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I’m observing strange behavior in Adobes Creative Suite (I’m on CS6 right now) when it comes to file size of PDFs. I export PDFs from InDesign with various options and sometimes need to make smaller versions to post on the web or send by email.

  1. Acrobats options to save PDFs in reduced size are
    • File > Save As Other > Optimized PDF
    • File > Save As Other > Reduced Size PDF

in both cases it seems to me that the reductions in size are not as big as with older versions of Acrobat.

  1. When I import one of my Acrobat-reduced PDFs into Illustrator and save it as PDF there—without preserving Illustrator Editing Capabilities, but no other fancy options—the PDF gets much smaller.

Specific file size examples:

InDesign CS6 PDF

(one page, one small pic in a corner, two fonts, three styles for each, export --> Adobe PDF (print) --> PDF/X-3:2002 but: compatibility Acrobat 6 and bookmarks/hyperlinks are activated) 692 KB

Adobe Acrobat X:

  • Save as reduced size, leave Acrobat 6 compatibility --> change file name --> file doesn’t get saved at all.
  • Save as reduced size, leave Acrobat 6 compatibility --> change file name --> change folder 565 KB
  • Save as optimized --> Standard (images 150 ppi) --> change file name --> file gets saved as: 565 KB

(fiddling with the settings it is possible to shave some some additional KB)

Illustrator CS6:

  • Open PDF as exported from InDesign: Illustrator claims to convert some text to path --> color mode: RGB --> use embedded profile --> save as --> Illustrator PDF --> no editing capabilities 1,5 MB
  • Open PDF as exported from Acrobat in step 3 (optimized, standard 565 KB): Illustrator claims to convert some text to path --> color mode: RGB --> use embedded profile --> save as --> Illustrator PDF --> no editing capabilities 307 KB

307 KB this is what I was lloking for.

The small picture looks as good as before, it seems to still be 150 ppi. Text is sharp and selectable.

What happened to the remaining 258 KB?

1

Did you use the same pdf profile for all involved programs? Which boxes are checked in the second-to-last left-menu section of that pdf profile dialog? If you didn't use the same settings in all programs, that might be where extra metadata was left out. Are the bookmarks/hyperlinks/index/page thumbnail still in the 307kB pdf?

When Illustrator converted a text frame to path (this mostly happens when the text contains a ligature such as fl; very nasty when you wanted to modify exactly that section), did that remove all occurences of one of the font[ style]s so your final pdf ends up with less embedded fonts? Normally text as path would use more memory than text as, well, text, so the only way the result could be smaller is that font data got dropped in turn.

There are even more memory hogs identified in the "Related" section, so you might want to read those too if you haven't already.

  • Welcome to GD.SE. I'd advise you next time (when you have enough rep) to add the your request for more info as comments under the question, that would make the answer a little bit more clear. Keep contributing and enjoy the site! – Luciano Sep 14 '16 at 8:05

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