how do i make a pdf portfolio as small a file size as possible?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by katrina99, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. katrina99 macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    I am making multi-page pdf portfolio in InDesign.
    I want to make the final output size of the pdf to around 2 to 3MB.

    Can someone help me please? This is the first time im doing this.
    I am working from LOTS of pdf files. So basically I have lots of pdf examples of my work, and im laying them out onto a multi page spread in Indesign, I then export to pdf.

    I have tried the 'small file size setting', ive tried default pdf settings.
    I am getting big sizes like up to 8MB.

    Do i need to go back to the example pdf's one by one, and reduce their sizes individually?

    I also tried changing a big pdf into a jpg, but the file size of this one file only reduced slightly.

    Im not sure if I am missing something.

    Any ideas?

    Is working from source pdf files the wrong way to go about it?
    Should i be using a diff file format?

    I just know I need a 2 to 3MB pdf portfolio, to send via email to people/employers/recruitment agencys.


    Using Indesign to make this is the right way isnt it? Or should I be doing it in Acrobat?
  2. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    I use distiller as I am a Quark person but i believe InDesign uses the distiller engine when you export to PDF.

    If you are getting an 8mb file on the 'small' preset, you may want to consider how much content is in your portfolio. Reducing size = reducing quality. Depends what your threshold for pain is in that respect.

    If it is for viewing on-screen only, try setting the downsampling settings lower - but not lower than 72 dpi.

    Also- No, you do not need to edit the size/quality of the original files. This is what the PDF settings are for. It downsamples the embedded images to your desired dpi.
  3. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    The downsampling settings, are for pictures right?(compression section in pdf settings export box) colour and greyscale.
    but they are in pixels per inch, not dpi. Is this the same thing?

    Yeah its a 4 page A3 document. Good amount of pictures.

    Yeah it will be purely for viewing on monitor screens and emailing to people.
  4. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    yes- I say dpi when I mean ppi.
  5. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    yeah knocked them all down to 72, and its reduced the overall size by 0.3MB

    Theres 3 diff downsampling choices, bicubic, subsampling, and average.

    So the size most importantly, is all down to the pictures?
    Its not really about the vector stuff and text?
    And its all about compression settings?

    Theres so many options, its easy to get lost and bamboozled.
  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Got any complex vector EPS files in there? They don't compress like images do which is why it's best to rasterise them for something like this... But you may have to be a bit more discriminating about how many images are in there. Anyone who wants a PDF of a portfolio by email usually wants something A4 with 6-10 images in total; an even smaller sampling of the portfolio that you'd take to an interview.
  7. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    No complex vectors, its the jpg pics that must be the storage eaters.
    So rasterising vectors reduces their file size?
    But vectors look cool when vectors... .

    Yeah im gonna take out some work, and aim to make the pdf around 1.5MB
    Easier to download, faster to view.

    Im working on A3 because im putting examples in at their ACTUAL size. eg, if its a 25cm x 25cm pdf example(as it was for print), its actually taking up that much space on the A3 document. This is the right way to go right? Or can i just use an A4 document and resize the samples and enlarge and resize to my hearts content to make them all look good on A4? Or should i be honest about the real size and dimensions of the original examples?

  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Absolutely, and that's the way it should be for artwork that's going to press, but they don't compress and if the final portfolio PDF is designed to be viewed on screen, then copying and pasting them into Photoshop and rasterising them at 72 or 144ppi is a way to get them down in size without clogging up the portfolio PDF with vector layers, even more embedded fonts, and complex transparent blends etc.

    In my interview portfolio, everything except the large display pieces is at 100%, but that's A3. I'll always include the measurements of the final pieces in small type in the legend. Chances are they'll run out an emailed PDF on A4... it will make all the difference in getting it down to 2-3Mb.

    I think when you email them, let them know it's at A4 for their convenience. You could send them an A3 file, and if they print to fit page on an A4 printer, then it'll resize down automatically but you'll still be stuck with trying to get the file size down.

    One last thing: using copies of the files that are in the PDF but converting them to RGB also helps a lot with saving file space. Embedded CMYK files have an extra channel of information that you don't need when sending out a portfolio PDF.
  9. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    wow lot of good info there, thanks!
    A4 or A3, it doesnt really matter, if all they are doing is looking on the screen. Its all about the file size i guess.

    And using RGB pics for pdf portfolio, ill try that out.

  10. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Before you start cutting content, make sure you run your PDF through the PDF optimizer in Acrobat Pro.

    This will strip away a lot of content you don't need in a PDF portfolio.

    Run it once with no image downsampling. You may be surprised how much smaller your file gets. Illustrator PDFs are particularly egregious. I had a student email me a 45MB PDF... after being optimized the file was 57K!!

    If a PDF has layers and edit-ability, it seems to keep a lot of that content when it is placed within a multi-paged PDF, increasing the file size. You need to strip all that out.

    PDF optimizer also allows you to downsample high-rez images embedded in PDFs. This is a good way to shed some unneeded K.

    Note also that saving your PDF in a newer PDF version (i think the web settings still save to PDF v.5) will make the file smaller due to smarter compression.
  11. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    ive just run the optimiser, and it just knocked of 0.1MB.
    But the settings for downsampling and compressing the pics, are the same settings when you export as pdf, in pdf dialog box.
    Theres probably a coupla other things.

    You mean turn off downsampling to 0?
    theres alot of settings in optimizer i just have no idea what they are.

    All good info tho. I need a break.
  12. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    audit space usage option in optimizer...awsome!!

    yep, pics, and streams? (what are these) ...and fonts....are the space eaters. .

