3 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2014 6:07 AM by Test Screen Name

    pdf vs. .ai format for performance boost

    arjun2 Level 1

      I have an autocad file with hatches and fills. I am composing an A1 size sheet in Indesign.


      Which one will perform the best [i.e. better processing speed of file, faster zoom in and zoom out, faster saves and exports] in InDesign CS6 and give good quality afterwards in printing?


      A pdf exported from AutoCAD?

      An autocad file imported in Illustrator, exported as pdf?

      An autocad file imported in illustrator, saved as the native .ai format?



      I have already been here,







      but can't figure out my answer. I am on a time crunch and need very fast processing. I have a good hardware with 4GB RAM, 2GB graphics card and an i5 processor. Obviously upgrading hardware is an option but I wanna do smart file imports in Indesign.

        • 1. Re: pdf vs. .ai format for performance boost
          Danny Whitehead. Level 4

          My inclination would be towards the fewest conversions or reinterpretations, so the PDF straight from AutoCAD.

          • 2. Re: pdf vs. .ai format for performance boost
            Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

            Unfortunately, there is no simple single answer to your question.


            In general, Danny Whitehead's response represents best workflow practice.


            But there are other considerations here.


            There are at least three ways of producing PDF from AutoCAD other than trying to import the AutoCAD file into Adobe Illustrator.


            (1)     I believe that AutoCAD has its own native PDF export.


            (2)     Adobe provides a PDFMaker plug-in to AutoCAD as part of Adobe Acrobat Pro that also provides what is reported to be a higher quality PDF from AutoCAD.


            (3)     Brute force distillation of PostScript output from AutoCAD by printing to the AdobePDF PostScript printer driver instance installed by Acrobat.


            Furthermore, much depends on the type of models you are exporting from AutoCAD. These could simply be wireframes or schematics or they could be full architectural renderings.


            My advise is to experiment and see what actually works for your given AutoCAD projects and how each particular method either enhances, preserves, or even maybe degrades your original content. Choose what works best.


            We'd be interested in knowing what you find and what you choose!


            Oh,, and by the way, you certainly don't want to use EPS for anything in any modern workflow unless it's the last option available and nothing else works. EPS is so 20th century! 


                      - Dov

            • 3. Re: pdf vs. .ai format for performance boost
              Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

              There are so many variables that no amount of expertise can tell you. You should construct your own text cases.