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I have a 1 MB Word file (text with 3 or 4 PDF graphics inside, and 1 bitmap JPEG image), which Word 2011 exports as PDF into a 66 MB file. Using the "Print > Save as PDF" feature leads to a file of the (approximate) same size, i.e. also much too big.

This happens for this file, most others are okay when exported to PDF. Are there settings that could help reduce the file of the PDF file generated?

  • I don't know about settings, but I get around this problem by first saving to PostScript. Then I print to PDF from a PostScript viewer. It's an extra step, but one that saves me 90% of the file size. – Nathan D. Ryan Mar 26 '13 at 14:35
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    What fonts are you using? It's been a while, but I've seen examples of enormous bloat resolved by switching to standard postscript fonts. (having said that, I just tried to reproduce that with a couple of fonts without success.) – Tim B Mar 26 '13 at 14:51
  • @TimB that document uses a few nonstandard fonts: Myriad Pro and Arno Pro, in two weights and italics… that might be it, but the font files themselves aren't big enough to explain 66 MB size. – F'x Mar 26 '13 at 15:07
  • I wouldn't expect that they would, but I did once shrink a 100MB doc down below 1MB by swapping fonts. You could select-all, choose "Times", "Courier", or "Helvetica", and print to PDF to test it. (though as I said, I tried and didn't see it.) Alternately, you could also try opening the PDF to see what is in it. If you have the full Acrobat Pro (which most people don't), it will show you the contents at an object level. If you don't, you could open it in an editor that won't choke on the binary sections. I use Emacs for stuff like that. – Tim B Mar 26 '13 at 17:16
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Courtesy of the ever-useful Dr. Drang, you can try using a Quartz Filter to downsample the images to reduce the file size, often without any apparent reduction in quality.

  1. Open ColorSync Utility and click on the Filters tab.
  2. Add a new filter, give it a name you like.
  3. Click on the grey arrow, select Color Image Sampling under Add Image Effects Component.
  4. Enter 150 in the resolution box.

Now we need to create an Automator service to apply the filter to the PDF file.

  1. Open Automator and make a new Service.
  2. Change the top drop-down to PDF Files.
  3. Add the Apply Quartz Filter to PDF Documents action, and select the filter you just created in the drop-down.
  4. Save it with a name of your choice.

Now you should be able to right click on a PDF file, and you should see the service you created near the bottom of the menu. Click it, and a few seconds later you should have a smaller PDF.

  • OK, that's useful, but the bloat does not come from the images, apparently. – F'x Mar 26 '13 at 15:05

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