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ChristofFelix
Currently Being Moderated

Reduce file size with action wizard

Nov 12, 2012 5:33 AM

Tags: #action_wizard #reduce_file_size_command #acrobat_xi_pro

(German version below)

 

Hey,

I got two questions for action wizard in Acrobat XI Pro.

I try to reduze file size of many PDFs using acion wizard. My tests worked fine but now I got some problems I try to explain now:

 

1. I add a directory with many subdirectorys to my process list. Adobe now adds not only PDFs to my list, it also adds JPGs, DOCs etc. That means I have to delete every single file I not want to convert to PDF cause I only want to reduce file size of excisting PDFs. Is there any possibility to only add PDFs in my processing list?

 

2. If a PDF is opend by any other user I get a information about it. This info I need to acknowledge every time it pops up cause my process interrups. Is there any possibility to ignore this info?

 

I´m happy for any help i can get here. Thx.

 

Regards

 

(Sorry for bad english, it´s not my favorite language )

 

 

 

 

 

Hallo Leute,

 

ich benötige Hilfe beim Benutzen des Aktionsassistenten im Acrobat XI Pro.

Ich versuche bei sehr vielen PDFs die Dateigröße zu verringern. Dazu habe ich mir eine Stapelverarbeitung per Aktionsassistent erstellt die bei meiner Testumgebung auch super funktioniert. Leider habe ich noch einige Probleme für die ich Hilfe benötige:

 

1. Wenn ich einen Ordner mit sehr vielen Unterordnern und verschiedenen Inhalten einfüge möchte ich eigentlich nur die PDFs verarbeiten. Leider fügt Acrobat auch alle JPGs DOCs etc. hinzu. Ich muss also alle unerwünschten Dokumente herausfiltern, da auch keine sortierung vorhanden ist. Bei mehreren Tausend Dokumenten nicht leistbar. Gibt es hier eine Möglichkeit nur PDFs in die Stapelverabeitung aufzunehmen?

 

2. Sollte die Verarbeitung mal laufen kommt es hin und wieder vor das die PDFs durch einen Benutzer geöffnet sind. Ich bekommen hier eine Meldung von Acrobat die ich erst bestätigen muss bevor es weiter geht. Da das Programm eigentlich über mehrer Tage/Wochen im Hintergrund laufen soll passt mir das gar nicht wenn ich alle Stunde überprüfen muss ob die Stapelverabeitung noch läuft.

 

Ich hoffe es gibt jemanden der mir helfen kann. Ich bin über jede hilfreiche Antwort glücklich.

 

Gruß

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 12, 2012 5:57 AM   in reply to ChristofFelix

    Regarding 1) This is indeed a serious problem and a step back in

    functionality compared with previous versions. There doesn't seem to be a

    way around it, at the moment... I would suggest reporting it to Adobe

    (here: https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform) and

    ask them to bring back the option to select the file type which an Action

    processes.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 14, 2012 1:40 PM   in reply to ChristofFelix

    Hello Herr Christof (is that right?)

     

    For the first part of the issue you have reported, I have filed an engineering change (new feature, esentially) request that we add filters for file types for Acrobat 12.  For the time being I cannot think of a workaround other than (a) either the painstaking separation of the PDFs you wish to process into a target folder (yes, I agree is impractical), or (b) that you use the method of selecting the files - rather than the folder - to be processed, and then sort/order the file types within a directory so you can hand-select only the PDFs, which then appear singly in the file list in Actions.

     

    Neither of these solutions is great, I agree.  But with A12 we hope to be able to address your concern.  If you really look at the new Actions framework in Acrobat 11, you will agree that we have placed more user emphasis on processing single or smaller sets of files by using more tools and customizations that haven't been available to us in the past, either in the older 'Batch Porcessing" tool, or in Acrobat 10's Actions tool.  The way we have also created the default Actions refelct this approach as well.

     

    What gets lost "auf der Strecke" is the older approach of Batch Processing a large number of files.

     

    However the user above who suggested to "bring back the option to select file type" is not quite accurate, since we never had file type filters for input, only outputting files.  There was an input file type selector when running explicit conversions to PDF, but this is different.  This is therefore nothing to "bring back", and no regression has taken place here.

     

    Lastly, I am not quite sure I understand what your number 2 issue is - and as I am also fluent in German, I have read and re-read both language version descriptions of the problem (which are a little different!), and still don't quite get it.  It sounds like that

    1. you initiated an Action on a bunch of files

    2. but the app stops with a prompt that the file is being used by someone else (?)

