18 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2017 9:38 AM by gkaiseril

    How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC

    trevorc26844455 Level 1

      Im just trying to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat and I cant figure out how to do it. This is rediculous. so frustrated. I went to the layers tab and opened the option menu but the is no option to flatten. Please make this easier. Why do I not have an option to do this. or why is it so hidden. stupid!!!!!!!!!! so much easier in Bluebeam.

        • 1. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
          gkaiseril MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          One needs Acrobat Professional to have access to the Prefight flatten feature or one needs to use the JavaScript "this.flattenPages()".. Flattening only flattens annotations (comments, text boxes, lines, etc.) and form fields.

           

          You can use preflight to flatten layers, but layers in a PDF is not always like layers in an image. All the layers visisble will flattened to I layer. That includes text content and image content but images will still be images.

          • 2. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
            Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

            Flatten means at least 3 different things in a PDF, and none of them relate to images. So please explain what you want to happen, and we may be able to help you get to your aim.

            • 3. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
              trevorc26844455 Level 1

              I have a PDF with a image that I can select and move around within the PDF, I want this image to be flattened onto the document so when I click on the image it wont select the image. Or when I add a comment to a PDF and then I want to flatten it so nobody can alter my comment.

              It is a simple button 'Flatten' on other programs I have used. With Adobe Acrobat its like I have to know how to write code in order for it to do what I want.

              • 4. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                trevorc26844455 Level 1

                what is 'preflight flatten feature' and where do I find it. my god this program is confusing. I am not going to use Java script just to flatten a PDF, that's ridiculous. I will switch to a different program before I do that.

                 

                Can you just send me a link to the most applicable user guide and I can read that. I have been searching all day and cant find what I need.

                • 5. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                  paulp49996788 Level 1

                  I am a lawyer who files documents on the websites for the US courts, particularly the US bankruptcy court.  I use Acrobat Professional XI. From time to time I file a PDF court form with fillable fields which I have filled in.  I used to "flatten" these particular docs by printing the PDF to PDF.

                   

                  There has either been an update to the US courts system, to Adobe Acrobat, or maybe my Word program.  In any event, I only have the choice "Microsoft Print to PDF" when I print inside the Acrobat program, and I cannot form a "flattened" image.

                   

                  Last week I tried again to "flatten" the image, but could not and I filed the doc with the courts without flattening.  The court called and pointed out the problem is that without flattening, the fillable fields in the doc I filed can be further edited by anyone.

                   

                  So, how do I flatten, or what more info do you need to know.

                  • 6. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                    Karl Heinz Kremer Adobe Community Professional

                    As you’ve probably read, flattening a file can mean a number of different things. Because you are specifically referring to form fields, I assume that flattening interactive content is all you need to do. There should be no need to actually print the document to PDF (or, what we usually refer to as "refrying" the PDF file). You can install a free flattening tool that allows you to convert interactive content to static PDF content (and then it's indistinguishable from any non-forms related PDF content). You can find such a tool here for example:

                     

                    Free Acrobat Automation Tools

                     

                    Look for the "Flatten Page Content Tool" on that page.

                    • 7. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                      mattinfll Level 1

                      OK, this is insane.  I have been using Bluebeam and another program for a few years, and purchased Standard DC with a new computer.  We all know what flatten means.  The last time I had Acrobat Pro it was a standard menu command.  It's easy to find in Bluebeam, etc.  You flatten a document so that all the elements and layers become one on the page and uneditable.  These responses of "what do you mean by flatten" are maddening.  You all know there used to be a "flatten" command in drop down menus.

                      • 8. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                        gkaiseril MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        With JavaScript and folder level files one can add custom commands to the Acrobat/Reader menu bar or tool bars. I do not remember seeing this as a provided command in previous versions. But many posters here have provided a JavaScript file that can be used to add such a command with many possible options for the flattening process. With Acrobat Pro there is a Pre-flight tool to flatten a PDF file.  For versions prior to the introduction of the Acrobat Pro variation, the Pre-Flight processing was part of Acrobat.

                        • 9. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                          mattinfll Level 1

                          Reader never had the ability to flatten (at least in older versions).  Pro always did (when I used it, about 5 years ago and longer).  I just find it frustrating that some replies on here ask the question "what do you mean flatten."  It's a well known term and function among those of us that edit and create pdfs on a regular basis.

                           

                          I bought into Standard DC thinking it was an upgrade from Reader.  But for me, it is not much of one.  I'm not going to try and write script commands.  Thank you for replying though.  Acrobat Pro is $199 to upgrade.  Other software programs that doe as much are much less expensive out of the box.

                          • 10. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                            gkaiseril MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                            There are any number of free flattening scripts that you could add to your Acrobat Standard to add the "flattening" menu option.

                            • 11. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                              try67 MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                              It is a "well-known term" to you, but as you were told it can mean at least three different things to different people.

                              All of the people who answered your questions so far were doing their best to help you out, in their own free time I might add, so at least show a bit of gratitude.

                              Anyway, if you don't like the replies you're getting feel free to look for the information on your own. Or contact Adobe Customer Support and see how far that gets you.

                              • 12. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                                mattinfll Level 1

                                You are reading way too much into my comments, but nonetheless, I stand by them.  "flatten" is and has been a standard menu item across most pdf editing platforms (including Acrobat Pro).  And most of the people, like me, who replied here looking for an answer, were also dumbfounded that our use of the term would be a mystery. I was not rude and I think you  missed the part where I said "thank you for your reply" .

                                 

                                At any rate, my frustration is ultimately with Adobe.  I am upset I paid for a program that is really no better to me than their free Reader, and now I will have to spend another $150 for Nitro or Foxit to get a function that should be pretty basic.

