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Old 02-28-2006, 08:25 AM   #1
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Location: southeastern Iowa, in the technology corridor
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Default minimum PDF settings for newsprint

When going to a forgiving medium such as newsprint (more forgiving of low res images, anyway), what kind of compression and/or downsampling settings can I get away with for my final PDF?

I have a 48 page magazine-type publication with many images (mostly raster, but some vector) plenty of text, as well, and the paper will be newsprint. Had to create it with QuarkXPress 6.5 for a variety of reasons, so I have only its settings for initial PDF generation, then Acrobat 6 Pro (CS Suite) to tweak it with from there.

The 48 pager will go to press tomorrow, so I did a test PDF export from QX at maximum quality/resolution settings (of course embedding all fonts, of which there are a ton) and, although I have three pages yet to lay out with text and images, the PDF came out a whopping 295 MB!!

I needed to send something to the client to start proofing, but their FTP server either was having trouble of its own accord or detected the monstrous size of the file I was trying to send and shut down my connection, so I used Acrobat 6 Professional's "PDF Optimizer..." feature to strip out and compress all sorts of things: remove thumbnails, downsample images (to 200 if over 300 dpi), compress to JPEG medium quality and in the Clean Up pane selected everything but "remove document structure" because I'm not sure I want whatever that does. I left the monochrome image settings alone and didn't allow downsampling or compression. I also didn't allow compression of text and line art, because earlier in this project I had several very odd things happen with several vector images when I PDF'd them with "compress text and line art" turned on.

So, all those settings produced a 13 MB file from the 295 MB original. Woo hoo! Impressive size reduction! Today I decided to compare the two PDFs side by side. I'm only on page 9 of the 48, but viewing them enlarged to 150% I cannot for the life of me see any difference between the quality of the two PDFs! If I cannot see the diff at 150%, would the much slimmer 13 MB one print just as well to 85-100 line on newsprint as that 295 MB monster? I'm guessing the extra data of that monster file is way overkill for newsprint, yes?


Last edited by ElyseC; 02-28-2006 at 09:00 AM. Reason: completed a thought
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