     

    How can that be exactly?  - is the folder to be processed residing on a server? I could understand that you may get Save prompts that require a constant attending to the Action execution, but if the application is reporting that the file is in use elsewhere by someone else - or by the app itself for something else - then that is a bug.

     

    Can you illuminate this problem a little more, and if possible provide exact steps to reproduce?

     

    Thanks

    Mark Tezak

     

    PS: as many of our users prefer English, even the non-native speakers, you can go ahead and post in German and I can translate - or you can also provide an English translation if you feel comfortable enough with it.  You apologized above for your English, but your English is actually quite excellent.  But if there is something you can only say in German, go ahead and do so.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 1:58 AM   in reply to Mark Tezak

    Mark Tezak wrote:


    I have filed an engineering change (new feature, esentially) request that we add filters for file types for Acrobat 12.


    So it's going be at least another year and a half now before this is fixed? Jesus... I guess something is better than nothing, though.

     

     

    What gets lost "auf der Strecke" is the older approach of Batch Processing a large number of files.

     

    Is this a joke? What's the point of having batch processing capabilities if not for processing a large number of files?

    I know Acrobat tends to choke when it runs a very large Action, but I always considered this a bug, not a feature...

     

     

    However the user above who suggested to "bring back the option to select file type" is not quite accurate, since we never had file type filters for input, only outputting files.  There was an input file type selector when running explicit conversions to PDF, but this is different.  This is therefore nothing to "bring back", and no regression has taken place here.

     

     

    You're wrong. I can send you screenshots and detailed descriptions from earlier versions, but it was certainly possible to filter the type of files processed (input files) when running an action, any type of action (not just when converting to PDF). This feature has been removed.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 3:53 AM   in reply to Gilad D (try67)

    For starters, let's refer to your original post: "this is indeed a serious problem and step back in functionality..."  This statement is a quite ridiculous assertion, unnecessarily dramatic, wholly inaccurate, and unhelpful.  Your statement "is this a joke" and "I know Acrobat tends to choke...etc..." is just pure gibberish and polemical.   It is quite easy to feed any application enough data to cause a performance failure, but one would really need to question one's motive and prudent use of one's time at this point - unless you are tasked with stress and load testing the software to determine minimum working requirements.  

     

    'Batch Processing' is, since Acrobat 9.x, dead and gone, Acrobat 11's approach is to aggregate many hitherto unavailable tools and commands and allow the user to create custom workflows.  More interactivity has been built into the process, which may or may not be desirable in each case depending on the workflow context and requirements.  But we have obviously moved away from the concept of processing a large number of files and towards a more targeted and effective processing of smaller sets of files.  The default Actions we deliver with Acrobat 11 reflect this intention.

     

    The feature "Batch Processing", which was an Acrobat feature from A5 (I believe) up to A9, previously had been hidden in Menu/Advanced/Document Processing/Batch Processing has been wholly replaced by a completely overhauled framework called Actions, now part of the Tools panel, and will be immediately accessible when Tools is called in the UI.

     

    Thus the obscured Batch Processing may have been a tool considered and used by an extremely small set of users to do exactly that, i.e., batch process a large number of files, but had been fairly inflexible, generally speaking, and buggy.  We were very well aware that if we were to overhaul the feature, add a considerably larger number of available tools and commands in Acrobat, provide wide possibilities for customization built towards specific workflows, and bring it to the forefront, we were going to sacrifice some of the aspects of batch processing a large number of files.  Not calling it "Batch Processing" anymore - because it isn't - may be an indication of this intention.

     

    Personally I have used and tested Batch Processing periodically during various Acrobat projects, but I don't remember encountering the "Reduce File Size" command - which is a subset of Save and file optimization -  to use within a batch sequence.  I may be wrong, and your screen shots would be welcome here.  In fact go ahead and construct a batch sequence that (1) uses 'Reduce File Size and (2) applies file type filters to it, and post it either here or to me privately.  I would be happy to be wrong.  But regardless, we are grateful for positive input that points out defects, allows us to improve the functionality of the product, providing the intended changes are reasonable, and that the communication of said issues remain respectful of this process and of the individuals we depend upon to implement these changes.  The tone of your response comes very close to rendering a proper consideration of this issue irrelevant.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 4:22 AM   in reply to ChristofFelix

    Hi Felix,

     

    Thank you for your reply and input!

     

    It is possible within the new Actions framework in Acrobat 11, to create a custom Action which (a) draws from a scanner or scanned file as the file source, then (b) runs 'Reduce File Size' as an optimization on the file BEFORE it gets placed/moved/copied into the file repository on a server.

     

    In this case your problem could easily be solved if the users, rather than simply scan files into JPEGs or PDFs, and then let the optimization occur downstream with the attending complications, employ a custom Action directly while scanning.

