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What is going on with Indesign pdf sizes?!

Community Beginner ,
Oct 05, 2023 Oct 05, 2023

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i don't know what has changed in the last year or so, but Indesign is outputting such large pdf sizes and my usual pdf compression tricks aren't cutting it like they used to. i am still doing the same kind of work - linking in various photoshop made pdf plans (layers unchecked), small photos, minimal text.
work flow is CAD linework linked into PS > colours applied > export pdf (layers unchecked) > link into compiled ID doc > export to pdf with downsampling down to 200ppi for everything over 210, optimize pdf, . and still a 5-7 page doc is 15mb to 30mb. which is crazy for this kind of work and used to be around 5mb! 10mb for a large doc. exporting the photoshop files to jpeg makes it even larger yet more pixellated?! rasterising the CAD linework plans linked into PS make it larger, and is too inconvenient when changes need to be made.
what else is there to do?

 

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Import and export , Performance , Print

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Community Expert ,
Oct 06, 2023 Oct 06, 2023

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There is so much that goes into the size of a PDF that it's practically impossible to tell what's going on. I'm not sure if I'm the crazy one or not, but I pay very little attention to file sizes these days.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2023 Oct 07, 2023

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final size of pdf is critical as it still needs to be emailable to client (and for them to disperse easily), and historically, 5-10mb documents is palatable for all

 

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Community Expert ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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Are you aware that you need not to attach a PDF to an email. You can send a link to the recepient with Acrobat Pro so that he can download the PDF on his side. There is no size limitation.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2023 Oct 30, 2023

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that is not suitable for Client use

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Community Expert ,
Oct 31, 2023 Oct 31, 2023

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final size of pdf is critical as it still needs to be emailable to client (and for them to disperse easily), and historically, 5-10mb documents is palatable for all

 

Rather than email an attachment you could use a file sharing service like Dropbox and email a link to the PDF. Then you don’t have server security and file size limit problems.

 

Also, try auditing the problem PDF in AcrobatPro to see the file size breakdown--you might have a metadata problem.

 

This is Metadata bloat:

Screen Shot 39.png

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Community Expert ,
Oct 06, 2023 Oct 06, 2023

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Hi, @emilee_cee ,

when I read "CAD linework" does that mean a PDF exported by a CAD software?

If yes did you had a look if the linework consists of single lines with a given point size?

Or do they consist of many (up to thousands) small lines to reach the wanted thickness?

Regards

Stephan

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2023 Oct 07, 2023

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Yep. as always done, AutoCAD - Photoshop - Indesign. Confusing thing - even rasterizing the CAD layer in Photoshop produced an even larger file size. all software used is the latest version

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Community Expert ,
Oct 07, 2023 Oct 07, 2023

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What format are you exporting from ACAD?

 

Lots of places for something to change in that workflow.


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2023 Oct 07, 2023

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Plotted dwg to pdf from paperspace

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Community Expert ,
Oct 07, 2023 Oct 07, 2023

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That's what I asked before. The third-party PDF creators often have... compatibility and efficiency problems. For some reason, the ones used in the CAD space, like BlueBeam, often have crippling issues such as creating PDFs not compatible with other editors and massive file sizes. Their function is more to create a sorta-kinda universal format with all the deep data an ACAD (or SolidWorks) file contains, for archival use without a CAD seat license. They are not good at optimizing PDFs in any more general sense, and since giganto files are standard in the industry, keeping these PDFs small is not really in the cards.

 

I'd look at that step, looking for updates to that utility, changes in export settings you may not have been told about (engineers, as a class, asking neither permission nor forgiveness), and if you have a history of exported PDFs from consistent projects, look for changes in file characteristics and export size there.

 

I profess not to be able to grasp why your CAD work has to go through four processing apps, but as Adobe stuff is fairly mature and stable, I'd bet one rusty wooden nickel that this problem is not traced to either PS or ID. (It also seems to me, from experience in these kind of workflows, that Illustrator might be a better intermediary tool than PS...)

