I received a PDF file from a client that I need to print. I want to flatten the PDF using Acrobat Preflight Flattener Previewer but I am not getting the desired results I am expecting. The transparency issue is the shadow of the text which is in Overlay blending mode doesn't flatten correctly.

Original PDF

Original view of the PDF

My Settings

Flatten PDF Settings

After using Flattener Previewer

After using Flattener Previewer

  • Any other options besides rasterizing the PDF?
  • Should I re-save it as a different PDF?
  • 2
    I don't understand why you need to flatten the image. What is stopping you from just printing it as it is? – Billy Kerr Sep 29 '18 at 10:34
  • @BillyKerr The graphic will not print correctly. – AndrewH Oct 1 '18 at 12:52
  • What do you mean by "will not print correctly". What is actually wrong when you print it? Is something missing or what? What application was used to create the PDF? – Billy Kerr Oct 1 '18 at 13:37
  • @BillyKerr The printed graphic looks the same as if I flattened the PDF using Acrobat, so I lose the shadow of the text. I didn't make the graphic so I am not sure what program is used. – AndrewH Oct 1 '18 at 13:47
  • Can the PDF be opened up in Illustrator or something, so that you can perhaps fix it? Sounds like it probably needs more than just flattening in Acrobat. I think this is difficult to answer when we don't know how the PDF was constructed. – Billy Kerr Oct 1 '18 at 13:58

I was involved in a project where we did general optimizations of PDF for output, but it is not quite present right now.

As far as I remember, the only way to properly output such pages is to rasterize. Important, in order to get the best possible quality JPEG for the compression of color images; use ZIP. JPEG will, even in highest quality, create artefacts.

You may see if converting text to outlines (and maybe strokes too) will lead to usable results.

  • Ended up exporting the PDF as a TIFF and that was fine. I will continue to do that. I tried different PDF Standards and still had issues. – AndrewH Nov 1 '18 at 19:17

Place the PDF in InDesign and export a new PDF using the PDFX-4 preset. I have had a lot of success with this method. It seems to generate a much more RIP-friendly PDF.


Instead of flattening in Acrobat, it might be better to bring the PDF into Photoshop and flatten it into an image that way. I would think that would preserve the appearance better.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.