7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 16, 2013 9:52 AM by Peter Spier

    How to create small size PDFs with reasonable quality images?

    skipmc

      Help me Obiwan Adobe!

       

      There seem to be several utilities around the web that claim to do this, but I figured I'd ask the experts first. There must be some sort of step by step technique outlined somewhere that enables you to create PDFs that have reasonable image quality but don't come with such extreme weight that they can't be emailed.

       

      I have seen suggestions ranging from using the Print to PDF function in InDesign (sometimes that works, sometimes not), to exporting out of InDesign using the PDF/X1a preset (used to work ok, but now does not seem to crunch the files down as much as they used to) to adjusting preferences to a lower screen resolution—not in the export or save as dialog box—then saving as reduced size. I've tried almost every technique I have seen but to no avail.

       

      So I assume there is something I am missing. In builiding an InDesign file that you want to severely compress, is it better to use JPEGs or other PDFs or something else for placed images?

       

      I know it is alot to ask, and clearly native Acrobat functions are not much help, but I have several uses for this. I do a lot of book design and prefer to send drafts to clients that are at least good enough for them to look at without fuzzy images. I also would like to put together a portfolio PDF document that does not require sending through FTP. In fact most places that ask for my portfolio PDF want it smaller than 1.5 MB. That seems to be impossible.

       

      So there you go. Somebody needs to write a book. In fact, if I get some good direction, maybe I'll do it.

       

      Thanks

       

      (Also posted in Acrobat forum.)

        • 1. Re: How to create small size PDFs with reasonable quality images?
          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          1.5 MB is a tiny file. There's just so much you can do to pack quality

          into that kind of package.

          • 2. Re: How to create small size PDFs with reasonable quality images?
            skipmc Level 1

            Bob, Thanks for the reply.

             

            Yes it is tiny. And you would think that a publisher would understand that. Still that is often what they ask for. (Sometimes even smaller.) For the most part I would be happy to come in around 5 MB. That is usually still viable for email.

             

            In the end, what I really want is suggestions on how to build the original InDesign file (esp. what kind of images to use) to optimize compression when I get to that stage.

            • 3. Re: How to create small size PDFs with reasonable quality images?
              peter minneapolis Level 4

              If your PDF will be printed to any kind of quality requirement, it's best to stick with Adobe's own PDF tools for creation and slimming, rather than third-party.

               

              Whatever choices you make for processing multiple PDFs, full Acrobat offers batch operations.

               

              Depending on your clients' needs, you could consider providing several file sizes. For example, a small one with marginal graphic quality for email, and links to larger files of better quality. If bandwidth and download time are issues for clients, perhaps create a link from each marginal-quaity graphic in your small PDF to a single better-quality downloadable graphic.

               

              An option for reducing file size instead of lowering resolution or using lossier compression, is to consider creating images with fewer bits-per-pixel. This would affect color more than detail. Just a thought.

               

               

              HTH

               

               

              Regards,

               

               

              Peter

              _______________________

              Peter Gold

              KnowHow ProServices

               

              skipmc wrote:

               

              Help me Obiwan Adobe!

               

              There seem to be several utilities around the web that claim to do this, but I figured I'd ask the experts first. There must be some sort of step by step technique outlined somewhere that enables you to create PDFs that have reasonable image quality but don't come with such extreme weight that they can't be emailed.

               

              I have seen suggestions ranging from using the Print to PDF function in InDesign (sometimes that works, sometimes not), to exporting out of InDesign using the PDF/X1a preset (used to work ok, but now does not seem to crunch the files down as much as they used to) to adjusting preferences to a lower screen resolution—not in the export or save as dialog box—then saving as reduced size. I've tried almost every technique I have seen but to no avail.

               

              So I assume there is something I am missing. In builiding an InDesign file that you want to severely compress, is it better to use JPEGs or other PDFs or something else for placed images?

               

              I know it is alot to ask, and clearly native Acrobat functions are not much help, but I have several uses for this. I do a lot of book design and prefer to send drafts to clients that are at least good enough for them to look at without fuzzy images. I also would like to put together a portfolio PDF document that does not require sending through FTP. In fact most places that ask for my portfolio PDF want it smaller than 1.5 MB. That seems to be impossible.

               

              So there you go. Somebody needs to write a book. In fact, if I get some good direction, maybe I'll do it.

               

              Thanks

               

              (Also posted in Acrobat forum.)

              • 4. Re: How to create small size PDFs with reasonable quality images?
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                Image file format isn't as important in ID as how you compress it in the PDF (though for "artificial" images might benefit from being saved as .png or .gif), but for any given image, RGB will be approximately 75% of the size of CMYK, and grayscale only 25%, so keeping the color in a appropriate mode will help.

                 

                As far as compression goes, if you use jpeg, reducing the quality slightly can make a big difference in size without making much impact in visual appearance on screen, but don't paln on printing a file that's heavily stepped on. Just how small a file will get from compression is also unpredictable, but the less fine detail there is and the more areas of uniform color the more it's likely to compress.

                 

                The biggest place you can reduce image size is always by cutting the resolution. Again, as long as you don't need to print you can reduce quite a bit, and desktop printers can get by with as little as 100ppi and still give "acceptable" quality prints most of the time.

                 

                The best way to know what you can do is to run the PDF Optimizer and click the Audit Space Usage buttton in the upper right corner. That will tell you what you might be able to reduce in the optimizer itself.

                • 5. Re: How to create small size PDFs with reasonable quality images?
                  skipmc Level 1

                  Thanks for the response. I am not all that concerned with print quality, merely on screen (including the higher resolution of the new iPads).

                  • 6. Re: How to create small size PDFs with reasonable quality images?
                    skipmc Level 1

                    Thanks, Peter. I am curious what you mean by "artificial" images? I am also wondering if .png images across the board might result in smaller file sizes. Illustrator does a remarkable job at saving for MS Office, resulting in small, but clear .png files.

                    • 7. Re: How to create small size PDFs with reasonable quality images?
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      Artificial images are paintings/drawings as opposed to real photos.