I've been given a 6 page PDF that is 2MB in size.

I need to edit one of the pages - two simple text edits in illustrator.

When I save the file - it jumps to 12MB - I've got no idea why.

Doing a Save As simply saves that particular page.

It's a doc for printing - so I can't afford to lose any of the image quality.

I'm using Illustrator CS6 - help would be greatly appreciated.

3 Answers 3


Illustrator is NOT a PDF editor!!!
Unless your PDF was saved from Illustrator as an editable PDF file, you should not edit it in AI.
If edits are simple, I suggest using Acrobat Pro text editing feature.

  • I would disagree with this. While certainly not ideal, in desperate measures I have often opened PDF files in illustrator (editable or not) to extract elements (such as vector logos) or make changes. It is a very useful thing to know it is possible, and not many people are aware. In working with the everyday client, you often run into issues getting original, native, illustrator files.
    – cclark413
    Jul 20, 2017 at 14:19
  • Extracting logos is one thing (that I very often do myself). But there are so many issues that can occur while opening a PDF in Illustrator that I will certainly never recommend doing so for edition purposes. Could be done from time to time and for a very basic document, but if size jumps dramatically, that sure means that it's a complex document, with transparency most probably. I wish I could have a look at the PDF ^^
    – Vinny
    Jul 20, 2017 at 15:26
  • 1
    @cclark413 I've fixed my car at times when it's needed, and within my capabilities to do so. I'm definitely not a mechanic and wouldn't recommend anyone use me as such. Illustrator can edit PDFs, it is not a good choice as a PDF editor.
    – Luke
    Aug 21, 2017 at 6:01
  • @luke I was speaking to the assertion (because one might assume) that it is not at all a possibility. You CAN save PDFs while keeping illustrator editing capabilities in tact - so I again disagree that you should "never" do it.
    – cclark413
    Sep 6, 2017 at 16:24
  • @cclark413 I doubt one could read a topic about Illustrator editing a PDF and saving it too large and somehow come to the conclusion that editing a PDF in Illustrator is not at all possible.
    – Luke
    Sep 6, 2017 at 23:47

In my experience, Illustrator & InDesign tend to add tons of unnecessary bloat to PDF files. After I save a PDF out of one of those programs, I open it in Acrobat and choose File > Save As Other > Optimized PDF.

The default options were mostly fine for me, but you might want to check each of the option panels to customize to your specific needs. When you're ready, hit okay, and choose where to save the optimized file. Image quality shouldn't be affected unless you tell it to do so.


Adobe Illustrator stores pdf and Illustrator pdf editing capabilities data to the file, so you can edit it back in Illustrator and other pdf editors. Yes, the file size will increase a lot. Illustrator does the same in eps and svg files.

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