Thanks for this info Bob
This article gives lots of good info re ID and pds. What I'm still not understanding is why Distiller creates such a small file?
Simple answer: Distiller is an older method of making a PDF that doesn't support a lot of newer PDF features, therefore it cuts out all that stuff by default.
Hi again Bob
Just one further comment/inquiry. I just upgraded my Acrobat Pro software which we use to make PDFs and it still has Distiller as part of its repetoire.
I guess I’m not understanding when you say that Distiller is an ‘older method’
Distiller exists for applications that cannot create a PDF any other way. Those applications, BTW, are becoming fewer and fewer.
Using Distiller has many disadvantages. (1) It's usually a two-step process: First create a PostScript file, then use Distiller. Direct export from InDesign is one step. (2) Distiller strips out and/or doesn't support many features of a modern workflow: Using transparency, including tagging for structure (useful for repurposing a PDF), including metadata, using color management, etc. etc. All of these things are supported by direct export and NOT supported by Distiller. (3) Direct Export lets you use PDF presets or create customized presets. These reduce error and save time.
Distiller was developed at a very early stage in digital publishing, and, for most people, is not desirable or necessary.
As to file size, this is not the big deal it was when people sent files by way of slow modems. These days, it's easy to send larger files via easy interfaces like Dropbox.
Thanks for taking the time to explain.
For us, pdf file size is still VIP. We create a monthly current events magazine for teachers -- we mail it to some and other subscribers download from our website. The 'two step' process you describe is not that inconvenient.
We are not concerned with the file size for the first option, but the second is crucial. In our experience a five meg file (as opposed to one half the size) will create downloading issues (via secure servers and firewalls) and printing issues. In short smallest is best.
I'm just trying to understand the process so that I can make sense of it.