: What makes Acrobat Pro so good at creating small pdfs...


Moscool
Aug 21st, 2018, 05:37 AM
... and what can you replace it with?

With the impending demise of the CS suite in 10.14, I have been testing replacements. As explained elsewhere Affinity provides excellent software at a fraction of the cost and without subscription.

However finding a replacement pdf creator has stumped me so far. All the built-in creators in scanning applications create files typically twice the size of anything Acrobat produces. My workflow is to scan with *whatever* is at hand (or directly from Acrobat if the device is Twain compliant) and then run it through OCR in Acrobat: de-skews anything that needs to be and divides file size by two (for the same visible quality). If I'm bothered I also carry out another save in 'reduced size mode' which makes the file compatible with Acrobat 9 or above only. That saves another 10%.

So, what's Adobe's secret sauce? Does anybody else come close?

Thanks

FranÁois

polywog
Aug 21st, 2018, 09:35 AM
I've found it's usually down to image optimization. Acrobat is really good at picking the right compression/dpi for an image. Some other apps just take them as is.

In the past I've run pdfs through an automator job with decent results:

I believe the action you're looking for is Apply Quartz Filter (not in front if my Mac right now) and the Filter is 'Reduce File Size.'

Moscool
Aug 21st, 2018, 09:40 AM
In the past I've run pdfs through an automator job with decent results:

I believe the action you're looking for is Apply Quartz Filter (not in front if my Mac right now) and the Filter is 'Reduce File Size.'

Would be great if you could show me how! Thanks

wonderings
Aug 21st, 2018, 10:04 AM
I've found it's usually down to image optimization. Acrobat is really good at picking the right compression/dpi for an image. Some other apps just take them as is.

In the past I've run pdfs through an automator job with decent results:

I believe the action you're looking for is Apply Quartz Filter (not in front if my Mac right now) and the Filter is 'Reduce File Size.'

I ran a test using preview with a large PDF I have for a banner job. The file size was around 18 mb, so not massive by any means. I opened the PDF in preview exported as a PDF using the quartz filter "reduce file size" and saved. There was zero change in the file size, not even sure what it did. I then opened in Acrobat DC and saved as a reduced size PDF and was given a PDF around 600kb, so a significant reduction, massive really.

It really is a shame how Adobe has pushed completely into subscription for their software. I know a few people who use the software a little and could not justify paying monthly and have looked at other software for when it will not longer be supported. Specifically photoshop. From my tests with Adobe CS6 in Mojave it is not looking good.

No solution for you unfortunately.

Moscool
Aug 21st, 2018, 10:10 AM
It really is a shame how Adobe has pushed completely into subscription for their software. I know a few people who use the software a little and could not justify paying monthly and have looked at other software for when it will not longer be supported. Specifically photoshop. From my tests with Adobe CS6 in Mojave it is not looking good.

No solution for you unfortunately.

*Sigh* and *Re-sigh*

polywog
Aug 21st, 2018, 10:11 AM
I ran a test using preview with a large PDF I have for a banner job. The file size was around 18 mb, so not massive by any means. I opened the PDF in preview exported as a PDF using the quartz filter "reduce file size" and saved. There was zero change in the file size, not even sure what it did. I then opened in Acrobat DC and saved as a reduced size PDF and was given a PDF around 600kb, so a significant reduction, massive really.

It really is a shame how Adobe has pushed completely into subscription for their software. I know a few people who use the software a little and could not justify paying monthly and have looked at other software for when it will not longer be supported. Specifically photoshop. From my tests with Adobe CS6 in Mojave it is not looking good.

No solution for you unfortunately.

There's also 'Compress Images in PDF Documents,' and a slew of Advanced options in Quartz Filter.

Unfortunately in Mojave, I can't scroll enough to see what's in 'Reduce File Size' as options under advanced.