                                • 13. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                                  mattinfll Level 1

                                  Again, thank you for your attempt to help me (if that was not clear, I apologize).  I would just rather have a full function editor all set to go. Standard is clearly not it.

                                  • 14. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                                    Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                    @Matthew Moore,

                                     

                                    On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated and as a member of Acrobat development organization, I feel that it is important to clean the air here:

                                     

                                    (1)     Adobe endorses the comments of others on this thread that there isn't a single meaning to the word “flattening” when it comes to PDF!  Regrettably, there are at least three separate meanings to the word “flattening.”

                                     

                                    The first relates to “transparency flattening” in which all objects that are not 100% opaque are “flattened” / blended into totally opaque objects.

                                     

                                    The second relates to reducing the number of “layers” defined in a PDF file to a single layer.

                                     

                                    The third relates to taking annotations including forms fields (forms fields are actually PDF annotations) and merging (i.e., “flattening”) them into the PDF file's content streams — such “flattened” content no longer are editable as annotations or fillable/selectable as form fields.

                                     

                                    A fourth, much less common use of the term “flattening” is to convert all content on each page of a PDF file into one, big honk'in raster image in the mistaken belief that this somehow provides more “protection” to the PDF file (it doesn't but does significantly increase file size and decrease rendering quality). There was never a drop down menu in any Acrobat version to do this!!

                                     

                                    (2)     Each of these three functions can be accessed from functions from within Acrobat DC Pro. Transparency flattening is a function within the Print Production Tools. The layer flattening capability is found in the left hand pane's layer's palette drop down menu and is only active if your PDF file has more than one layer. The flattening of annotations (including form fields) into the PDF content stream is available as a fixup under Preflight or alternatively can be performed via JavaScript. These options are not and have never been to my knowledge part of Acrobat Standard, a product aimed at the more simple needs of office workers and casual users.

                                     

                                    (3)     In terms of what you describe, You flatten a document so that all the elements and layers become one on the page and uneditable sounds like a combination of the third and fourth interpretations of “flattening” per above, except that even if you “flatten” annotations and form fields into the content stream and then convert the page into a raster image within the PDF file, the content is still editable via Photoshop.

                                     

                                              - Dov

                                    • 15. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                                      mattinfll Level 1

                                      Dov - respectfully, while it has been quite a few years since I used Acrobat Pro, there was a "flatten" command in one of the main drop down menus.  Whatever it may have meant technically, it did what I needed it to do.  I don't think I'm imagining it, since I worked with PDF's on a mostly daily basis.  But I suppose I could be experiencing a senior moment.

                                       

                                      However, I am able to perform similar functions in Foxit and Nitro Pro quite easily - which I use on my other machines.  Since it came as an option on my new Dell, I thought I would give Acrobat a chance, especially since the description promised editing functions.  But today, when I went to do something I do all the time in other programs (and which I swear I also did easily in the last version of Pro I used) - I could not.  And I discovered Standard DC, which was not cheap, cannot perform the function (unless I start installing scripts - and that is not my expertise).  And Adobe wants $200 for me to upgrade to Pro after I already spent money on Standard.  I am unsure why Adobe charges $500 for Pro as a standalone, when other programs do the same for $150.  It's frustrating. 

                                      • 16. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                                        Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                        mattinfll  wrote

                                         

                                        Dov - respectfully, while it has been quite a few years since I used Acrobat Pro, there was a "flatten" command in one of the main drop down menus.  Whatever it may have meant technically, it did what I needed it to do.  I don't think I'm imagining it, since I worked with PDF's on a mostly daily basis.  But I suppose I could be experiencing a senior moment.

                                         

                                        However, I am able to perform similar functions in Foxit and Nitro Pro quite easily - which I use on my other machines.  Since it came as an option on my new Dell, I thought I would give Acrobat a chance, especially since the description promised editing functions.  But today, when I went to do something I do all the time in other programs (and which I swear I also did easily in the last version of Pro I used) - I could not.  And I discovered Standard DC, which was not cheap, cannot perform the function (unless I start installing scripts - and that is not my expertise).  And Adobe wants $200 for me to upgrade to Pro after I already spent money on Standard.  I am unsure why Adobe charges $500 for Pro as a standalone, when other programs do the same for $150.  It's frustrating. 

                                         

                                        The “flatten” in the menus was strictly for transparency flattening, nothing more and nothing less (and was probably actually labelled “flattener preview” or something similar). That function still remains in Acrobat Pro DC although the UI to access same is significantly different. But again, if what you want is the capability rasterizing the entire page to allegedly prevent modification (which it doesn't), that was never a menu item or any other function within any version of Acrobat strictly for the purpose of rasterizing all the contents of a page (or document). Transparency flattening may have the side effect of rasterizing page contents if the appropriate options are selected and page content contains large amounts of existing transparency but has no effect on pages without any existing transparency. And again, there is nothing about rasterizing content that protects the content from being modified.

                                         

                                                  - Dov

                                        • 17. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                                          Karl Heinz Kremer Adobe Community Professional

                                          It is possible that what you remember was not part of Acrobat, but something added to a menu by JavaScript or an Acrobat plug-in.

                                          • 18. Re: How to flatten an image in Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
                                            gkaiseril MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                            Widgets for Adobe Acrobat : Selective Flattener by UVSAR

                                            Flatten Form Fields and Comment using a FREE Acrobat X Action by Acrolaw Blog

                                            Free Acrobat Automation Tools by pdFScriptiong

                                             

                                            If Adobe did not want users to create new tools not included in the basic product they would not have included the JavaScript methods to create and add the tools.