Anyone who has ever attempted to use photoshop to save a document as a pdf has encountered the dreaded conversion limitations of photoshop when it comes to saving a file as a pdf.
Long story short, documents with even the smallest images in photoshop result in tremendously large file sizes in the finished pdf document. Working your way through the compression options and format selections, you will eventually run into the fact that you can either have a good looking document or a small document… not both. This article shows you a quick and dirty method for generating a very small sized pdf for your site.
If you search online (even at the adobe website) for techniques to reduce the file size you will see many suggestions to use the ‘reduce file size’ option in acrobat. Yet starting with a 5mb photoshop file you will be lucky to end up below 3mb after using their suggested technique. A quick, dirty and efficient alternative is described below. To use this method, you must have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer.
- Open your psd document (in my case I am using a document 6mb (8.5 x 11 Canvas Size at a resoultion of 300dpi).
- Reduce your resultion to 150dpi (this is for moderate image useage… if you have large, important images you may want to keep it at 300dpi). This is done via the Alt + CTRL +I command or Image – Image Size menu option.
- Next, select File – Save For Web and Devices from the menu options.
- We will save this file as a gif using high quality options (and preserving transparancy if it exists)
- Find this .gif file and right-click. Select the ‘Convert to Adobe PDF” command. *Note: this assumes you have adobe acrobat installed on your system. If you don’t… well then you’re in some trouble…
Using my example, I now have a pdf 142kb in size. This is a massive size savings and allows me to have a pdf that web surfers can download and print.
There are some downsides to this technique. First, you cannot preserve text as text for use in acrobat… so you cannot allow electronic editing and the pdf itself is not editable. To make changes you need to go back to your original psd file to do so and then repeat this technique.
So as long as you do not need the pdf to be electronically edited and submitted and merely need a small, downloadable and printable document for your website you are good to go.