    Attached Files:

  13. snickelfritz macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2003
    Tucson AZ
    Just include the best examples of your work in the PDF; maybe 6 or 8 high quality images at 72dpi.
    Create a complete gallery of your work on your website, and include a link to it in your PDF.
  14. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    But say if i have lots and lots of pdfs of my examples, as therers lots of text mostly. Should i still make them to images/jpg? Or just construct it out of mutiple pdf files?

    ahh. I think thats whats causing it. All the jpgs are at least 200dpi, as all the work was made for printing.

    So for on screen viewing, its best to use just 72dpi, right? It still looks good on the screen right, cause i think monitors are 72 i think i read years ago.
    although i think it also depends on pixel dimensions (?) say if i have big wide pixel dimensions but 72dpi, this would look good on screen? as compared to small dimensions and 72dpi (sorry im still learning)

  15. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    Make a Custom PDF Present within InDesign

    Sometimes the reason why an 8MB file will not scale down to 3MB is because it contains 8MB worth of images. In other words, perhaps it's the amount of content that's the problem. Ask yourself: "What is the intent of the portfolio?" Is it to show many pages of fuzzy low-resolution images or give the viewer an idea of your capability with a few well-selected sharp med-resolution images?

    Making a PDF Preset
    You should not need to re-optimize the PDF in Acrobat Pro. InDesign has comprehensive options within the Export Adobe PDF dialog box. Make a custom PDF Preset. Basically, you change the settings and press the "Save Preset" button. Name it something like "Compressed Portfolio." It will become visible under the File menu (Adobe PDF Preset submenu). You may need to make additional adjustments after verifying the resulting file size. To save adjustments, choose the same custom Preset name from the popup menu when prompted to name the altered Preset.

    Settings that Make a Difference
    Begin with the "Smallest File Size" Preset provided by Adobe. Under the Compression tab, select...
    • Bicubic Downsampling to 72 PPI
    • Compression: "Automatic (JPEG)"
    • Image Quality: "Minimum"
    • Compatibility: "Acrobat 7 (PDF 1.6)"
    "Compress Text and Line Art" and "Crop Image Data to Frames" should be selected by default.

    Under the Output tab, choose...
    • Color Conversion: "Convert to Destination"
    • Destination: "sRGB IEC61966-2.1"
    • Profile Inclusion Policy: "Don't Include Profiles"
    As mentioned earlier, press the Save Preset button and name this before pressing the Export button. These will bring your file down to baseline (lowest acceptable settings). If you are still over 3MB then consider cutting content. There are four primary settings affecting file size when you have many images.
    1. PPI (72 ppi is fine for same-size viewing but not for zooming)
    2. Compress Image Quality (determines amount of artifacts)
    3. Compatibility (more data is required for multiple Acrobat versions)
    4. Profile Inclusion Policy (ICC profiles consume considerable space but maintain fidelity of colors so it is preferable to include them. However, if space is an issue, remove and convert all profiles to standard sRGB.)
    If the file size drops significantly down to 2MB and you want to increase quality, change Image Quality from "Minimum" to "Low" to "Medium." If there is still some room for adjustment, increase PPI to 100 or 144.
  16. snickelfritz macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2003
    Tucson AZ
    Increasing the dpi increases the dimensions of the images on-screen.
    Higher dpi = larger image dimensions and filesize.

    In the print domain, the dimensions remain the same when the resolution is increased, but pixel density is increased, thus increasing the resolution of details in the printed image.
  17. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    oh my god oh my god.
    KWILL = thankyou so ooooo much.
    I will try all you said. Thanks for taking the time out to explain. :)

    This is all getting rather complicated. I need to sit and think and read up about these issues. Im not grasping certain things, but in time......

    great thread.
  18. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    You can leave the 200 dpi (or 300 dpi) images within InDesign. They can even be CMYK. The Export Adobe PDF settings can downsize and convert color space as described earlier.
  19. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    oh really.... other people have said its best to go back to the source.
    But i will follow your instructions. I dont even think going back to the originals is an option. Too messy.

    Adobe export settings eh? thats where the magic happens you say.

    Ill keep this thread posted as i wanna do it all this week.
  20. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    If you are embedding fonts then that will take up a lot of space, since some fonts can be over 1mb.
  21. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    what does that exactly mean?
    Should i be embeding fonts in the pdf?

    Whats the best way to deal with fonts in this situation?
    (i def want the fonts and text to be clear and readable. No fuzzyness like low quality pics)

    I assumed embedding means to kinda jam and imprint the data/font into the its not really there...just kinda imprinted and traced save it eating space/memory. Is this correct?
  22. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Yes. No doubt about that all. Subsetting will give slightly smaller file sizes, rather than embedding the entire font.
  23. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    How do i embed the fonts?

    Subsetting.... ill look into that too....but distiller? Im not using distiller, i dont even know if i have it installed. Is distiller just for quark people?
  24. katrina99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2008
    finally. All done. Just wanna say thanks to all the posters here.

    Got rid of the surplus work, final pdf with the advice on the pdf settings from this thread, came in at 1.8MB.

    But all the other more involved tricks mentioned here, im gonna save this thread and use that help another time, soon when i add stuff or remake it.

    All the best people. :)
  25. mojohojo macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2006
    Reviving this thread since i have the same problem.
    Made a portfolio in indesign with (63 a4 pages) which is currently 26mb, and looking to reduce it as much as possible, hopefully about 10mb.

    My file is quite full of illustrator vector images, is it better to flatten these to reduce file size?

    Based on Audit Space Usage - there is 40% of X Object Forms. im guessing this is the vector art. but anyone know what is content stream?

    Also, i have an illustrator file that is quite detailed, and takes time when saving it. any tips of reducing an illustrator file by itself?

    Attached Files:

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