I need to flatten my PDFs when I export illustrator files.

I don't want to do it manually selecting every item, but I would like the export to come out flattened.

What is the best method? Or would there be any post processing pdf software to flatten pdfs?


  • Select All, Object > Rasterize... save as PDF. Is this what you're after? Do you want to maintain the vector data? Can you explain what you mean by "Flatten"? Flatten transparency or flatten all objects to a single, non-editable image?
    – Scott
    Jan 10, 2017 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


If you want to save it as a flattened file, i.e. a file that no longer contains layers, then you just need to uncheck the 'Create Acrobat Layers from Top-Level Layers' option in the save as PDF dialogue...

enter image description here

N.B. This may have a slightly different name or location depending on your version of Illustrator, Adobe have a habit of moving these things around.

An alternative approach would be to flatten your artwork via the layers palette before saving, but that would create a PDF with one layer rather than a flat PDF.


In case Photoshop is an option: You can open any Adobe Illustrator file with Photoshop and then save that as a Photoshop PDF, JPEG or whatever you need. This instantly and completely flattens the document where any text or object will no longer be selectable or editable.

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