Flatten PDFs

This online tool flattens PDFs. That is, it takes all the elements in on each page of a PDF and makes them into a single image. This makes interactive elements (like forms) become uneditable. If you searched to flatten PDF, then this online tool will work!

Download your first modified PDF for free.

Make PDF Uneditable

PDFs, unlike what some say, can be edited fairly easy. Indeed, interactive forms where users type into boxes is one way to edit a PDF. Other ways to edit PDFs include changing the text within a paragraph or changing titles. Converting the elements in a PDF using this online tool into a raster image make the PDF much more difficult to edit. Indeed, if you want to edit this kind of PDF you need to “draw”, erase, or otherwise use graphic editing tools. Nothing prevents a file from being completely unalterable, but converting to image files changes the normal editing routes.

How to Make a PDF Uneditable: Flatten PDF

This online tool switches the code-based elements in a PDF to raster images. To use the tool, simply upload your PDF. The tool, in the background, renders each element visually and then writes that visual information back to a separate PDF file. Simply download that and you’ll see that individual words can’t be highlighted or copied. You’ll see that text can’t be modified in a simple word processor. In order for this kind of file to be editable as text, an OCR (optical character recognition) tool would need to be used. Even then, the formatting (bold, italic, font type and size) would all need to be re-created, which is quite difficult.

Why Flatten PDFs?

Converting all the interactive and complexly coded elements in a PDF to images can fix display problems with some PDF viewers. Although there is a PDF standard (ISO), not all PDF software (editors and viewers) work flawlessly. But most read and display images quite well.

Prevent searching in a PDF by Flattening

Most PDF viewers (like Adobe and Preview) have the ability to search the document for text. For example, you could search for “PDF flatten” and all instances of that would appear quite easily. With a PDF that is flattened, the facility to do that kind of search disappears. The text which was machine readable now becomes an image. Only special OCR software can then make a PDF searchable.

Flatten PDF: Merging Layers

Checkboxes in PDFs can often be clicked and a check appears. To prevent this kind of interaction, flatten that PDF! A PDF with raster images instead of interactive elements makes it a PDF more uneditable. This makes a PDF into a read-only document (which the use of special software to edit it). This online tool merges all the layers into one (on each page). Sometimes a PDF can be quite a large file, taking up a lot of disk space and preventing fast downloads, because it contains many separate layers. Combining all those layers to one can reduce file size. Note: this can also increase file size, but the best way to know is to try the tool!

Problems with Editable PDFs

Let’s say you have a form to be signed. You email a PDF and ask for a signature. What if the person receiving the PDF changes some text and then signs it. The edited PDF is what was signed, not the original. Making a PDF uneditable or flattening a PDF prevents those kind of changes using some tools. Digital signatures for PDFs are attempts to work around this, but I’m skeptical that anything these days can’t be hacked.

Flatten all elements in your PDF, including:

  • editable forms
  • checkboxes
  • interactive widgets
  • videos
  • fonts and text
  • backgrounds
  • images
  • graphics
  • pictures
  • lines
  • shapes
  • headings
  • titles
  • footnotes
  • captions
  • headers
  • borders

What users say about the SuperTools PDF Tools?

I came across your site for the first time last week when I needed to print out boarding passes and test results and the Costa Rican hostel’s printer was out of black ink and the staff wouldn’t let me touch their computer to change the print settings. My travel partner, a graphic designer, started to try to use whatever Photoshop-type tools he uses to execute my master plan of “turn the effing things blue” but started narrating out loud about having to convert the text to outlines, etc etc etc. At that point I thought there must be a better way and found you on Google. In short order I had beaten him to the result (very satisfying) and we accomplished the printing, which was a huge relief of stress as it was la Semana Santa/Easter holiday week and seemingly every other place to print things was closed. 

Q

Great tool. Thanks!

W

THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!

L

Great tool! Thanks a lot for providing it.

M

Thank you, that was super useful!

J

Awesome tool! Thanks

R

Thanks so much for building this SUPER tool 🙂

C

Great tool. Really needed it!

E

The types of PDF files you can flatten are nearly unlimited and include:

  1. Shipping labels
  2. Boarding passes for trains and planes
  3. Legal documents like contracts and releases
  4. Invoices
  5. Passport applications
  6. Sewing patterns
  7. Mailing labels, including pre-paid mailing labels from Fed-Ex, Ebay, Etsy, and others
  8. Return labels
  9. Medical documents
  10. Forms, forms, and more forms

Questions about printing in color when you are out of black ink? Check out this FAQ:


Please send a message to let us know how this PDF tool worked for you.


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