Saving PDF files from Photoshop

How to reduce huge PDF files generated from Photoshop and Illustrator

by Dean Cook, April 19, 2016
Category: How To,   Tags: difference between PDF and Photoshop PDF, flattening illustrator PDF, huge illustrator PDF files, illustrator PDF, making illustrator files smaller, Photoshop PDF, reduce illustrator files, reducing illustrator file sizes, reducing photoshop PDF files, Saving Photoshop PDF files, saving Photoshop PDF files for print, saving Photoshop PDF for print,

Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator are just a couple of the preferred programs used by designers to create adverts for magazines. However, on many occasions, we are supplied with large data PDF files saved from these programs. This can raise a few eyebrows, but also increases concerns about the file’s technical stability for commercial printing as issues can still arise — and sometimes when it’s too late to do anything about it.

The following feature will not only omit background editable features when the document is saved, but it will also optimise the PDF better for commercial printing as well as reducing the file size making it easier to email the artwork.

So how do you reduce and optimise PDF file sizes from Photoshop or Illustrator for onward use? In Photoshop simply uncheck ‘Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities’ and in Illustrator uncheck ‘Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities’ in the ‘Save Adobe PDF’ dialogue box (under ‘options’).

Deselecting this check box could reduce a 40Mb file to just 2Mb. Additionally, it will also remove many of the common issues that can be encountered with publications receiving PDF files saved from these programs. It won’t affect your original file for as long as you have kept a separate native PSD/AI version for future editing.

Alternatively, just by choosing a ‘Standard’ at the top of the dialogue box will automatically turn this option off. For commercial printing, we always use PDF/X-1a:2003 which has given us issue-free files for many years, so it’s worth just creating a preset for commercial printing, so you don’t have to set the features every single time.

So going through the dialogue box just set the following:





When you’re all done, click on the little icon in the far top right-hand corner and call your setting ‘Commercial Print PDF X1’ and then you’re good to go.

Next time you want to create a PDF, just make sure the Adobe PDF Preset at the top of the dialogue box shows ‘Commercial Print PDF X1’

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