Multi-page PDF from multi-layered Illustrator CS2 file?
October 26, 2006 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way, possibly via scripting, to export the top-level Layers of an Adobe Illustrator CS2 document as a multi-PAGE PDF?

I understand that CS2 can save an Acrobat 6-compatible version of a PDF that Adobe Reader can see and activate/de-activate the LAYERS of, but I need to make it a multi-PAGE PDF, not a multi-LAYER PDF.

Currently my process is to Flatten Layers in Illustrator, export the single layer to a PDF (temporarily losing all my other Layers, which makes me nervous), then Undo the Flattening, activate the next layer I want, Flatten, export, Undo, repeat. Finally, I use Acrobat Professional 7 to Create a PDF from Multiple Files, and have it merge all the individual PDFs from Illustrator into a single PDF document.

It's very laborious and I don't like temporarily blowing away all my other layers until I can Undo them back.

Surely a magic script for this action is available somewhere? I'm pretty sure I've explored the features available natively in the apps themselves to try to achieve this.
posted by robbie01 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
It's very laborious and I don't like temporarily blowing away all my other layers until I can Undo them back.

Save a copy of the final document when you're doing production work like that. That way if a mistake happens or the power goes out, you've got a back up document.

Illustrator has no real multi page ability, so it might be impossible.

Why flatten layers in Illustrater? Just turn off the layers you don't need and then do Save A Copy as a pdf. Then merge the layers via Acrobat Professional or Indesign

And it be better to ask this question on the Adobe forums.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on October 26, 2006

I flatten the layers in Illustrator (which gives you the option of discarding the art on the other layers, which I do), because otherwise I found that it still saves the data on all the other layers (blossoming the file size) whether you choose to retain the layer visibility in the PDF or not.

I do use Save a Copy, though, but it still seems like a lot of work for what I thought would be a common task that a fair number of users would need.

I did notice a (new?) feature when you make a PDF that let's you "Create a MultiPage PDF Using Page Tiles", but that would require you to use the old, ugly workaround of setting up a gigantic document size and subdividing it into a series of tiled, say, 8.5x11 pages where everything is visible at once.

Maybe someday Adobe will swallow their page-layout pride and just allow multiple pages in an Illustrator document. We'll still buy InDesign, promise!
posted by robbie01 at 1:32 PM on October 26, 2006

While you can, sort of, create multi-page layouts in Illustrator (by enlarging the artboard and setting it to tile pages), you cannot create multi-page PDFs on-the-fly in Illustrator.

The way you describe is the way I would do it, too. Yeah, it's a pain. The up-side is that the controls in Acrobat are much more powerful, and you will be able to reduce the file size substantially within Acrobat.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:54 PM on October 26, 2006

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