I am working on a label print design. Some of the elements are raster images. These images are GIANT - great resolution. I basically flattened the PSD file I was working in. Than opened that PSD file into illustrator and copied the flattend element over embedding it into my document. After I embed them into my illustrator file and resize them smaller to fit; I then save it as a PDF file. When I zoom in on the pdf file the raster elements are very blurry while the vector elements are not. However the images are so big that even when zooming in smaller than the original raster image size it still shows blurry. Any thoughts? Thanks!

enter image description here

  • Are you zooming more than 100% in Acrobat?
    – AndrewH
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:00
  • Yes but the raster images are still way bigger when I copied them into illustrator then when displayed at 400% zoom... So how do i keep the quality the same? I can do this in html even... But not in a PDF?
    – Patrick
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:02
  • I want it to retain the quality because the images are giant. Even when zoomed in.
    – Patrick
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:02
  • Like lets say i copy and image thats like 10x bigger than its supose to be in illustrator. I resize that image smaller in illustrator to correct size. But doesnt it know how big the image really is? So the quality is not lost when zoomed in or if re-sized larger again?
    – Patrick
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:04
  • 1
    My guess is you just used downsampling...
    – Vinny
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


Raster images do not retain their original size/ppi when saved/exported to PDF. Even if you set the PDF options to not downsample raster images, the PDF will retain the raster data at the size and ppi it is currently displayed at. Acrobat, and the PDF format is not a "link" to the original image data. PDFs contain "embedded" output data.

If you want the original PPI you need to ensure you do not scale raster images in Illustrator. In addition, upsizing (or zooming in on) a raster image will always lead to a less clear appearance, regardless of any method you use.

You are kind of seeking the impossible - a dynamic image which alters it's resolution based upon it's scale. That's just not how PDFs work.

  • Is there a way i can save the pdf with a way higher resolution but keep the original print size 3.75x2inch in tact for the printer?
    – Patrick
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:25
  • I appreciate the answer and will mark it as correct answer just wondering if theres a way to do this correctly and display larger if needed without having to make a bunch of different sized files.
    – Patrick
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:28
  • That doesn't make sense. The "printer" will output at 3.5x2" That is the size you should be concerned about. High resolution at 100% of 3.5x2" Zooming in means nothing.. off press it'll be 3.5x2"
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:28
  • VInny is correct and I had down sampling option selected while saving. This solved my issue. Add that to your answer and ill mark it correct. Thanks
    – Patrick
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:30
  • Think of a PDF like a printed sheet of paper...... You need to ensure it looks good at 100%... as you look at it. Now if you take a magnifying glass to the printed sheet (zoom in) of course you are going to see some indications of pixels. But who goes around with a magnifying glass looking at business cards?
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 16:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.