While PDF has become the universal file format, have you ever heard of linearized PDF? In this article by SwifDoo PDF, we will give you a complete introduction to it, including what it is and how to create one.

What Is a Linearized PDF

A linearized PDF is a PDF vibrant that aims to achieve faster viewing speed over the internet. It is also known as "Fast Web View" or "web-optimized PDF.

Unlike a traditional PDF, where all the content is stored sequentially, a linearized PDF rearranges its internal structure to prioritize the information needed to display the first page as quickly as possible. Linearized PDFs enable viewing the first page of a document almost immediately, even on slow connections.

Most PDF viewers support linearization, including Adobe Acrobat Reader, Google Chrome, and Firefox.

Linearizing a PDF can slightly increase the file size. However, the benefits outweigh drawbacks. A linearized PDF reduces bandwidth usage by only downloading viewed pages. Its usage can also help improve website performance by loading PDFs faster.

How to Create Linearized PDF

There are several ways to create linearized PDFs:

  • Using your existing PDF software:

Most PDF software, like Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and Foxit, have built-in options for linearizing PDFs. The specific steps will vary depending on the software. Generally, you'll need to open the PDF you want to linearize, go to the "Save As" or "Export" menu, and look for a checkbox or option called "Linearize" or "Optimize for Fast Web View."

  • Using online tools:

Several free online tools can linearize PDFs. Popular choices include AVEpdf, PDF4me, and PDF2Go. Those tools are easy to use and access but have file size or features limitations.

PDF/A Vs. Linearized PDF

Both PDF/A and linearized PDFs aim to improve the user experience with PDF documents. However, their purpose and working principle are different. Let's dive in.


PDF/A is a standardized format designed for long-term preservation and archiving of electronic documents. It ensures PDFs remain readable and accessible even if software and hardware change over time.

Linearized PDF is designed to improve the speed of viewing PDFs on the Internet. It optimizes the file structure to load the first page quickly and subsequent pages as you scroll.

Working Principle:

PDF/A has strict requirements for fonts, color spaces, and other document elements to ensure compatibility across different systems. It prohibits certain features like encryption and JavaScript to prevent data corruption and security vulnerabilities during archiving. It may not be suitable for interactive content or multimedia elements.

Linearized PDF reorganizes the document structure to prioritize the first page and index other pages for efficient downloading. That process doesn't affect the document content or functionality itself. Linearized PDFs can work with any PDF viewer, regardless of whether it supports linearization

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