Monday, 15 October 2012

Illustrator CS5 - save small PDF files

Often when using Illustrator you need to create a PDF copy of your illustration. You may need to share it with colleagues or a customer, perhaps for their input. The resulting PDF file can be very big and difficult to e-mail. You could of course use Skydrive, Dropbox, Google Drive or similar. But you can also reduce the size of the PDF substantially - here's how:
  1. Open your Illustrator .ai file (always keep this file safe, it's your master file)
  2. Click File | Save a Copy
  3. Change 'Save as Type' to Adobe PDF
  4. Click Save
  5. Change 'Adobe PDF Preset' to Smallest File Size
  6. Click Save PDF
Illustrator Adobe PDF Preset - Smallest File Size
In my tests I found that with the Default setting I had a 6MB file. With the Smallest File Size setting I had a 110KB file!!! That's a small fraction of the file size.
The Smallest File Size PDF will be great for on-screen viewing. However, for printing the quality will NOT be perfect. Change it back to the Default setting if you want high quality for printing.
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