How to Optimize your PDFs for a More Streamlined Workflow – Part Two

(Continued from part one)

A good starting point to achieve a leaner, cleaner PDF is to use good quality PDF software from a company that has close ties to the PDF community and stands behind its products and supports them.

When talking about PDF optimization software, we have identified some key areas you need to think about:

  • File Compression– The ability to compress the different parts of a document.
  • Reduce Bloat– The ability to reduce bloated and duplicated items.
  • Reliability– Something you can depend on that won’t crash if you throw some complicated PDF documents at it.
  • PDF/A Support– The PDF/A format is an archival standard for long-term preservation of documents, so 100 years from now you can open a PDF and it will look visually the same as it looks today, and you don’t have to worry about the PDF software representing it correctly.
  • Color Conversion– When converting colors, you want to use true Color Management, so you don’t get washed out colors say converting from CMYK to RGB.
  • Configurable– You may have one set of standards for dealing with Mobile viewing and another for dealing with more traditional Desktop viewing where factors that are important differ (e.g. resolution).
  • Bulk Processing– You may have a directory with millions of documents on a server somewhere taking up Terabytes of storage.  Nobody can comb through those files manually to reduce them, it would be a large waste of time, so you want an automatable tool that can run over all of those files automatically and optimize them.
  • Easy-to-Use– You want something that’s easy to use, you don’t want to have to learn the PDF Format and the intricacies of PDF and PDF Optimization as we’ve talked about before.

So, where can you find such a tool to help you with this optimization? You don’t have to look very far. Datalogics offers a tool to meet your PDF optimization needs: PDF Optimizer.

Here’s a simple example of how you use it:

You simply specify a few options:

  • an input document, in this case MyReport.pdf
  • an optimization profile with settings, in this case standard.json (We ship two standard json configuration files with the product)
  • an output, optimized document, in this case Optimized.pdf.

That’s all there is to it!  Now you can run it and create your optimized PDF.

Please note PDF Optimizer is available for Windows 64-bit and Linux 64-bit.

Datalogics also offers a free tool called PDF Checker, which has a nice cross-over with PDF Optimizer. Both tools were built with the Adobe PDF library (APDFL) and were designed with automated workflows in mind. What PDF Checker checks or validates is potential problems with your PDF document.  This includes direct problems and warnings for things that could be problematic when in use.  The notion is that you can use PDF Checker to identify problems with a document and then based on those characteristics you can drive PDF Optimizer in different ways. Both are built with genuine Adobe technology.
A little bit about genuine Adobe technology, there are common libraries like the Adobe Color Engine, the Adobe Font Engine, and the Adobe PDF Library for example are common libraries underlying flagship Adobe products such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and most importantly Adobe Acrobat.  A bit about Adobe Acrobat, it’s the ‘Golden Standard’ of all things PDF, it typically sets the expected behavior when it comes to all things PDF.

Adobe Acrobat is an extremely vast tool that does many things with PDF.  But at its core Acrobat is relying on APDFL (which includes these common libraries we talked about before) to do the real heavy lifting for PDF work, whether it be opening, saving, converting colors, preflighting…virtually anything PDF related is going to require the Adobe PDF Library on some level.  We have APDFL interfaces for C, C++, the .NET Framework, Java and APDFL works on Windows, Linux, Mac, and different varieties of Unix.

What this means is that you can bake in the same PDF Optimization we have talked about in PDF Optimizer directly into your own application if you need more fine-grain control over the process by using APDFL.  So, you can code against the PDFL API and specify optimization as you see fit.
The PDF Optimizer also offers PDF/A output for your long-term preservation needs.  Another thing it can do is genuine Transparency Flattening.  It can do precise Color Management for dealing with colorspaces correctly and converting colors.  Besides Image compression it also does Image down-sampling which reduces size while maintaining visual quality (when you down-sample you can save space with a trade-off of losing some information but maintain good visual quality that looks no different to the naked eye).  It can be driven with easily configurable settings for different target environments to suit all of your optimization needs.

Here’s an example of how powerful the file size reduction can be:

Here we have reduced a complicated PDF Document from nearly 12MB down to about 2.5MB achieving a file size reduction of nearly 80%.
PDF Optimizer as well as our command line applications are available as free evaluations from our website.  To learn even more about how these tools work, please watch our recent webinar focused on PDF optimization. Please let us know how we can help you address your PDF needs!

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