I have designed my CV in Sketch. I’ve done it in two languages (French and English) in the same file. When I want to export the English version, I turn off the layers which have French text.

However, I notice that when I export my CV as a PDF, the file size is very large (2MB). This is because there are so many layers being exported (even the hidden ones for some reason).

So my question is — is there a way in Sketch to export everything but not export hidden layers?

  • You can use this service smallpdf.com. It can decrease size of pdf file up to 90%.
    – zholdas
    Dec 5, 2015 at 15:09

4 Answers 4


Don’t export your sharable copy to PDF — print it to PDF.

Exporting creates a PDF that is essentially a master digital copy, ready to be opened in Illustrator or another PDF-savvy app for further editing. All the layers and metadata and other information is intact.

Printing creates a PDF that is essentially what you would get if you printed to a sheet of paper and then scanned it back into the computer. This is also called a “flattened” PDF. It is final output for sharing, not editable output for further editing. Sometimes you will see a PDF named similarly to “Cororate_Report_flat.pdf” and the flat means “this is printout, not a master copy.”

Of course, you will want to keep your Sketch document and ideally also an Exported PDF as master copies for future revisions. But you share the printed one.

If you haven’t printed to PDF before, you go File ▶ Print and then there is a little PDF menu on the print dialog where you can choose “Save as PDF.” That printed PDF will be a lot smaller in file size and won’t have any hidden layers.

  • Thanks. I need to try this! Can't upvote you cause I don't have enough points though. Jan 29, 2016 at 8:39
  • 1
    Excellent answer. If only the Print method had the feature to select multiple artboards instead needing to print one at a time then compiling them into 1 PDF in Acrobat, it would save time.
    – Stunami
    Feb 5, 2016 at 0:39

Unfortunately, I've never had this problem so I can't offer an immediate solution. I know that the Layout can sometimes show up on a document, but I've never seen hidden layers.

One possible workaround would be to export all artboards as PNG, and then create a PDF from the image files rather than from Sketch directly.

  • Thanks for your suggestion, but, I’m sending it to recruiters so I want them to be able to copy and paste the text from the PDF into their databases. I’ve ended up just optimising the exported PDF in Acrobat. Nov 30, 2015 at 11:43

An easy way I found was to open the PDF in Preview, then File >> Export... look for Quartz Filter select box >> Choose 'Reduce File Size'. Then Save the PDF.

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I have been using GhostScript to compress the outputted pdfs seems to work quite well although sometimes I do have issues with combinations of masks, gradients andn transparencies:

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -dPDFSETTINGS=/printer -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -sOutputFile=output.pdf input.pdf

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