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How to make a PDF file smaller?

Why do I need to downsize a PDF for printing?

Preparing print-ready PDF files for large format digital printing in Illustrator and InDesign can create extremely large files that are both difficult for computers to handle and very slow to upload to printing suppliers via the internet.

How do I downsize a PDF file without losing print quality?

Press quality PDF files often render frustratingly large results, however, there is one setting you can choose that can reduce the size of your files up to 95%!

Here's how you do it.

Steps to creating small PDF files within Illustrator or InDesign

1. In the main menu of either program, select 'Save As' if you're using Illustrator, or 'Export' if you’re using InDesign.

In the Format drop-down menu, select Adobe PDF. Click Save.

2. In the Save Adobe PDF settings window, select the Presets dropdown window at the top.

Choose [Press Quality] from the list.

In Options, uncheck the box: Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities. This is the most important setting to dramatically reduce the file size!

3. Select Compression from the menu on the left side of the window.

Set Colour Bitmap Images to 150ppi

Set Grayscale Bitmap Images to 150ppi

Set Monochrome Bitmap Images to 600ppi

Note: 150ppi resolution is more than acceptable for large format printing.

4. Select Marks and Bleeds from the menu on the left side of the window. If you are using one of our templates as a guide, leave this window with the default settings.
We don’t require any printer’s marks or bleed set because the bleed is contained within the page size of the document. If you are building your artwork without one of our templates, you may have to set bleed and printer marks.

5. All other settings can stay as default. Finally select Save PDF and you’re done!.

Did you know?


We work with our sister company in Sydney to deliver truly Trans Tasman campaigns. The combined team will take care of all the production,  project management and logistics in both New Zealand and Australia, ensuring your budget is optimised and your stress levels are reduced!