How to send a PDF file: 4 ways to send documents in PDF format 

Header_ Sending PDF files (1)

Whether you’re sending PDFs for review and approval, to be signed, or simply to share information, there are several routes you can take to get your PDF document to your recipients quickly and securely.

In this article, we’ll explore four of the best ways to send a PDF, including how to send large PDF files and how to add a password for extra protection.

And if you’re sharing your files for feedback and approval, we’ll also show you how to collaboratively comment on PDF files.

Why send documents in PDF format?

I’m glad you asked!

Sending a document in PDF format offers a wide range of benefits compared to other file formats (like .doc, plain text files, or image files). 

Here are some of the key advantages.

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The formatting stays the same

One of the main perks of PDF files is that they maintain the exact formatting of the original document, regardless of the device or operating system used to open and view them. This means that the document’s layout, fonts, images, and other elements stay as they should, with no dodgy changes. 

PDF files are print-friendly

For similar reasons, PDF files are print-friendly too. When printed, they keep the original layout, so the document appears as intended on paper. This prevents any potential formatting issues, and saves paper, ink, and – ultimately – the planet! 

You can open PDFs on almost any device

PDF files can be opened and viewed on just about every platform – from Windows and macOS to Linux, iOS, and Android. So if you’re sharing documents with people outside of your organization, who might be using different devices and operating systems, the PDF format is an ideal choice.

PDF files are secure

If you’re sending sensitive or confidential information, then PDF files help keep things safe. They can be encrypted and password-protected, and you can restrict access, prevent copying, and even set an expiration date for the document for extra layers of security.

PDF files can be compressed

Got a document that’s too large to send over email? PDF files can be compressed to reduce their file size, without a significant loss of quality. This makes them easier to share files by email or via other platforms with file size limitations.

PDF files can be compared side by side

PDF is one of the most commonly supported formats in file comparison tools. In Filestage, for example, you can quickly compare any two PDF files side by side, including any comments and annotations that have been added. On top of that, you can even auto-compare text between the two files or versions.

Four ways to send PDF files

Now you know the benefits of sending PDFs, let’s look at four of the best ways to send them.

  1. Email – the easiest way to send PDF documents 
  2. Dropbox – the best way to send large PDF files 
  3. Filestage – the best way to send a PDF file for feedback and approval
  4. DocuSign – best for getting digital signatures on a PDF file

Let’s explore each of these options in more detail.

1. Email – the easiest way to send PDF documents 

There’s no denying that email is the easiest way to send a PDF file. Simply upload your PDF document as an attachment to your mail message, click send, et voila!

Bear in mind, however, that some email services have file size limitations. For example, the limit if you have a Gmail account is 25 MB, and for Microsoft Outlook it’s 20 MB. It’s unlikely that your PDF file will be larger than that unless it contains a lot of multimedia. But if it is, or if you’re sending multiple PDF files at once, then take a look at option number two.

Find out more about how to send large files via email.

2. Dropbox – the best way to send large PDF files 

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If you’re working with large PDFs, packed full of graphics, images, and videos, then a cloud service like Dropbox is the way to go. With the free plan, you can send up to 2 GB per transfer. And with a paid plan, the maximum file size goes all the way up to a whopping 2 TB.

To send a PDF file using this file sharing site, simply upload your file using the desktop or mobile phone app (or just on the website from your browser). You’ll then get a link that you can send to your recipient’s email address. Depending on the file permissions you set, they’ll be able to view or download the PDF file without even needing a Dropbox account. 

3. Filestage – the best way to send a PDF file for feedback and approval

When you’re sending a PDF file for review, the process can be pretty painful. Missed emails. Feedback flying at you from all different angles. Conflicting suggestions. Ouch. 

Filestage is a review and approval platform that helps you securely share, discuss, and approve your PDF files, all in one place. With Filestage, reviewers can leave in-context comments directly on top of the PDF file, and they can also annotate the PDF with highlighting PDF markup tools, shapes, and a drawing tool for crystal-clear feedback. 

Feedback can be discussed in real time with other reviewers, eliminating misunderstandings and saving a whole lot of time in the process. Plus, you can easily track the status of the PDF file, see whose feedback is still pending, and compare PDF versions side by side. 

You can set due dates to keep things moving forward, and reviewers will receive automated emails as the deadline approaches to help you stay on track. 

Problem solved!

Its wide range of review and approval features make Filestage a powerful enterprise file-sharing solution and a great fit for small businesses or freelancers.

4. DocuSign – best for getting digital signatures on a PDF file

Gone are the days of printing, signing, and scanning. DocuSign is a document signing tool that helps you send your PDF file and get it signed – legally, securely, and all in one place. 

Simply upload a PDF document, drag and drop the fields that you need the signer to complete (such as name, address, date, and signature), add an email address for the recipient, and click send. 

It’s free for the signer, and it’s super easy and intuitive to use. You’ll get a notification to let you know your recipient has signed the document, and your file will be safely stored in the Completed folder for you to access when you’re ready.

How to send large PDF files

Sending large PDF files can be challenging due to email attachment size limitations. However, there are several alternative ways of sending large PDF files.

Compress the PDF

If the PDF file is only slightly larger than the email attachment limit, you can try compressing the PDF to reduce its size. There are various online tools that can help you compress PDFs without significantly affecting the quality. But make sure you always check the compressed version before you send it, as there’s a chance that text or images could be blurry.

Split the PDF file into smaller parts 

Another option is to split your PDF into smaller parts using a PDF splitting tool. You can then send the parts to your recipient as separate attachments.

Use a cloud-based service 

The best option for sending large PDFs is to upload your PDF file to a cloud-based platform like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Filestage. Once uploaded, you’ll get a shareable link that you can send to your intended recipients. They can then download the file from there – or even just view it online. 

This way you can easily share business files without ever worrying about their security.

How to add a password to a PDF document

To add a password to a PDF document, you can use various PDF editing tools. One of the most widely-used tools is Adobe Acrobat. 

Here’s how to add a password to a PDF on Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Open the PDF file
  2. In the top toolbar, click on the ‘Protect’ tab (it may also be labeled as ‘Secure’ or ‘Protect Document’)
  3. Select ‘Encrypt with Password’
  4. Enter and confirm your chosen password, and save the PDF


Anyone who wants to open the document will now need to enter the correct password to access the file and the confidential or sensitive information within.

Final thoughts

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to send a PDF file. To see for yourself how Filestage can help you send PDFs for feedback and approval, you can start a free trial here.