Best Settings for Exporting a PDF for the Web

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    • #58383

      Hi everyone,

      I was curious if anyone had any recommendations on exporting PDF's from InDesign that will be viewed on the web.

      What would you suggest as the best settings to create a PDF that is as small and lightweight as possible, without sacrificing too much quality?

    • #58386
      David Blatner

      It's a tricky thing… on the one hand, you'll get the smallest results by printing to postscript and using Acrobat Distiller. But you'll lose hyperlinks, bookmarks, etc., so that may not be so good for an interactive experience. I would suggest:

      Acrobat 6 compatibility

      Turn off Tagged PDF (won't be accessible or as searchable, etc. but perhaps a bit smaller? I need to do some tests on that.)

      Set compression to 150 ppi, jpeg (jpeg 2000 might even smaller, but it's not supported by all pdf readers)

      Set image quality to Medium (good enough for onscreen usually)

      Set output to convert to destination (preserve numbers), choose sRGB as the target, and say “Include Profiles” (the CMYK profile takes up a lot of space, but since you're converting to sRGB, the rgb profile is only a few K).

      Make sure that font subsetting is set to 100%, not zero percent (so you do get subsetting).

    • #58387
      Bob Levine

      Far be it from me to question all that, but I'd really like to know what kind of content is in that PDF and what type of viewing experience you want for the viewer?

      Are there buttons? Hyperlinks? Photos? Will it be printed or just viewed on screen? Do you expect everyone to view it in Reader? In a browser? Will it be downloaded?

      Your definition of small and lightweight would be help, too as would the version of InDesign you're using.

    • #58402

      Currently I'm using InDesign CS5. For the PDF I created most recently there are no bells and whistles involved. No Hyperlinks, buttons, videos or anything of that sort. It's just text and photos. It's just a very basic PDF. My goal is to make it load as fast as possible while still looking good.

      Thanks for the tips David. After doing all of your suggestions, would you further suggest opening the PDF in Acrobat Pro (I have version 9.4.1) and using its file reducing capabilities? Document > Reduce File Size.. and Advanced > PDF Optimizer?

    • #58429

      I would make a couple of suggestions to David's settings…

      If you use Acrobat 6 compatibility, decide if you want to turn your InDesign layers to Acrobat layers. Use for bilingual text in PDFs, etc.

      Use Tagged PDFs if you expect sight-impaired readers to use the PDF with screen readers. If you are involved with a state or the Federal government, you usually HAVE to use tagged PDFs. You might want to use the Article tool in Acrobat too.

      150 ppi compression for color and grayscale images, but 600 ppi for monochrome.

      I usually don't include the sRGB profile as most browsers assume it is the default, but as David said, it is small. You will see almost no color shift when converting from CMYK to sRGB.

      For “normal” PDFs, I still use the PDF-print settings, but turn on the bookmarks and hyperlinks settings. If I don't use those features, not harm done. To include bookmarks (very useful navigation feature), create a TOC. The TOC can be on the pasteboard.

    • #58443

      I'm a web geek, not a designer, so I'm not usually producing the original InDesign document or creating the PDF, but I get a lot of bloated PDFs sent to my inbox for posting!

      As a general rule, before I post to the Web I open *all* PDFs in Acrobat and run “Document > Reduce File Size…” In almost all cases Reduce File Size further reduces the size of whatever anyone sends me and I've had no problems with readability.

      Sometimes, if the PDF is especially bloated I may go to Advanced > PDF Optimizer, but Reduce File Size usually is good enough.

      If you do use Advanced > PDF Optimizer, I second the recommendations for 150ppi for color images and 600ppi for monochrome as producing a decent sized PDF that can still be printed without looking terrible. You can even go to 300ppi on monochrome if you aren't too worried about print quality.

      In the old days (!!!) I'd sometimes go with 72-75ppi for color images, but with larger screens being common I don't recommend that anymore, because even at “Fit to Width” size in a PDF reader, the image is probably scaled larger than 100% on your screen. The images still look “okay” at 75 ppi, but not crisp.

    • #58457

      Awesome tips guys. Thanks!

    • #61904

      InDesign CS3. I have an EPS graphic on a master page of a 200 page document. The resulting PDF is very large. When the EPS is replaced with a raster version of the graphic, the resulting PDF is significantly smaller (7MB vs 22MB) I have been told that the PDF export option “Optimize for fast web view” replaces the master item on each page with a link to a single copy of the item (InDesign CS3, Kvern and Blatner, page 539). This is apparently not true. Is there any way to keep the EPS on the master page and still produce a relatively small PDF?

      Thanks in advance, Gus

    • #126469
      Pavan B C

      I would like to export the file in 75% so that when the PDF document is opened, all the pages are shown in 75%. I have adjusted the setting while exporting to 75%. However, in the exported PDF, although it opens at 75%, when I click the button and it takes me to a different page, it is at 100%. I am guessing that this has got something to do with the Zoom field while creating the button. How do I make sure that the view is 75% even after clicking the button? Please help!

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