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Create Sharp, Readable PDF in InDesign That's Under 5 MB

Posted on 2011-09-05
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I recently scanned 30 pages from four differently-sized sources. Each page is a TIF that's approximately 15 MB. I need to combine all of these items into one 30-page PDF that's under 5 MB and readable.

The good news is that it's just text (smallest is probably 9 point) with some colored words here and there. What would be the best way to handle this? Paste them into an InDesign file and then use the "smallest file size" feature in Acrobat once I save it out of InDesign? I really need this to look nice and be readable, so any help would be most appreciated!

I'm on a MacBook Pro using InDesign CS5, Photoshop CS5 and Acrobat Pro.

Thanks.
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Question by:Pimpernel777
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 50 total points
ID: 36485157
So you want to take 450 Megabytes worth of source material and reduce it to 5 Megabytes.  If it is all text, the best way to make it small and readable is to use OCR to convert it to text instead of images.
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Sigurdur Armannsson earned 400 total points
ID: 36485814
You could open up one of the scans in Photoshop and reduce the file size to what is enough to read. When you have found the right resolution close the file. If this is only text you can also change the files to grayscale which will save you a lot of megabites.

Open the Action panel and make a new action. Start recording and go to the Image size and set the right resolution and close the file and stop the recording.

Go to File>Automate>Batch and let it play the action on a folder that keeps all the scans and have it save to another folder.

Place the scans in InDesign and when done Export to smallest file size. See how far this will go. Although Smallest file size is what is offered you can still make it lighter by tweaking the pdf settings.
Like, go to the compression downsample to 100 in the first field and change 150 in the second field to 100.
In the output, set Color Conversion to No Conversion and Profile Inclusion Policy to Don't include any Profiles

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by:captain
captain earned 50 total points
ID: 36485970
I have to agree with DaveBaldwin.

You should combine all these in ACROBAT to one single PDF. Use either the 'create from File' option in the File menu or print to PDF from whatever application you use to view them, just make sure you don't compress them before using OCR.

When you have your PDF make sure you got all pages and then select menu Document>OCR Text recognition and select 'Recognize Text Using OCR' In the following dialog box select 'All pages' and go to 'Edit' and choose 'Clearscan' as output option.  Leave the compress alone for now.

Press OK to out of the dialog and OK again to start the OCR process. save the document when done and check the file size. If it is still too big you can use the PDF Optimizer to bring it down further but I am not sure how much smaller this would get as there don't seem any images. And 30pp of text does not usually go past 1mb anyway...

hth, if it does help please split with DB...
capt.
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Author Comment

by:Pimpernel777
ID: 36486058
Thanks everyone. In my situation, I don't think OCR will be an option because the point of the scans is to show the text layout...so converting to text only won't work.

But I think some of the other options mentioned may work even though the pages will have to remain images.
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Expert Comment

by:captain
ID: 36486076
The OCR will keep the layout, all it does is to remove the whitespace and save the document as is with readable text. You should try it.
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