.4 MiB 23 %
14.8 MiB 9.4 MiB 36 %
54.3 MiB 14.6 MiB 73 %

Of course, this table is presented only as example. The result will certainly not be the same with other files of similar size. It depends on the content.


pdfmm is a shell script requiring bash (>= 4.0), sed, zenity and ghostscript.


Current user

The script is ready to be used by the current user.

All users

To make the script available to all users, add the file pdfmm in the folder /usr/bin/ (root privileges needed).

In this case, the folder created by the extraction can be deleted after the copy.


Current user

Just delete the folder created by the extraction.

All users

Delete the file pdfmm previously copied in /usr/bin/ (root privileges needed).



  • No original files are modified. The optimized file is created in the same folder as the original.

  • After optimized files are being created, a window appears listing them. Clicking OK will keep these files; clicking Cancel will remove them.

  • A configuration file is created in the home folder of the user running pdfmm:


    This file contains the parent folder of the last file selected. This folder will be proposed teh next time pdfmm will be used.

Current user

To use the script in a terminal, run the file pdfmm with the appropriate access path:


If your working folder is the same as the parent of the file pdfmm, the command is:


In any case, the PDF files to optimize can be specified as an argument, for example:

./pdfmm path/to/the/file1.pdf path/to/the/file2.pdf

The script can also be opened by clicking on the file pdfmm (single click or double click depending on your configuration) and choosing to run it.

If you prefer, you can create a launcher with the absolute path as command, for example:


All users

In a terminal, just enter pdfmm. The PDF files to optimize can be specified in command line.

A launcher can also be created with the command pdfmm.


pdfmm is translatable. Anyone interested can translate all strings in the section Localisation of the file pdfmm and send me the result. For now, pdfmm is available in English, in French and in German.


Git is used for revision control. Repository can be browsed online or cloned.


Author: Jean-Philippe Fleury (
Copyright © 2011 Jean-Philippe Fleury

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see


Graphical assistant to reduce the size of a PDF file







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