So I purchased a CV template, which came as a multi layered PSD file, which I edited in Photoshop and now want to convert/save as PDF. Photoshop has this option, but I am not sure what are the best settings for the best size/quality ratio. I want to keep the option to select text in the PDF.

Should I use Photoshop to save it as PDF or another program to do the PSD>PDF conversion?

Thank you.

  • 9
    Do not use photoshop for a CV... its just totally whacked. I mean you can do it but just dont, its the wrong tool for the job. Does it work? Sure kindof but then your question tells it all. Best is not defined. Wellcome to GD.SE tough.
    – joojaa
    Oct 6, 2014 at 23:15
  • 1
    I already used it and it looks pixel perfect. My question was regarding the PSD to PDF conversion ;) Oct 6, 2014 at 23:46
  • 2
    Yes but that is the problem photoshop thinks a page is pixels, its not. Photoshop can not use different resolutions in different places for example. The page you make will allways be inferior in many ways. Not a good idea for documents. Your files as a result will allways be larger than needed, and if anybody care to examine them innapropriateness of format would be obvious.
    – joojaa
    Oct 7, 2014 at 0:19
  • 2
    You are not helping :( Oct 7, 2014 at 0:32
  • Whats here to help the settings tweaking wont save you from the main issue, your page is one huge image. Anyway you need to set the settings as low as you can personally accept and loose pixel perfection.
    – joojaa
    Oct 7, 2014 at 0:34

3 Answers 3


Based on some of the responses, I have finally found the solution. I built my resume in PSD and then opened the file with Illustrator using the 'objects only' function. Then I saved the file (with no compression) to PDF at maximum and WOW.

Photoshop would save the PDF at maxmimum compression to about 2MB but the quality was not good at all. Text would have issues.

Illustrator got the image quality perfect and file size down to 200KB. All text is still able to be highlighted and copied.


In all instanced below.. save a copy... do not overwrite your original .psd file.

  • For web or email delivery - Simply save the PDF as High Quality Print. Then open the PDF in Reader or Acrobat and check it. The text should still be selectable. Check the files size (kb) and see if it's relative to the content. For electronic delivery (like most CVs), you'll want to keep the file size as low as possible. If the file size is several hundred kb or a mb or more, you may want to adjust....
    • if file size is too large using High Quality Print, try using the Rich Content PDF job options. This may reduce the file size and keep content selectable. You may also try saving again and unchecking the "Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities" which may reduce file size further.
    • If using the Rich Content PDF option is still producing a large file size, you can try using the Smallest File Size option. However, you'll really want to check the PDF with Reader/Acrobat after saving it. This setting can often outline type or otherwise flatten objects.

None of the above should be used for print production. They are only for electronic delivery.

  • If you want a print production file, save the Photoshop document as a Press Quality PDF or PDF/X-1a:2001. These options will save at the highest possible resolution for the elements. This will however create a much larger file size.
    • As others have posted/commented, a straight Photoshop file isn't always the best solution for print production -- but it's not the "kiss of death" either. It is entirely possible to get a great print production PDF straight from Photoshop.

There are several unknowns here. The structure of the Photoshop file is a mystery to me. It's entirely possible, based on the PSD construction that there won't be a method to reduce file sizes to acceptable electronic delivery sizes, or that type itself can remain selectable in any way. These are merely general guidelines to possibly help.


It's not the best option to create text in Photoshop and then expect to be able to keep that text editable once you created a PDF. By default, the PDF is not really a file you should edit but a "transport" file that you should use for print-ready or to send online.

What I suggest you do is to keep your PSD file as your main editable document, with the layers. And then you should create a separate PDF that you should flatten.

The problem with PDF in Photoshop is the text looking unclear and as a JPG or rasterized image. One way you can avoid this is by opening your Adobe Photoshop layers file (.psd) in Adobe Illustrator.

You will be asked to transform the layers into objects or flatten the layers into one image; choose the "object" option.

Then you can export that new file to a PDF and the text will be sharp and will not show that pixel effect of flattened PDF in Photoshop have.

(More details about converting layers with text in Photoshop here)


I realized I focused my answer way too much on discouraging you from exporting from Photoshop to Illustrator. It does give a better quality PDF but you can save from Photoshop to PDF as well.

So what you'll do to save from Photoshop to PDF is the typical SAVE AS first. You can use or remove the "embedded color profile" if you want. Once optimized, if sent online, it might not matter anyway because maybe there will be a conversion anyway and that kind of data will be strip away.

After this step, you'll get to that window with options where you're probably wondering what to use. The next suggestions will be for a CV sent by email, not a print-ready file.

You can check the "fast web view" on the first section "general". It will optimize your PDF a bit already. You can embed the thumbnail or not, it's up to you. The thumbnail will add a little bit of weight (probably 2kb haha!). Personally, I prefer not adding the thumbnail because I simply like to see my original file format icons.

If you were wondering, you might prefer to use a simple standard .pdf and not use .pdfx for that kind of project.

In the compression section is where you might need to make a few tests depending on how big you want the final PDF file; I guess you should try first with the highest resolution and then lower if if you file is too big. You can start with the "average downsampling to 300ppi" and set a "maximum JPG compression". Since your text is in Photoshop raster, it's suggested to keep the JPG compression to the maximum; and JPG compression does a good job at lowering the size of your file too, the same way as a normal JPG. One note on this, if your template was created at a lower resolution, you might not gain much in saving in higher resolution. You can verify this in Photoshop in the menu "image" > "image size".

The output section is about colors. You can leave it to no conversion if your file was already in RGB and you want to keep it that way. Note that if the template you used has very bright greens and blues, the person who'll print the PDF might see a change in the colors. I guess it's not a big deal unless you're sending this for a job in a print shop ;) For the profile, you can select the "Don't include profile".

You can ignore the security section but make sure there's no security setting on. You probably won't need it and if you do, it's something you can always add later with Acrobat Pro. Using passwords for printing and such can be very annoying for the person receiving the file, as you guess.

You're done with that part, you can click "save".

Now... maybe your PDF will be huge in size (mb)! If you have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can always optimize that file again using the tricks in the link below. The instructions were originally for Word but the way to optimize in Acrobat is the same. It will help you remove all the "useless" and invisible data from your PDF and lower its size.

File Size issue when exporting from Word 2013 to PDF

Otherwise, if you don't have access to Acrobat Pro, you can always try to do the steps above but lower your resolution each time. For an online PDF that might get printed on a black and white laser printer or an inkjet, you can lower the resolution to 150-200ppi depending on the size of your text. One way to verify if it will be readable or not if to simply judge by what you see in Acrobat, or even print a copy for yourself.

Extra note: You can always save the "preset" you used in your Photoshop-to-PDF save window if you think you might need it later.

Extra extra note: If the file size and quality is not good enough for you in the end, simply refer to the first part of my post!

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