I create an A4 document, I add a rectangle with a blue background and then I go to Effects > Texture > Grain with a 19 by 19 grain and when I press save the file is 47MB.

At that point, the file is very slow to work with. How can I create a noise effect that doesn't generate a file that large?


  • You can rasterize the effect, I would check out this question - What exactly does the rasterize effect do in illustrator?
    – AndrewH
    Jan 26, 2016 at 20:12
  • How is "rasterizing" going to help? Wouldn't it be better to set the document effect rasterization to a low number (72) while working on it and then set it to an appropriate resolution for output? For reference, for a single-layer raster image A4 (close to 8.5. x 11 inches). At 300 ppi, this is about 2500 x 3300 pixels, times four channels for CMYK = about 32MB.
    – Yorik
    Jan 26, 2016 at 22:13

2 Answers 2


When Illustrator saves things it makes a PDF file out of your artwork (yes, the AI file is a PDF by default). Illustrator then embeds its native data into this PDF file. The result of this is that Illustrator needs to save one version of the effect flat rasterized as PDF cannot have live effects.

You can disable the PDF embedding by unchecking the 'make PDF compatible file'. When you do so Illustrator produces a MUCH leaner file, partially because data does not need to be stored two times. Of course, this assumes you didn't permanently rasterize stuff. Some applications such as InDesign won't like this though, so you may have problems with those files outside Illustrator.


Here's a solution that's sort of hacky but that reduces the file significantly. I created the grain background in an A4-sized file, exported the file in png format and then I imported that png file into the document: now I have my grain background with a smaller file.

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