Moscool
Aug 21st, 2018, 10:17 AM
All I can see is that in Acrobat Pro you have a slider for quality and if you set it at 60-70% you get a massive size reduction while retaining excellent quality (I'm using it mainly for text and minor graphics); a bit like when you drop jpg to 90%. I've never found the Apple engine (in preview or keynote) to be nearly as good. It systematically creates bloated files and the quality degrades rapidly the minute you lower options from 'best'. The 'cropping' size reduction works.

wwj
Aug 23rd, 2018, 12:40 AM
I don't use PDF Pro, but I wondered if it allows PDF file-size reduction?

pm-r
Aug 23rd, 2018, 05:20 PM
*Sigh* and *Re-sigh*


Did you try the reduction size suggestion using ColorSync Utility?
https://smallbusiness.chron.com/make-pdf-files-smaller-mac-53818.html

And I guess you've tried these:
3 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Make a PDF Smaller on Mac
https://www.cisdem.com/resource/how-to-make-a-pdf-smaller-mac.html




- Patrick
======

polywog
Aug 23rd, 2018, 08:31 PM
Did you try the reduction size suggestion using ColorSync Utility?
https://smallbusiness.chron.com/make-pdf-files-smaller-mac-53818.html

And I guess you've tried these:
3 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Make a PDF Smaller on Mac
https://www.cisdem.com/resource/how-to-make-a-pdf-smaller-mac.html




- Patrick
======

FYI - the filter options in ColorSync Utility are the same ones available through the Automator action.

pm-r
Aug 23rd, 2018, 08:51 PM
FYI - the filter options in ColorSync Utility are the same ones available through the Automator action.


Thanks for the info,

I suspected as much but wasn't sure.


- Patrick
======

Moscool
Aug 23rd, 2018, 08:57 PM
I'll need to run some tests with the current crop of software. Last time I did (2-3 years ago) Acrobat won by a mile...

polywog
Aug 25th, 2018, 06:09 PM
Thanks for the info,



I suspected as much but wasn't sure.





- Patrick

======



Until you mentioned ColorSync I hadnít thought to check there. So we both learned something!




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

pm-r
Aug 25th, 2018, 06:40 PM
Until you mentioned ColorSync I hadnít thought to check there. So we both learned something!



I wonder why Apple doesn't provide an option or link to the ColorSync filter when using their Preview.app, or did I just miss seeing anything???


- Patrick
======

Moscool
Aug 28th, 2018, 09:02 AM
I'll need to run some tests with the current crop of software. Last time I did (2-3 years ago) Acrobat won by a mile...

So a little update... Chose to scan a simple colour text double-sided sheet. I run two separate scanners: an all-in-one Canon MX925, and a dedicated document scanner Canon ImageFormula DR-225W

1) I started with the default (system prefs) Canon scanning utility on the all-in-one: pretty useless as it creates pdfs that weigh in at 3MB/page and doesn't offer OCR, but that's my starting point...

2) I then ran the same scanner with VueScan and OCR at various resolutions: Auto, 150 and 300 dpi with very little to show between them visually as an end product. The 150 dpi may be challenged on smaller text or a combination of handwriting and small text, but no it this case

3) I then went through my normal routine: started with the ImageFormula which creates medium sized files at 200dpi/OCR and then ran it through Acrobat pro. I give two examples of Acrobat: (i) a simple save followed by a 'reduced' save (i.e. to Acrobat Reader version 9 and above). (ii) Although the original file already has OCR, I ran it again using the Clear Scan option which creates a custom font 'layer' on top of the existing pdf. Again I saved normally and in version 9+ The benefit of going through this is that it also de-skews each page.

The results are at the end of the message, sorted by file size.

So as you can see, a reduction of 60% between the Input file (ImageFormula) and the Acrobat optimised file. The only thing that comes close is VueScan at 150 dpi but it is much slower and doesn't de-skew.

So I'm looking at a piece of software that will take an exiting pdf and optimise it like this, while not costing U$16/month! The search is on...

polywog
Aug 28th, 2018, 11:08 AM
So I'm looking at a piece of software that will take an exiting pdf and optimise it like this, while not costing U$16/month! The search is on...


Can you attach the original somewhere; I'll take a stab at it with automator later today.

CubaMark
Aug 28th, 2018, 07:51 PM
2) I then ran the same scanner with VueScan and OCR at various resolutions: Auto, 150 and 300 dpi with very little to show between them visually as an end product. The 150 dpi may be challenged on smaller text or a combination of handwriting and small text, but no it this case

I haven't had need to do this in quite awhile, but IIRC, VueScan's OCR setting does a high-resolution scan and creates a TXT output file... it doesn't create a PDF with a text layer in place of the image-scanned-text. I may be wrong....? Does VueScan's OCR-to-PDF method create a PDF in which the text is selectable?

