Is your PDF file too big?

Is your PDF too big to email? Maybe you’ve got a large catalog or newsletter that you just can’t squeeze down into a size to post on your client’s website. Have no fear! Here are some things you can try.

Double check your PDF settings in your Quark/Indesign export options. If you are using Quark or InDesign to build your layout, get into your compression settings, and make sure your bicubic downsampling is down to 72ppi (for screen resolution).

Acrobat PDF export settings

Print a postscript file from your layout program, and run it through Acrobat Distiller at a low-res setting. Often, PDF files created this way are smaller in size than if you used the same settings out of Quark or InDesign.

postscript settings

Flatten the transparency of your InDesign file before exporting a PDF.

flatten transparency inDesign

If you have Acrobat professional, you have the option to ‘reduce file size’ under the document menu in the file bar. Toy around with these settings as sometimes I can get different results. Note- the ‘reduce file size’ option may be under a different menu in earlier versions of Acrobat Pro.

PDF Optimizer. In Acrobat Professional, under your ‘advanced’ menu in the file bar, scroll down into ‘print production’ and selct ‘pdf optimizer’. This optimizes your already made PDF file, and can give you some additional control on file size.

Get creative. In a pinch, if none of this stuff works, I have exported my pages as JPG files, and placed those JPG files into a new InDesign or Quark document and exported the new document as a low file size PDF.

Try disecting individual elements in your document to see what’s causing the large file size. You may be using vector files with complex patterns or points. Try flattening these types of patterns. Or perhaps you have images that are sized extremely large. Try reducing their sizes closer to the size they’ll be in your document. Also, be aware of using too many transparency or special effects in InDesign. Often times this can cause trouble, especially if used in conjunction with Spot Colors.

Whatever the case may be, there’s more than one way to get your PDF down to the right size. I hope that you found this information useful, and if there’s anything I missed let me know.

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