Any graphics gurus know of a way to irreversibly flatten a pdf?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by POHeerwig, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    #1
    All:

    I have scoured the internet, adobe forums and racked the brains of my fellow men and, yet, am unable to find a solution to "flatten", "squash" "completely and forever more", a simple pdf file. (Well, let's take making them a .png or .jpg, etc. out of the equation) Every thing I've tried to this point still allows editing (and finding things I've hidden under objects) when pulled back into Illustrator CS2. I feel like there HAS to be a solution, with "clear" graphics as a result, but I can't seem to find the solution.

    Does anyone know of a way?
     
  2. macrumors regular

    EMKoper

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    Stafford, VA
    #2
    I have trying the same thing! Help!
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    ohio
    #3
    I believe in the preferences or somewhere under one of the menu options you can lock it (not at work right now, don't have Full version of Acrobat at home). I have received numerous pdf files that are 'locked'. I couldn't even open the pdfs in Photoshop or Illustrator. I know it can be done. Check your Acrobat help, under security.
     
  4. macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #4
    I would pull it into photoshop, save it as a tiff, and send it back out through distiller into a PDF again.
     
  5. Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    The locking is probably the best thing - I've used that before. I'm pretty sure you can also disable copy -- so that for instance it has text, but the text cannot be selected and copied.

    Another two options... depending on what you want...

    1) Have you tried printing the PDF as a PDF via Preview or Acrobat? I'm not sure that PDFs generated by the OS X print PDF generator are editable?

    2) Have you tried using Automator to generate a sufficiently high-res TIFF of the PDF and then convert the TIFF to PDF? This should certainly create a completely flat image, although it would no longer be vector-based.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    #6

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one out here with this problem! ;)

    You're right Dane D.. It "will" lock, but I'm looking for an "absolute", "no way to reverse it" solution.

    I haven't tried saving it in a tiff in photoshop, but I did try to save it as a .png and then "photoshop pdf" it; wasn't 'quite' the clean look that I was shooting for (not even close...)

    Seems like there 'has' to be a solution out there!
     
  7. thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 4, 2006
    #7
    I'm guessing that a friend of mine did the same thing you're thinking of; he tried putting it through distiller and printing it 'on-screen' as a postscript file. It was still 'editable' in Illustrator.
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #8
    The solution I gave you will work perfectly. You're not going to lose quality unless you punch in lower settings in photoshop when you open it, or have lower settings in Distiller.

    PDF > Photoshop

    File > Print > Save PDF as postscript

    Cook your postscript to PDF in Acrobat Distiller
     
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    #9
    I like your confidence :D I'll try it tomorrow; don't have all the tools for it on my laptop. Thanks!
     
  10. macrumors regular

    EMKoper

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    Location:
    Stafford, VA
    #10
    ... but what if it is a 50+ page .pdf file? Wouldn't you have to do each page individually? Is there a simple way to "automate" the workflow (on a PC at work)?
     
  11. thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 4, 2006
    #11
    Good point. It would be 'great' to find a better way.
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    decksnap

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    #12
    That is a very good point. I wasn't even thinking about that.
     
  13. Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #13
    Photoshop>File>Automate>Multi-Page PDF to PSD... (Make coffee)

    Then set up an action to save your PSDs as PDFs. Then File>Automate>Batch... (drink coffee)

    :)
     
  14. macrumors 68030

    apfhex

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Northern California
    #14
    That's ridiculous. Rasterizing the PDF defeats the purpose. Might as well just distribute TIFFs or something. Why are Acrobat's locking options not sufficient?

    However, rasterizing it will definitely be "completely and forever more", if that's more important than anything else.
     
  15. macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #15
  16. macrumors 68040

    decksnap

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    #16
    I don't agree with you. PDFs have many purposes. One of the most important being compatibility. You don't distribute Tiffs because not everyone has the free 'acrobat tif reader'.:rolleyes: It depends what your goal for using a PDF is. You've never made PDFs with non-vector graphics in them before?
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

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    ohio
    #17
    O.K. back at work today and explored the help file. I'm using version 7.0 Professional Acrobat. The following explains how, copied out of the how-to-secure help.
    This method seems like the best solution, nobody can edit, copy or open said pdf file in another application.
     
  18. Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #18
    Except opening them in ColorSync or a number of other apps and resaving them. :D The security features in PDFs are easily bypassed if you know how.
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

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    ohio
    #19
    Please explain, I have received pdfs that I couldn't do anything but view or printout. Open in ColorSync?
     
  20. macrumors regular

    askthedust

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    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    enlightenment
    #20
    agree with apfhex

    save a duplicate file. rasterize and flatten layers in dup file and then save as pdf. if you have multiple pages dup those open and flatten layers and then do automate pdf pres and there you go.
     
  21. EMKoper, Sep 22, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011

    macrumors regular

    EMKoper

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    #21
    Thanks!

    Thanks, Blue Velvet! Worked for me/// Looks like what I was looking for... didn't realize the "automation" features were so slick!
     
  22. ATD
    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    #22
    Thank you BV. I have been trying to unlock a set of pdf manuals for years so I could take notes in them. Now I can!


     
  23. macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #23
    The OP had his own solution in the first post. Make a jpg. But wait he said he didn't want crap graphics. In answer to that I would defy anyone to be able to tell the difference between the highest quality jpg and a tiff. It only becomes possible at a pixel level examination. Maybe not everyone has a tiff reader but they sure as hell have a jpg reader.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    #24
    Thanks everyone!

    Blue Velvet... it worked like "charm". That was exactly what I was looking for! I 'did' end up adding a white rectangle on the 'bounding box' on all the pages so that the pdf presentation would come up consistent, but after slugging through everything I could find or think of...your advice was spot-on!Thanks!

    Dogbone...about the tiff vs jpg: for some reason it seems that gradients on tiffs present better in powerpoint (what I was thinking of at the time)..and in other apps too. Might be the way I'm saving it though, but powerpoint seems to 'love' tiffs!

    Red Tomato...that wasn't quite what I had in mind, but it was interesting to see.

    I've never heard of colorsync, but it sounds interesting...I'll have to google & see what it does.

    Anyway...thanks for all the help everyone!
     
  25. Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #25

    Excellent. :)

    Although I did have misgivings about rasterising PDFs, somehow I thought that wasn't what you wanted to hear.

    Oh... and the other thing? I meant ColorSync Utility. Good for unlocking certain features although mess with a transparency-laden press quality file at your own risk... ;)
     

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