On another note - I've *never* had any success with ColorSync's filters doing much of anything useful when it comes to reducing file sizes without making the text and images unacceptably blurry.

Moscool
Aug 28th, 2018, 08:25 PM
I may be wrong....? Does VueScan's OCR-to-PDF method create a PDF in which the text is selectable?

Yup, it has joined the modern ranks! I tested with a couple of random text strings and ran them through Spotlight: VueScan is there each time.

Funny observation, the three OCRs are not 100% accurate: the odd character is 'seen' differently depending on the app, with the result that a search string will give different results depending where it was copied from...

unblocktheplanet
Aug 31st, 2018, 08:45 PM
As a book author, I really like Cisdem PDFCreator which can work with RTFD. If your file size is still too big, Apago's PDF Shrink gives options for Web, email, iOS, and print. Should that not work for you, We Transfer!

Moscool
Sep 1st, 2018, 07:28 AM
Thanks to Polywog's efforts we have a partial solution: he has managed to reduce my test files to a size similar to that of Acrobat, with only a marginal loss of quality. I'll share this later on (once I understand his automator actions!) but I also wanted to test the current version of available no-subscription software... But let's start with Acrobat DC to check what we are comparing this to:

- DC has a much improved interface
- The ClearScan equivalent (now called editable text) doesnít overlay the font as before. So you get pixelated characters with a hidden font overlay. The file size is much increased and reduced size save is also larger than previously
- The text is editable and exportable to MS word. A bit of a mess as my test document blends different footers and handwritten annotations, but you would expect that. The Word document is actually much smaller than the original (again it is switching to fonts that makes a real difference to file size for a text-heavy document)

So DC is NOT the way to go! Save your subscription money. The search goes on...

Moscool
Sep 1st, 2018, 07:36 AM
Next up is PDF Expert (pdfexpert.com/)

I downloaded a trial of the pro version which comes highly recommended by Pocket-Lint. It has a slick user interface and does everything you would expect an advanced editor to do (although it can fill but not create forms). It has a major flaw though: no OCR (!) Therefore, and as expected, it's file size reduction is pretty brutal: the 'medium' quality results in a large file, and 'small' ins unacceptable.

The search goes on...

Moscool
Sep 1st, 2018, 08:44 AM
As a book author, I really like Cisdem PDFCreator which can work with RTFD. If your file size is still too big, Apago's PDF Shrink gives options for Web, email, iOS, and print. Should that not work for you, We Transfer!

Thanks for the suggestion. So this was my next test:

- The full Cisdem app weighs in at 1 Gig, has a horrible interface and crashed 10 times in succession no matter which side I approached it from...

- The Compressor only sub-app was only 2Mb. and offered a choice of 4 compression levels based on image dpi. The smallest usable one (72dpi) created a file that was ⅓ of my best efforts so far but was virtually unreadable. Again, no clever work on fonts, just basic jpeg compression

The search continues...

Moscool
Sep 1st, 2018, 10:32 AM
Unblocktheplanet's next suggestion was PDF Shrink (http://apago.co/prod_home.php?prod_id=36)

Cutting to the chase:

- Basic compressor
- Exact same performance as the Automator scripts described above (on the 'email' setting)
- Doesn't match the quality of Acrobat on OCR (i.e. uses the exiting OCR of the document if any)

So I'd be reluctant to pay for this, although it solves the problem to the same level as Polywog's approach

The search continues...

unblocktheplanet
Sep 1st, 2018, 03:39 PM
So DC is NOT the way to go! Save your subscription money. The search goes on...

So which version of Acrobat Pro is the best to use so far? TIA!

Moscool
Sep 1st, 2018, 04:00 PM
So which version of Acrobat Pro is the best to use so far? TIA!

Any CS between 4 (I think) and 6. I use both 5 and 5.5 on different machines the latter being Acrobat X (current version is 10.1.16)

unblocktheplanet
Sep 1st, 2018, 06:05 PM
Any CS between 4 (I think) and 6. I use both 5 and 5.5 on different machines the latter being Acrobat X (current version is 10.1.16)

I should have specified... My two MBPs run 10.9.5 and 10.13.6.

For the latter, Acrobat Pro X CS 10.1.16; how about the former?

TIA!

Moscool
Sep 1st, 2018, 06:08 PM
I think it's just Acrobat 9, which is the first version that supported ClearScan