     

    I will help you build such an Action if you would like - but for now I would direct you to the Actions customization dialog (appearing when 'Create a New Action' is called from the Action Toolset in the Right-Hand Panel), and select "From a scanner" as file source.  Then add the command 'Reduce file size'.  You can also provide user instructions in the description fields and give it a meaningful title for your users.

     

    But there is also a new default Action called "Optimize Scanned Documents" present in the list of pre-canned Actions in Acrobat 11, that may be worth a look as well, which not only immediately reduces the file size after scanning, but also allows the user to tag each file with metadata via the Document Properties dialog, as well as runs the built-in OCR (optical character recognition) available within Acrobat to make the file searchable and editable as text.  This could possibly represent an enhancement of your workflow.

     

    This won't solve your problem with the mountain of data of mixed file types you already have on your servers - there still may be a better existing workaround you can employ now, and I am asking around for ideas - but can solve this problem going forward from here.

     

    Please do feel free to contact me either in the forum or privately for any other issues and/or concerns.

     

    Best wishes,

    Mark

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 12:20 PM   in reply to Mark Tezak

    I was trying to have a serious conversation about this issue, but it seems you're more interested in issuing personal insults, which I'm not interested in at all.

     

    The bottom line is that it seems that Adobe has abandoned one of the more useful features that Acrobat Pro had, batch processing multiple files, and choose to replace it with a watered-down version, the Action Wizard. I was under the impression that this tool was supposed to be able to handle large amounts of files, but it seems I was wrong. If I had to guess, I would say that what most other users (and experts) think about this issue is closer to my original thoughts than to your explanation.

    The fact that it has a new name and location doesn't mean much, either, as Adobe often changes the name and location of many of the tools in Acrobat, even though their functionality remains pretty much the same. Also, the fact that the type of files used for both Actions and batch processes is the same (SEQU, although in XI it is suddenly XML-based, and not very backwards-compatible) was a hint that the two might be related, but I guess not...

     

    About selecting the input file types: I was not talking about the Reduce File Size-command specifically, but this option was available whenever you selected to run an Action (or a batch process) on a given folder (irregardless of the commands used). In Acrobat X, for example, it looked like this (you get this dialog by clicking the settings icon next to the Start With drop-down):

    Snap1.png

    If you unticked all of these options, the Action would only process PDF files. This functionality is no longer available.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 12:52 PM   in reply to Gilad D (try67)

    Some of what you previously expressed was a serious attempt to participate in the discussion, but some of it was unfortunately snarky and sarcastic, e.g., 'what a joke', "Jesus, something better than nothing', 'so we'll have to wait two years', etc.  Maybe other support personel will tolerate this nonsense, but I do not.  There are too many people trying way too hard to create this product to have their efforts simply dismissed, because a niche functionality you deem as "serious" has been moved elsewhere.

     

    And now you say "a watered down version" and complaining about the lack of backwards compatibility.  Please continue to use Acrobat 9.x, if this is what you find most useful for your particular needs.  We were well aware that with such a large feature as Actions, there would inevitably be users of Batch who would miss one or another thing, but we can acknowledge that, and still work towards further enhancements.  The latest Actions implementation in Acrobat is an enormous effort and powerful feature.  It is myopic to express the negative opinion that it is all "watered down" because a file type selector dialog is missing.

     

    Your screen capture doesn't illustrate an Action designed to "Reduce the File Size", this is the original user issue.  I am not certain that Acrobat 5-9 nor Acrobat 10 offered the user access to the file optimizations when saving, which is what "Reduce File Size" does.  There are also other tools that accept only PDF as a file format (again, which is the concern of the original poster), such as Preflight Droplets.  These are all highly customizable and offer the user different paths towards file optimization - unattended.

     

    The File Type filter dialog has been replaced with the File Manager in Actions that allows one-off selections of file types (see screen capture below).  I have requested that - following the massive overhaul, upgrade, and enhancements having gone into Batch/Actions in A11 - which you feel is watering down the feature by neglecting to have a file type selector -  that we bring back the concept of file filters. This was expressed in my first mail, to which you began your initial rant.Screen Shot 2012-11-15 at 12.38.18 PM.png

     

    and here is the file filter that appears once the user selects "Add Files...":

    Screen Shot 2012-11-15 at 12.47.58 PM.png

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 1:03 PM   in reply to Mark Tezak

    You keep twisting my words... I said before that I'm not just referring to this specific command, but to the general functionality of the Actions/batch processes.

