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How do I get the crispest PDF when saving from Illustrator CS6?

Mar 21, 2013 4:12 PM

Tags: #illustrator #help #font #pdf #type #quality #cs6 #best #fuzzy_type #crisp #crispest #please_adobe_superheros

Help. I am trying to create a presentation and want the absolute best, crispest PDFs possible. Can anyone share tips on how to achieve this?

 

Thanks so much.

 

Kim

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 21, 2013 4:21 PM   in reply to kim93105

    Kim,

     

    As long as you keep everything that is vector artwork as vector you will keep the crispness/smoothness and limitless scaleability without pixelation. If you have raster effects or raster images, the crispness/smoothness depends on the resolution; see Effect>Raster Effects Settings.

     
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    Mar 21, 2013 9:43 PM   in reply to kim93105

    Kim-

    If you add a stroke to text, it will look fuzzy in the PDF, so avoid that. If you want REALLY clean text, convert all the text to outlines, keeping in mind this will increase the file size. Jacob is right, since Illustrator creates vector art (as in outlined), it will always create a super-clean PDF, as clean as the original. If you have placed photos (these are the "raster" images), then you need to make sure they are high enough resolution - 200 ppi minimum for a clean look, as well as make sure the document raster setting matches any placed files. Document raster settings will apply to any affects as well, such as feathering or drop shadows. Finally, using the "High Quality Print" setting for the PDF should suffice for most things, but will make a bigger file than if you use "Smallest File Size." It just depends what the final use for your PDF will be.

    Sorry for getting so technical! Good luck!

     
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    Mar 22, 2013 4:16 AM   in reply to kim93105

    Kim,

     

    There is an undercover setting in Adobe Acrobat/Reader, and you cannot prevent viewers from using it. The proper name is Uglifine (short for Uglify fine details); the official name is Enhance fine lines or something.

     

    Even with that setting on, if you zoom into the PDF you will see the real thing, and it will print in the right way. In any case it may be distressing if the PDF is meant for viewing on screen (similar worries may apply to carefully chosen colours).

     

    And what amsvelogirl said. About outlining, it may be worth mentioning that you will lose hinting, which may be important, especially at small Type sizes.

     
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    Mar 22, 2013 4:17 AM   in reply to amsvelogirl

    amsvelogirl wrote:

     

    Kim-

    If you add a stroke to text, it will look fuzzy in the PDF, so avoid that. If you want REALLY clean text, convert all the text to outlines, keeping in mind this will increase the file size.

     

    No, you shouldn't convert text to outlines. This won't make it look sharper, instead it will look worse when printed and the text won't be functional anymore: can't be copied, can't be searched.

     

    If you have placed photos (these are the "raster" images), then you need to make sure they are high enough resolution - 200 ppi minimum for a clean look, as well as make sure the document raster setting matches any placed files.

     

    document raster settings don't affect placed images. But settings in PDF options dialog box do.

     

    Document raster settings will apply to any affects as well, such as feathering or drop shadows. Finally, using the "High Quality Print" setting for the PDF should suffice for most things, but will make a bigger file than if you use "Smallest File Size." It just depends what the final use for your PDF will be.

     

    "High quality print setting" is only suitable for layout stuff and might even fail on desktop printers, let alone in offset printing. When presenting stuff on screen it might ruin colors, converting them into print profiles.

     

    "Smallest file size" won't have any effect on vector objects, but will definitely ruin any placed images.

     

    @kim: please share some screenshots.

     
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    Mar 22, 2013 2:43 PM   in reply to Monika Gause

    If you don't embed fonts, then outlining text ensures that the font will be the one you want rather than defaulting to Myriad or something, but, yes, it makes a dead file. I wouldn't do it if the PDF were filled with body copy, but would if it was about headline copy. Obviously, all instructions depend on what the final use of the PDF will be - screen viewing, offset printing, desktop printing. If it is just for screen viewing, smallest file size works best as it converts everything to RGB and "de-rezzes" raster art, which works fine on the screen. Not sure why you think the high-quality setting is only suitable for layout-? If all you're gonna do is send to a desktop printer, it works just fine. PDF's made for offset can look bizarre on the screen and there is no need for that much info which just needlessly increases the file size. But of course if you ARE going to press, it's the only way to go.

     

    So, yeah, Kim, what do you need this for?

     
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    Mar 22, 2013 7:38 PM   in reply to kim93105

    Kim, if you use InDesign, that is a much better way to go to do a page layout then export to PDF. But if you don't have InDesign...

     

    If you are only showing this online, then your photos can be rezzed down to even 100 ppi at full size (do not place them in Illustrator and then scale down or up!! Crop and scale in PS first then place in Illustrator!! And make sure they are tiffs not jpegs!!), and keep them RGB. That will save loads of memory. Save as PDF using "Smallest File Size." Also keep the ppi of your Photoshop PDF's down to 100 (this is just a comp, presumably to sell the idea, so no need for 300 ppi!), and that will help. Finally, when you package it into one PDF, again choose "Smallest File Size" for the parameter. You can even reduce the file size AFTER you save it, but there may not be much more you can do to reduce. If you reduce TOO much, the images will obviously suffer.

     

    If the file size is still a bit large, there are online ftp services that allow you to send large files (You Send It, Adobe has one, etc.), which is another option for you. Usually you can use these free for a short period of time.

     

    Voila, good luck to you!

     

    amsv

     
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