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

POHeerwig

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Original poster
Jan 4, 2006
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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?
 

EMKoper

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Dec 18, 2002
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Stafford, VA
POHeerwig said:
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?
I have trying the same thing! Help!
 

Dane D.

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Apr 16, 2004
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ohio
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.
 

decksnap

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Apr 11, 2003
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I would pull it into photoshop, save it as a tiff, and send it back out through distiller into a PDF again.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
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Grand Rapids, MI, USA
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.
 

POHeerwig

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Original poster
Jan 4, 2006
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Dane D. said:
I believe in the preferences or somewhere under one of the menu options you can lock it ...I know it can be done. Check your Acrobat help, under security.

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!
 

POHeerwig

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Original poster
Jan 4, 2006
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mkrishnan said:
1) Have you tried printing the PDF as a PDF via Preview or Acrobat? ...
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.
 

decksnap

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Apr 11, 2003
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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
 

POHeerwig

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Original poster
Jan 4, 2006
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decksnap said:
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
I like your confidence :D I'll try it tomorrow; don't have all the tools for it on my laptop. Thanks!
 

EMKoper

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2002
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Stafford, VA
POHeerwig said:
I like your confidence :D I'll try it tomorrow; don't have all the tools for it on my laptop. Thanks!
... 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)?
 

POHeerwig

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Original poster
Jan 4, 2006
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EMKoper said:
... 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)?
Good point. It would be 'great' to find a better way.
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
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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)

:)
 

apfhex

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Aug 8, 2006
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Northern California
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.
 

decksnap

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Apr 11, 2003
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apfhex said:
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.
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?
 

Dane D.

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Apr 16, 2004
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ohio
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.
Restrict printing or changes to a document

With the PDF document open, choose Document > Secure > Show Security Settings For This Document.

Choose Password Security from the Security Method menu.

From the Compatibility menu, choose the earliest version of Acrobat that you want to be able to open this document.

Select the check box under Permissions, and then type a Permissions password. This password is not required to open the document, but only to change the security settings. It must be different than the Document Open password, if one exists.

Choose which printing and editing changes are allowed.

Click OK, type the Permissions password again, and then click OK.
This method seems like the best solution, nobody can edit, copy or open said pdf file in another application.
 

Blue Velvet

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Jul 4, 2004
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Dane D. said:
This method seems like the best solution, nobody can edit, copy or open said pdf file in another application.
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.
 

Dane D.

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2004
645
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ohio
Blue Velvet said:
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.
Please explain, I have received pdfs that I couldn't do anything but view or printout. Open in ColorSync?
 

askthedust

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2003
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enlightenment
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.
 

EMKoper

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2002
170
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Stafford, VA
Thanks!

Blue Velvet said:
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)

:)
Thanks, Blue Velvet! Worked for me/// Looks like what I was looking for... didn't realize the "automation" features were so slick!
 
Last edited:

ATD

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Sep 25, 2005
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Blue Velvet said:
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.
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!


 

dogbone

macrumors 68020
decksnap said:
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?
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.
 

POHeerwig

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Original poster
Jan 4, 2006
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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!
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
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POHeerwig said:
Blue Velvet... it worked like "charm". That was exactly what I was looking for!

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... ;)