I just finished my portfolio and need to send it asap. It is a PDF file which is 10.8 MB (too big to send). I tried reducing the file size in Acrobat, zipping it and it is still to big. What are my options? I need to send a digital version.


What have you built it in? If you have large images, try dialing back the resolution a bit.

I have a lot of images that I have to keep in there. As far as the resolution goes, I’m not sure if I can tone it down without pixelating it…I’ve looked into sites which transfer big files, but if I were to send this too an employer I think they would get annoyed. Are there any sites that don’t post their company name everywhere in the email?

What program did you use to create it?

I used Illustrator and then saved it as a PDF file

What do you guys do when you need to email a portfolio? Are your portfolios not as large? Should I just send a hardcopy with a disc as well in the mail. I was planning on emailing first while they would wait on hard copy.

I’ve exported everything as jpg images at around 150 dpi, then made a pdf of thoose… but sometimes the images still look pixelated. Maybe a combination of jpeg-izing the graphics and vector text?

Well thanks for the quick responses so far everyone! I’ve tried the jpeg method, its too pixelated unfortunatley. I think the best bet is to use a website to send them. When this is done it doesn’t tell the receiver who its from though. I guess I could send a email first with my name and cover letter and state that they will be getting this kind of email? Or is this a bad option? Should I just physically mail a hard and digital copy?

you can use a service such as yousendit or dropsend to send files that are normally too large to through. Works well and is free. Alternately, upload it to a host website someplace or FTP and have your client download it from there.


Hey William,

You didn’t say how many pages, what size, etc.

When you email a PDF, there are two rules:

  1. Flatten
  2. maximum is double screen resolution: 144 DPI

Illustrator sucks for saving these, try this
in Photoshop,

  1. import your PDF, it will ask for rasterization options: select all the pages in the left window, make sure you set the crop to “media box” and then change your resolution to 144.

  2. select File>automate>PDF presentation

  3. select “add open files” and then make sure the order is correct

  4. deselect “caption”

  5. save, and in the PDF options dialogue make sure you uncheck “preserve photoshop editing” and change (if needed) the downsampling to greater than 144 so it doesn’t downsample.

  6. you should end up with a PDF that is plenty small.

    If you need any more help, PM me!

EDIT: if you need to, run a sharpen filter on all the pages to make them nice and crispy after importing!

both suck, actually. Print to a .ps postscript file, and use Adobe Acrobat Distiller for the best conversion and downsampling. Presto!


I used to do that, but I got lazy. It seems that the PDF save feature is close enough to distiller now, I rarely go that route anymore. :wink:

(I should note, as I’ve said before, I almost always use InDesign for this type of thing and use the built in PDF exporter. but I’m assuming stonebeck has everything as a large PDF already.)

Well I used distiller and it reduced the file size to 4.27 MB, however some of the pictures have a thin white line running through them…other than it worked. Do you think its a problem to have that line in some of the pictures?

Thanks everyone

had that problem too… another reason I have jpeg-ed out layouts to make pdfs.

I usually distill like Richard does but it does have the problem of making lines in the placed images occasionally, sometimes actually breaking the images themselves into several smaller ones and grouping them with neighboring images. This makes any editing in the distilled PDF nearly impossible. chops text up too. I guess you should be editing the master anyway though…

If you’re using a Mac, you can set up a new Quartz filter to reduce the file size of pdf’s. Open up the ColorSync Utility and duplicate the ‘Reduce File Size’ filter. You can delete the ‘Image Sampling’ function, and slide the mode: jpeg quality up to maximum.

Then open the pdf file in Preview. Choose File - Save As, and choose your newly created filter from the drop down menu. I generally get at least a 50% reduction in file size, sometimes up to 80%, depending on the ratio of images to text. This isn’t suitable if you want the pdf to print crisply, but if it’s only for viewing on-screen it seems to work really well.

that’s a great idea! the new preview is pretty amazing for what it is. I’ll have to try this.

The white lines has to do with using placed images in illustrator. I don’t know why it does this, but I’ve run into this issue before. It seems that the raster importer/exporter in illustrator is weak and can only process “chunks” of an image at a time. (Maybe it runs low on memory easily. I don’t know, I’m not a software engineer)

I’ve placed large raster files and had them broken into equal horizontal slices. I know of no silver bullet.

:unamused: :unamused: :unamused:

if you asked Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to solve this issue for you, and there is still absolutely no way that you can cut down the size of your portfolio, it remained at a whopping 10.8mb, then I have one more suggestion…

at times when I’m working with a freelance client, and I must email them a deliverable at 300dpi, etc, and CDs or media through snail mail won’t work, I will upload the file to my FTP server (taylorwelden.com) and email them the link, with the statement “Right click, save as”.

eg; “taylorwelden.com/exampleportfolio.PDF (right click, save as)”

you won’t want to do this with anything over 10-15mb, then its just too much, or so I feel anyway.

if you still have the line problem…try exporting/saving as a eps file and then going to distiller…

I always just store it somewhere online and put a link in an email. A few mb can make a huge difference when emailing, but the time it takes to download say an 8 mb file vs a 5 mb file is negligible. Size is not as much of a concern this way.

I don’t know why this works but if you go to the print dialogue in illustrator and scroll down to print as pdf where you select your printer and click print. Man I don’t know what its doing but you get tiny files that still look great.

Seriously try this. I just had a pdf that saved as at 168mb and printed at 2.5mb.