I have an InDesign document of about 80 pages with roughly around 80 high resolution TIFFs (one for each page). The average size of each TIFF is around 15MB. When I export it, the PDF's file size is 200MB. The document is for print. When I bring it to a printers some printer can't even print and if they can it can take up to 20 minutes to print it when a normal print job there would take 5 minutes.

Whats the best way of going about reducing the file size? Should I individually resize each TIFF in photoshop or should I use the compression settings when exporting the PDF from InDesign? If the compression is the best method how should I go about this?


  • Are the images of a higher resolution than absolutely necessary for the job? I.e., if this is for a fairly typical book (not high end full colour reproductions on a smooth paper stock, using a good printing press), then anything above 300 dpi is overkill. When in doubt, ask your printer.
    – Jongware
    May 14, 2016 at 23:25
  • 1
    Hey thanks for the help! I think images are too high resolution for the job. What would be the most efficient way of reducing the size of them is - should I do them as a batch edit in Photoshop or use Indesign to reduce the size? Cheers! May 15, 2016 at 16:59
  • I would do the resolution change in Photoshop, not InDesign, which might not reduce the memory taken up by the image or do as high quality resampling..
    – user8356
    May 16, 2016 at 15:52
  • @jimmysgraphicdesign The question now what type of compression tiff use to to give such file size? Aug 29, 2023 at 16:33

3 Answers 3


When I bring it to a printers some printer can't even print and if they can it can take up to 20 minutes

This sounds you are talking about some simple laser print shop, not comercial offset printer (which are used to work with large files, and the process takes some days).

Should I individually resize each TIFF in photoshop?


You need to understand your PDF settings.

In your PDF export dialog box, prepare one profile that works for you. You can choose JPG compression, and embed fonts, but in this case probably the most important step is to resample your images.

Choose Bicubic compression and play with 150-200 pixels per inch on the images for images above and choose the same number, 150-200.

If you have monochrome images try 600-1200.

Try RGB output, which compresses better.

  • PS: do all this with a copy, so you'll always have the original to fall back to
    – PieBie
    May 18, 2016 at 5:58
  • @PieBie: I am confused. A copy of what? The InDesign document is not affected by this, and neither are the images in it. The only result is that the exported PDF is downsampled. Exporting again with the original (higher) settings will result in the priginal, larger, PDF again.
    – Jongware
    Jun 17, 2016 at 21:29
  • Yeap. No need for a backup in this case. Only if PieBie is refering to a backup of the pdf export settings...
    – Rafael
    Jun 17, 2016 at 21:32

Don't do it in Photoshop, let InDesign downsample the images for you; this way your original images remain untouched. In your PDF export options, look for the compression tab:

PDF settings

If you use the Press Quality, or any of the PDF-X presets you will see that the default setting is to downsample any images over 450ppi; reducing the resolution to 300ppi.

If you need to bring the file size down further you can lower the threshold to 300ppi (as shown in the image above). If you need to bring the file size down further still you can lower the image quality, or even downsample further to something like 250ppi. Lower than that and it can start to be noticeable.

Avoid saving into an RGB space: while this will reduce the file size, it may have some unpredictable affects on some of your colours.


You can also try this in Acrobat and see if it meets your needs: Go to File > Save as Other > Reduced File Size.

It may be enough to help without degrading the images or changing the original file(s).

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