I want to release an AI file saved as a PDF for email blast. When I save my file as a PDF and turn off the editing capabilities it does not seem to work when I open the PDF in Illustrator. I have turned the "create acrobat layers from top-layer levels" off and changed the settings to "PDF/X-4:2008". The compatibility is Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4). Even with all these settings I am still able to manipulate the image in illustrator when saved as a PDF. I'll take any suggestions!!

  • 1
    If you are that concerned about editing, save as a jpg and use that.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 16:26
  • 1
    Oh and while a certain amount of editing will always be possible with a PDF, saving to PDF/X-1a (Acrobat 4/PDF 1.3) will do the most flattening.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 17:19
  • FWIW, people don't tend to want to get PDFs in their emails.
    – DA01
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 22:39

1 Answer 1


Perhaps "Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities" is a bit of a misnomer.

Unless a PDF is locked down with a password, you're always going to be able to open up PDFs in Illustrator. What you'll notice though is that certain things are handled differently when that box is unchecked...Layers are flattened, hidden areas of clipped images are possibly removed, text with ligatures is outlined, and so on. But if that box is checked, there's essentially two files embedded in one, and a lot of Illustrator-specific information is preserved.

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