 

 


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2023 Oct 07, 2023

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i dont know what you mean by third party pdf creators? this is straight from AutoCAD, no Bleambeam or anything else, it is ACAD's own default setting. it creates a pdf file of linework, generally of 30kb - 1.2mb file size, that i then drop into Photoshop to add colour.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2023 Oct 07, 2023

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it is also a flattened file without layers 

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Community Expert ,
Oct 08, 2023 Oct 08, 2023

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Hi, @emilee_cee ,

the discussion in this thread - so my impression - will not end up with a helpfull answer.

Too many variables and not enough information (what pdf-settings are used in AutoCAD ("default" isn't sufficient), in PS and so on).

Best would be if samples can be tested.

So if it is possible provide a AutoCAD-PDF, a PSD with that linked AutoCAD-PDF, the PS-PDF, the ID-file and the ID-PDF.

Btw I asked a question about the linework in the AutoCAD-PDF that is not answered yet.

Regards

Stephan

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2023 Oct 30, 2023

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unfortunately i can't due to project confidentiality. The CAD linework is singular polylines with layer controlled lineweights 

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Community Expert ,
Oct 06, 2023 Oct 06, 2023

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What tool/app are you using to distill the CAD art into PDF?

 

If it's BlueBeam or one of the other drawing/file management tools so common in the AEC/CAD world, there's probably not much that can be done. All PDF tools other than Acrobat [Pro] have their quirks and limitations and variation from both the PDF standard and Adobe's "best practices."


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 07, 2023 Oct 07, 2023

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it's as always done, AutoCAD - Photoshop - Indesign. granted, all the software used is of the latest version

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Community Expert ,
Oct 07, 2023 Oct 07, 2023

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Leave it as vector. Open it in Illustrator, make Live Paint Object > Live Paint > Make…), fill with the Live Paint Tools with colours and final stroke.

after doing it, it is relatively easy to optimize paths, reduce anchors and file size. BUT LEAVE THE VECTORS ALIVE! 

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2023 Oct 30, 2023

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i have done some project plans in Ai to test in the past, overwhelmingly, Photoshop is faster for this type of work 

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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If anyone comes across this and is wondering, the only workable solution i found (while having semi clear graphics & comfortable email file size) is to export all required imagery from Photoshop as a High Jpeg, link them to ID, dont even bother exporting with compression settings in Indesign, then take the exported PDF into Acrobat Pro and use the compression settings in Optimized with Cleanup or reduce to smallest file size option. I did have some success in reduced file size by linking live Photoshop file in Indesign but it is far too slow for general use

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Community Expert ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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Seems like a lot of work for very little gain.

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Community Expert ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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And making no use at all of the vector basis of the original.


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2023 Oct 30, 2023

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the ultimate gain really is just email size and speed of use. flexible enough for Client is priorit

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Community Expert ,
Oct 16, 2023 Oct 16, 2023

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Not sure if it's been addressed or answered in this thread, but: @emilee_cee , what happens if you export directly to PDF from ACAD, and then (while adjusting all export parameters a few times, perhaps), use Acrobat Pro to reduce the PDF file size? And then, for whatever reason you are pulling the result into ID, do so by placing that PDF and adding whatever framing material or markup for re-export to PDF — and again exploring what Acrobat might do to reduce that PDF size?

 

I think you are pulling a vector file through too many apps and steps, and converting to the far less efficient raster format, to end up with... what should be a very efficient vector format.

 

Really newb question, but you do realize that PDF is best as a pure vector file, and while it can be used to encapsulate or wrap raster files for convenience (such as a document scan file), that's a secondary and often very inefficient method?


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2023 Oct 30, 2023

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I should have been clearer in my post - the CAD linework i am talking about is plotting dwg sheets to pdf. it is pdf linework file linked into Photoshop. that is then dressed up and compiled in ID as a document. there is no dwg file being pulled through anywhere

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