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Adobe PDF reduce size for printing maintain quality

Posted on 2006-04-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-03

I have a pdf file and it has about 150 pages.  The file is 40MB and I would like to reduce the size but maintain 100% quality for printing.  When printing to one printer it takes about 5-10 minutes to spool.  On another printer it spools instantly but then the printer stops and thinks a lot.

How can I reduce the size but maintain quality for printing?  I have acrobat professional 7

Question by:Kurt4949
  • 2
LVL 44

Accepted Solution

Karl Heinz Kremer earned 2000 total points
ID: 16425603
Printing (or ripping) speed is always a compromise between file size and complexity of the data. The smaller the size (assuming that the quality level stays the same) of the file, the more complex it becomes. The reason for this is that the usual method of shrinking down a file is by selecting a compression mechanism that yields better compression, but requires usually more CPU cycles to uncomress the data. For monochrome data the alternatives are CCITTG4 and JBIG2 - CCITTG4 provides a reasonable compression factor and is relatively fast to uncompress, whereas JBIG2 can compress images much better, but is a lot more CPU intensive.
In your case, 150 pages with 40MB comes down to about 270KB per page. Depending on the source data, that may actually be a pretty good size.

Here are a few things to consider:
If the source data are scanned images, make sure that the scans are as clean as possible. Run a despeckle on the images. This will clean them up, so that there is less data to print, but it will also (dramatically) decrease the image size.
If your document contains images, make sure that you don't have too much image data: If your printer supports 600dpi, then it does not make sense to use more than 600dpi for monochrome images, and usually a lot less for color images.

In Acrobat 7 Pro select "Advanced>PDF Optimizer" and click on the "Audit space usage..." button. This will give you an idea what elements use up how much space. This information may help to figure out what to do with the document. You can then use the PDF Optimizer to either remove certain object types (e.g. interactive elements are not necessary when printing the document), or to downsample images. Whatever you do, make sure that you are not degrading the image quality in areas that you don't want to change (e.g. if you want to downsample only color images, make sure that you disable downsampling for grayscale and monochrome images). Don't unembed any fonts, that's usually asking for trouble.
IMHO the best tool to reduce the file size of a PDF is Apago's PDF Enhancer.

Author Comment

ID: 16426071
Looks like images are taking up 77% of the space.  I'll try  your suggestions.  Thanks.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 16426260
There is one problem with just Acrobat: It does not tell you what the image resolution is without tricking it into doing that...
You  can "abuse" the pre-flight tool to determine the image resolutions:
Select "Advanced>Preflight".
On the preflight dialog select "List all images". Once you execute that profile, you will end up with a preflight report. You will see a tree node titled "Continous tone image resolution higher than specified (x matches on y pages)". Expand that node. This will list all images in your document with the size and resolution specified as (width)x(height) pt (in points) (resolution) ppi. You can also find the color space used for the image on that line.

Hope that helps.

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