    And when I said it's watered-down I wasn't talking about the file type selector, but about your claim that the Action Wizard is not meant to process a large number of files.

    And the workaround you suggested is only helpful if you want to process a single folder, but if you want to process an entire folder hierarchy, it's useless because you'll have to go folder by folder and select the files in each one.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 16, 2012 5:26 AM   in reply to ChristofFelix

    Hi Felix,

     

    there is a workaround to solve your problem, namely by employing the file filters you see in the 2nd screen capture above - except that you need to process the files on a folder-by-folder basis:

     

    1. do 'Create New Action...' in Actions tools

    2. add "Reduce File Size" to the column on the right "Action steps to show"

    3. deselect prompt user, select the prefs (Specify Settings) for this command, it is set to "Retain Existing"

    4. add any decsriptive text, add title of Action upon exiting dialog

    5. the new Action now appeaers at the top of the Actions list, select it

    6. at the top of the Actions column, select "Add files..." by clicking on that name once

    7. navigate to a folder which does not contain any subfolders

    8. the folder contents will now appear in an Open dialog, all documents, regardless of file type are active

    9. select the drop-down menu "Show", where "All supported formats" is selected by default and select : "Adobe PDF Files"

    10. confirm that once this is selected, all of the non-PDF files are now inactive (have become slightly grayed out and cannot be selected)

    11. now with the mouse, do shift-click selection of all of the PDFs you wish to process

    12. the files now all appear in the panel of Files to be Processed

    >> one could argue here that the selection process is now better than previously, since the user has now much more flexibility to select certain PDF to process and others to exclude here

    13. before the Action is started, select-hold the "Select Files..." drop-down, at the bottom is 'Manage Files", select this entry

    14. you now have an overview of all files to process, you may now create the order in which they are to be processed >> another improvement over the previous versions of this feature!

    15. going forward, train your users to employ the default Action "Oprtimize for Scanned Documents"

     

    Thanks

    Mark

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 16, 2012 5:31 AM   in reply to Gilad D (try67)

    Nobody has "twisted" anything, I have fed your own quotes and bad attitude right directly back to you.  Please spend more time looking at the feature to learn it, rather than posting non-productive mails and jaded opinions about the product.

     

    Actions is a far more powerful and flexible tool now than it has ever been, but for the particular use case we are discussing, we need to provide more granular file selection, and I have submitted the feature request through the proper channels.  We were aware - as I have repeatedly stated - that some users would miss certain things about Batch, but we would collect data and add these features back into the product.  It is by no means, nor definition of the word, a "serious problem".

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 19, 2012 8:12 AM   in reply to ChristofFelix

    92,000 folders full of bloated PDFs is a lot of wrong to make right, even with automation.  Let me ask around. 

    You definitely may need to contract a third-party to correct a problem of this magnitude.

     

    Thanks

    Mark

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 8:44 PM   in reply to ChristofFelix

    Hi Christof

     

    I have spoken to the developers internally, as I suspected, the Acrobat 11 desktop product is unsuited to satisfy the magnitude and demands of your particular issue.

     

    I have discovered however that our Adobe LiveCycle product is indeed suitable and contains the proper file optimization code to properly address your issue.  The problem with this is that the product is, for the single function you need at the moment, a fairly expensive proposition, since you'll need to acquire it.  The LC Product Manager has however supplied me with a couple of third party service providers who already employ the LiveCycle server, and will be able to optimize your files.

     

    I have sent you a private message with their contact details.  For now with regard to Acrobat 11, and as I have filed an engineering change order to include better file type selectors in Acrobat 12, I will consider this issue as closed.

     

    Thanks

    Mark

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 19, 2013 9:37 PM   in reply to Mark Tezak

    Hi Mark

     

    I dont want to hi-jack a thread but my question is directly related to the last post - I am also looking for a way to batch process files that are across multiple folders.  There are numerous files that need to be reduced in size to make web ready.  Going forward we will advise users to take more care in creating pdfs to ensure smaller file sizes.  Would it be possible to provide me with the same 3rd party service providers you mention in the post above?

     

    Thank you in advance for your help.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2014 11:25 AM   in reply to Mark Tezak

    It has been over a year, and still no progress.  I am stuck in a similar situation to the OP, though only 18k folders, but we get CDs from clients with sometimes hundreds of documents that need to be added.  Only about a third of the files are PDF, the others might be doc, ppt, jpg, txt etc.  But the original formats need to be maintained.  I know I was able to do this in the past and now I have to try and find a license for Acrobat Pro 9 so that I can have a simple option of  file types.  While I am grateful for some of the new actions available, it does certainly seem like a step back for managing large numbers of PDF files.

     
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