23
Jun
09

Quick Tips: Reduce your PDF file size

If you’re working in InDesign, choose the right preset before you export to pdf.  And if you have a lot of lines (i.e. placing more than one Illustrator file), check this out, too.

If you’re working straight out of Illustrator: first, delete the layers you aren’t printing (don’t save the AI file like this – just for printing sake, because it will try to print things that are invisible and this takes longer); second, check out your options before printing to pdf (do you really need Illustrator Editing Capabilities?).

If all else fails (and your file is still massive and the plotter is angry at you and your deadline is in twenty minutes), dump it into Photoshop and save as a jpg (or something else layer-less), reopen, then print to a pdf again.

Also, for people with a Mac, as snazzy as Acrobat Reader might seem, Preview is much better at shrinking your pdfs down to a reasonable size.  Save as a pdf or jpg there, instead.

Feel free to add to this, guys.

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3 Responses to “Quick Tips: Reduce your PDF file size”


  1. 2009/06/24 at 11:10 pm

    Nice one!

    I love them deadlines :D

  2. 2 Sarah
    2010/01/19 at 1:47 pm

    wow… I was struggling to get pdf file size down on some 13mb files with hundreds of 1mb tifs linked. Didn’t matter what pdf export settings I used, good or bad image quality had the same file size.
    Solution was so simple! Just open the pdf in preview and save as! Made the file 3mb instead. Crazy….

  3. 2010/01/19 at 2:42 pm

    Agreed – Mac’s Preview works really well for reducing file size, because it’s essentially a “dumb” Adobe Reader, simplifying the virtual printing process and giving you smaller file sizes. But if you have a file size over, say, 50mb, it can crash a computer just trying to open the original, much less trying to reduce it. For those REALLY big files, converting a pdf to a jpg in Photoshop to strip it down to pixels is your best bet.


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