Best Workflow for compressing large, vector-based PDFs in Indesign?

New Here ,
Jan 10, 2021 Jan 10, 2021

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Hello,

 

I have a 20 page architectural portfolio in Indesign, consisting of renders as JPEGS, and several complex CAD files as PDFs, and text. I am trying to export as PDF to a file size under 10MB without having to rasterize the drawings (I want the drawings to read as vectors). Any advice as to how I can achieve this?

 

 

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Import and export, Performance

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Adobe Community Professional , Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021
You probably won't be able to control much with the initial PDF export out of InDesign, but once the PDF had been generated, you can use Acrobat to try to reduce the size of the PDF. Try using File > Save As > Optimized PDF in Acrobat and adjust the settings to see if you can get the file size small enough. I also find it helpful if you open up the Content pane in Acrobat and click on the Option button at the top and choose Audit Space Usage. This can sometimes give you insight into what is util...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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Well the variable here is "several complex CAD files as PDFs". It will likely come down to getting the CAD > PDF file sizes down prior to placement in InDesign. How many is "several"? How "complex," and how were the PDF's generated? 

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New Here ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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5 drawings, generated as DWG's in Rhino, and cleaned up for presentation inIllustartor. I exported from illustartor as PDF and placed them into Indesign.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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You probably won't be able to control much with the initial PDF export out of InDesign, but once the PDF had been generated, you can use Acrobat to try to reduce the size of the PDF. Try using File > Save As > Optimized PDF in Acrobat and adjust the settings to see if you can get the file size small enough. I also find it helpful if you open up the Content pane in Acrobat and click on the Option button at the top and choose Audit Space Usage. This can sometimes give you insight into what is utilizing the most size of the file.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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If you export as "Interactive PDF" all vectors are already zipped.

Neither Acrobat Pro nor any other software will be able to compress them more because we do not know how to degrade the quality of vector objects by compressing them.

 

If you export as "Print PDF" be sure to check the "Compress text and vectors/artworks" option (I don't know the English item since I use a localized version).

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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Why do you want to do this? I'm not trying to be a jerk, but it's entirely possible you are not being reasonable.

20 pages with any graphic content is going to be take up some storage space. If you can tell us the end game here we can offer much better advice.

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New Here ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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The goal is to be able to send it directly to firms in an email. I might just need to resort to sending a link out instead because I've tried everything. 

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New Here ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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Also, how am I "not being reasonable?" The entire reason I posted to this forum was to get advice... and I am sure there's a way to do it, as Indesign is an extremely powerful tool.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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Not you personally...the goal of getting this down to under 10MB.

 

There's a limit to how much you can compress these things without destroying the quality. By all means provide a link; you're far less likely to wind up in a spam folder, too.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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"as PDF to a file size under 10MB"

Size does not matter: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/sharing-pdfs.html

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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Optimize the PDF in Acrobat, as suggested by Chad, selecting all of the discard and clean-up options (unless there is something you specifically need), you may be able to wring some weight from the vector elements by simplifying in Illustrator and smoothing curves in Acrobat (keep an original copy), here is a link to a related discussion which explains in greater detail:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign/exporting-a-pdf-with-both-psd-and-ai-files/m-p/11436640?page...

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 11, 2021 Jan 11, 2021

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Pixel images can be compressed by processing and simplifying groupings of pixels, but vectors can be difficult to compress because of the way they’re expressed as discrete objects. If the CAD files are “complex” because there are a high number of vector objects, you can try simplifying them in the CAD program, in Illustrator, or in Acrobat. By simplifying, I mean significantly reducing the number of objects by merging overlapping paths/shapes, reducing the number of points on paths, removing unneeded data types as Chad’s suggestion might do…those are the kinds of things that save space in a vector graphic.

 

I do understand that this is a portfolio, therefore preserving quality is a priority, but that conflicts greatly with keeping file size under 10MB. This question comes up a lot in video, too. People want to reduce the file down to email size, but are unwilling to accept the reduction in quality that would get that file down to that size.

 

Wanting to send a small file without compromising quality is totally understandable, but ultimately a major problem is often email itself:

  • The file size limit on attachments can vary by provider, so just because it is below the sender’s limit does not necessarily mean it is below the limit of each recipient’s email system. 
  • Issues with email encoding can mean a file is a lot larger as an attachment than it is on your computer. When an email attachment has to be translated to a plain text format during transmission, that conversion can make the attachment file size over 130% larger. If that larger size pushes it over the attachment file size limit on any sending or receiving system, the message fails. 

 

Because of these issues, and especially if this portfolio means you want to maintain a good impression by minimizing any hassles with blocked messages, it’s a lot more reliable to host a large file somewhere and send a link to it. Instead of spending a lot of time trying to crunch down the size, and then rolling the dice as to whether a portfolio still looks good enough and stays small enough to survive a trip through various email systems.

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