Why does my iMac make huge PDFs?

Infidel

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Started with a MS Word document (docx file): 29KB

On the iMac, generated a pdf, both with "print to pdf" and "save as" commands, as well as adobe acrobat pro: ~130KB...selected option to make small file size...same deal...130KB. There's even a "compress pdf" script you can add to snow leopard that is supposed to help...it didn't.

On a windows xp pc, used adobe acrobat pro, made pdf of same file: 45KB

Without going into detail, the file needed to be under 100KB, thus the efforts.

This isn't the first time I've noticed this, and have heard others mention it too. What gives? We're talking almost a 3-fold difference in file size? The resulting files look the same on-screen and print the same. Why all the extra bits? Sloppy code, or is there a good reason?

I also heard that you can re-save a Mac generated pdf on a windows machine, and it will be smaller, although I haven't tested this myself.

FWIW, I use and enjoy both systems, so let's not go there.
 

Drake

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Well, its not the iMAC, it's just the way Microsoft's Office PDF plugin works. The files are always much bigger than the output from Adome Acrobat, even if all they contain is just plain text. When you add some images, they are even bigger. Not to mention crappy image quality. It's just a simple feature of MS Office, not meant for serious work I guess.
 
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Infidel

Infidel

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Ok...with Mac OS X, pdf creation is supported natively, in the print dialog box, regardless of whether you're using MS Office...that's 1 method of pdf creation. If you have acro pro, that's another, more detailed method (adjust pdf settings, etc). On a windows machine, you need a pdf creation application, like acro pro...that's the only method I have available on a windows machine.

Regardless of method, regardless of MS Office (presumably), the file created on the Mac is bigger than the same file created on the windows machine. My question is simply put, why?
 

Drake

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Well, on a PC you also get many ways of getting a PDF file. You can of course print to PDF, if you have "print to PDF" drivers installed, that is. You can use Adobe Acrobat. And you can get an MS Office plugin that makes exporting to PDF possible.

Why does the output size differ? I think it's quite similar to creating web pages in HTML. You can make a web page by coding it carefuly and making sure it is as small as possible. Or you can use WYSIWYG software, like Dreamweaver or Front Page, which will make identically looking webpage a lot bigger in size, simply making one big mess in the code. I think PDF is pretty similar. Each file must have some code under the hood. Adobe Acrobat probably makes the code as clean and transparent as possible to minimize the size, whereas third party software simply won't care. That's how I see it.
 

Josh66

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whereas third party software simply won't care. That's how I see it.
I don't think it's that third party developers don't care, it's that they don't have Adobe's source code to work with.
 
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Infidel

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Yeah, I've tried open office, and I just didn't like it....too bad, because I love the concept of open source; Open Office just isn't there yet, for me (not as compatible as it's purported to be). I need the feature set, I need the polish, and I just don't have time to learn a new office suite to the same depth that I know MS office. Besides, we have volume licensing for MS Office where I work. Just got 2011 installed on the mac(s).
 

Tod

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Here is another possible solution:
The problem is with Ligatures.

Resolution:
Click "Save as"
Click "Compatibility Report"
One of the errors will state: "Ligatures will not appear in other versions of Word"
Select this error then click "Fix"

You can then close the compatibility report and then save the file as both docx and PDF. The PDF file will be a more reasonable size.

Original docx 2.1 mg => pdf 110 mg
After correcting ligatures => pdf 2.1 mg
 

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