How to export smaller PDFs from InDesign

18 Nov How to export smaller PDFs from InDesign

Ahhhh those pesky large PDFs.

If you have had a multiple page document in InDesign with many vector images, you may have noticed it is difficult to export a reasonably sized PDF.


This is because InDesign exports all vector data, and does not compress it. If you have a vector image placed in an image box within InDesign, even though you only see what is within the box constraints, InDesign will attempt to export ALL the data from that placed file, even what you cannot see. It also does not compress or degrade the image quality of a vector image (isn’t that nice **insert sarcmark**). This began with the CS versions of Adobe software. This results in PDFs that can just won’t get small enough.

So… how do you overcome this?

If you chose “print to PDF” from your print menu, instead of “export PDF” from the export options, InDesign will properly compress and crop vector data, resulting in a smaller PDF file. You must have Acrobat Pro installed on your computer, and “print to PDF” will be an automatic option in your print menu.

Most recently, the smallest we were able to export a particular PDF in InDesign was 19MB. We tried every option to “squish” it we were aware of—19MB was the limit. When we “printed” the same file to a PDF, it shrank to 9.7MB, AND it was better quality.

Hope this helps…