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Are PDF Files Smaller than Word Documents?

Are PDF Files Smaller than Word Documents?

One of the most important quests of this new internet and computer age seems to be saving space on our disc drives. It’s all very well to continue cruising the Internet, until your computer begins to move slower than a snail.

We all know that sinking feeling when we see the little message pop up to tell us that our startup disk is almost full. There a multiple different ways to handle this.

For example, you can easily empty the trash on your computer or rid your computer of files you no longer need. You can also archive your files onto an external drive. This step in particular is marvellously helpful  to stop files hogging up all of your precious space.

However, if you have years of built of data in your computer, this is likely to be a bigger task.

Naturally, one of the best ways to do reduce the space your files take up that will benefit your computer in the long run is to decrease the size of our files.

Here we can answer the most important question: Are PDF files smaller than Word documents?

Keep reading to find out the key differences between PDF files and Word documents that decide the big file size difference!

PDF and Word: Core Differences

PDF files and Microsoft Word files are file formats with individual benefits that sometimes overlap.

In short, PDF files are idea for printing, file exchange and business or legal documents. PDF files are a precise page layout that has a print-ready transfer feature that means no reworking is required when a file a sent to another party.

PDF files are a secure platform where the content cannot be copied, making it ideal for legal contacts and terms of an agreement.

Microsoft Word documents are different and are ideal for reusing images and editing. Word is powerful document editor that helps you to format your document creatively. You can edit font sizes, styles, and images pretty easily.

Of course, this also applies to whomever you send your file to. If they have a Microsoft suite than they can view and edit your documents, even when you didn’t particularly want them to.

Microsoft Word also embeds images – making them easy to extract and use again somewhere else.

Perhaps the main benefit of Microsoft Word in comparison to PDF reading tools such as Adobe Acrobat, is the word processing features. With Word, you can write documents such as CVs, memos and letters. This is hugely beneficial – without even mentioning spell-checking and grammar-checking features.

Now that you know the core differences and uses for PDF files and Mircosoft PDF files, you can learn how to make your PDF files smaller than Word Documents  – and why you should.

How to Make PDF Files Smaller than Word Documents


Typically speaking, Microsoft Word documents are actually a lot smaller than PDF files. This is because of the amount of information they store. 

PDF files contain a lot more information than Word documents. For example, when you open a Word document you are relying on having the application (whatever version of Microsoft Word you use) to open the fonts, colors etc.

If you don’t have Microsoft Word downloaded as an application, the fonts, typography, and colors will be substituted by something else.

This is a key difference with PDF files because PDF files have fonts and other text features embedded into them, which makes the file larger than the original. PDF files are like a freezeframe of your document with every feature from fonts to page numbers frozen exactly as they were upon creating the PDF file.

Thankfully, there are few different ways to try to reduce the size of your PDF files to smaller or equal to a Word document.


Sometimes, PDF files can be reduced in size straight from their Adobe application and this can help you to save space on your computer files.

For example, if you are using Adobe Acrobat Pro XI you can reduce the size of some of the embedded features in your PDF file by optimizing your PDF. This can be done by selecting ‘File’ and then ‘Save as Other -> Optimized PDF’.

If you have converted your Word document to a PDF, it might be worth checking if that original Word document is embedded in the new PDF file. You can do this by looking at the embedded files. If the Word document file is there, that might explain to you why your PDF file size is a bit larger than you would have thought.

Another way of making sure that your PDF files are the same size as a Word document is to convert your PDF file back to a Word document.

It is recommended only to do this if you don’t mind having your content accessible and editable by anyone who opens it. You may also have to check that none of your images, charts or graphics moved slightly during formatting which can occur with several online PDF converters.

Even though there are many online PDF converters that are free and secure to use, you can simply convert your PDF file to a Word document in Adobe Acrobat by selecting on the ‘Export PDF file’.

We hope this helped you figure out if PDF files or Word documents are smaller in size and how to reduce your PDF file size. If you have any more PDF related questions, you should check out the rest of our posts on our blog!

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