Mac PDFs are 2x the size of Windows PDFs and look worse

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by bsuthoff, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. bsuthoff macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    Is there a way to create smaller, better PDFs?

    As just one example, I have a Powerpoint PPTX that is about 3MB. Saved or printed to PDF it's over 6MB. If I open it in Preview and re-save with the Quartz filter to reduce file size, it's still 5MB.

    The same presentation saved to PDF on Windoze about the same size, if not smaller, than the original Powerpoint!

    And to add insult to injury, the Mac-produced PDF looks worse both in Acrobat on the Mac and anything on Windows.

    Has anyone compared the built-in Mac PDF output to Acrobat? Are there other tricks or drivers out there to make smaller PDFs?
  2. oscuh macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2007
    Do you have the full version of Acrobat? If so you can use it to reduce the file size.
  3. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    I use either Adobe's built-in PDF engines in various apps, or Acrobat Distiller for any PostScript files. I've found Quartz PDFs to be only OK for general use, and rarely use them. Spending the time comparing the two seems fruitless when you know what definitely works. In the case of a Powerpoint file, I'd print PostScript and run it through Distiller to have greater control over the quality of the PDF; I'd also check and optimise it through Acrobat Pro if it needed it.

    It might also be due to a difference between the Mac and Windows versions of Powerpoint and the respective PDF writers. If you're running Leopard, try printing to PDF at PDF-X.
  4. bsuthoff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    Thanks for the responses. I was trying to avoid shelling out for Acrobat. I'm not a designer but typically use PDFs to send our business docs and presentations.

    One interesting thing (I think) I found is that Apple's PDF engine seems to be version 1.4 and maybe even 1.3 labeled as 1.4. The Windows PDF engine looks to be version 1.5. Maybe that explains some of the difference...
  5. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    A neat trick I just learned is to open your PDF file in ColorSync Utility and set up a filter of your own choosing. You can reduce graphic file size, compression quality, etc. and come up with settings to your liking.

    It's counterintuitive to me (ColorSync Utility? To compress PDFs?) but it works!
  6. keysersoze macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
  7. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    The PDF is only as good as the program that creates it really. Quark produces massive files for example.

    Powerpoint doesn't sound like it's great with PDFs.
  8. bsuthoff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    I think the real problem is the version supported by the PDF engine. The difference I'm seeing is definitely not a function of the application (e.g., Powerpoint).

    The built in Mac engine supports 1.4. I installed the Acrobat 9 trial and it supports 1.5 for general use, 1.4 for higher-quality.

    Seems the PDF 1.5 is simply far more efficient and better for "everyday" use.

    Wish there was a way to upgrade the PDF engine in Mac OS. Hopefully Apple will add it to 10.6 and maybe give us a choice between the two versions.

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