Need to shrink a PDF *and* retain full-bleed layout
September 18, 2014 7:43 AM   Subscribe

I developed a PDF in Illustrator that is 30MB. I need to get it down to an emailable ~1MB. I've found two services to help me with this: Opening in OS X Preview and doing a PDF export, or using Both make them small enough. However ....

My layout is intended only to be read onscreen, and so it's full-bleed, taking up the entire 8.5"x11" area. Both of these services put an inch of white space around the border. Is there another way that will preserve my design and push the images out all the way to the edges of the document? (Compressing from within Illustrator is not successful.)
posted by blueshammer to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you print to pdf?
posted by Dragonness at 7:48 AM on September 18, 2014

Acrobat itself has an "optimize file size" tool. It's under the Save As option, apparently, if you have the latest version; I don't and it's called "reduce file size" and can be found in the Document menu.
posted by teremala at 7:58 AM on September 18, 2014

Response by poster: Dragonness, Illustrator will print to .ps for me, but then I'm in the same position of trying to get that to a .pdf.

teremala, I've been trying to limit my Creative Cloud subscription to just Illustrator, but I'll download the trial and see what that does for me.
posted by blueshammer at 8:04 AM on September 18, 2014

I developed a PDF in Illustrator that is 30MB. I need to get it down to an emailable ~1MB.

Put the PDF in Dropbox or online and just email the link to the PDF hyperlink.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:14 AM on September 18, 2014

Conversely, does your design really need to be full bleed? I know, that means changing your design, but sometimes that what you have to do.

Or if it's only going to be read on screen, can you change the dpi of any imported graphics to be just 72 dpi?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:16 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Brandon -- that's a possibility. These are fact sheets that we'll be sending to colleagues at other companies, and we're trying to determine what's least likely to trip their spam filters: outbound links or attachments.

And I'm prepared to change my design. I'm just trying to ascertain why I'm changing it. can take my PDFs down to 1MB -- but adds the border. Having now downloaded the Acrobat trial, I see that Acrobat can give me my full-bleed PDFs -- but only reduce the size to 10MB. Why won't these Venns intersect?
posted by blueshammer at 8:25 AM on September 18, 2014

I think Dragonness is asking whether OS X Preview can print to PDF. If so, make your reduced-size PDF, open it up, and then set it to print to an 8.5x11 PDF without scaling to fit, which should mean the new margins get sliced off (or, if the program/website actually shrinks your pages, try allowing it to scale to see if that puts you back where you need to be). Opening one of your reduced-size PDFs in Illustrator should also give you better control over the margins, assuming that doesn't break anything else.
posted by teremala at 8:27 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Use whichever tool gives the smallest PDF, then open the resultant small PDF in Acrobat and use the Crop tool to remove the white borders.
posted by misterbrandt at 8:28 AM on September 18, 2014

Best answer: Oh, since you have Acrobat now, do you have access to the Tools menu? It can crop pages to spec.
posted by teremala at 8:29 AM on September 18, 2014

Response by poster: The Print-to-PDF functionality of Preview is identical to its Export as PDF functionality -- I don't have an independent "PDF Printer" that I can print to.

misterbrandt, teremala -- I think that's going to have to be the solution. The result won't be 8.5x11, but I can adjust to the idea that it doesn't have to be.
posted by blueshammer at 8:34 AM on September 18, 2014

Response by poster: OK, so, for the record.

1. In Illo, select all, reduce by 95%*. Save as PDF. (* Further experimentation may allow a slightly higher percentage.) -- File size is 19.6 MB.
2. Open in Preview. Export as PDF. Show Details and choose A4 rather than US Letter. -- File size is 8.6 MB.
3. Send to -- File size is 510KB. (How did it do this?! Selective font embedding? All the text is still searchable.)
4. Open in Acrobat, crop -- new size, 7.76x10.46. -- File size is 502 KB.

I'd be interested in convincing Acrobat to expand this file to fill 8.5x11 again, and I think it is plain silly to require this many steps, but I've (more or less) gotten the end result I want. Thanks, gang.
posted by blueshammer at 8:56 AM on September 18, 2014

smallpdf might be re-encoding images to JPEG2000, which are typically 1/10 the size of a JPEG but are fairly computationally intensive to extract.
posted by scruss at 11:01 AM on September 18, 2014

Hey there. I'm a creative director for a magazine, and it strikes me as odd that a PDF for an 8.5x11 screen-resolution sell sheet should be 30 MB. When I create a 300 dpi full-bleed photo page for print, it's only about 4 MB. A full page of outlined text is less than 1 MB. If I were you I'd figure out what it is in my design that is making the file size so large in the first place, which will save you the kludge. Let me know if I can help.
posted by ejs at 12:15 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

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