PDF File Sizing Problems

Hello everyone,

I have a file size problem and not quite sure how to solve it or if I started out with the file too large. I’m getting a few large banners together for print and I saved a flattened copy as a pdf at 150 resolution hoping this would shrink my file. My one Banner is 36"x90" the flattened copy is still 97,931KB. I’m using Photoshop for this job. I’m going to be sending this out as a email to the printer. Any suggestions or help would be appreciative!

Thank you!

It really should be done in Illustrator but you can use a free FTP service like WeTransfer to get it over to the printer.

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anything the size of a banner will be too big to email unless it’s just text

Wouldn’t it be easier if you contact the printer directly?

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This same size banner has been done before by another person and they had a smaller file size so I was trying to figure out how they got there’s set up and emailed out to us as a pdf. Yes next time I will probably be better off to use Illustrator.

Probably lower than 150ppi. Depending on the minimum or typical viewing distance, you likely don’t need all those pixels.

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Please stop. Please.

  1. a flat CMYK photoshop file at 36x90 at 150ppi is only 278.1mb. Or it should be.
  2. You can’t email that and you probably do not want the resolution less for a banner this tiny. I wouldn’t go below 80ppi…
  3. The printer should have an FTP file transport system of some kind in place. Check their website for an “Upload Artwork” link and use it.
  4. I hope you remembered your bleeds for finishing. Especially with a photoshop file where background bleeds are probably hard to pull. Where it’s under 10’ and you aren’t wrapping a frame (right?) then 1" all around would probably be ok. 38x92
    If you send a PDF DO NOT EMBED THE DAMN CROP MARKS. The pdf file format is not set up for wide format output and with a photoshop file, those crops get flattened, possibly printed or if the tech is paying attention the file is bounced back to you to be fixed, which loses your slot on the press.
  5. Check the specs. A .psd format is smaller than a .pdf format in most cases. If the printer takes .tif or .psd send that.

Something’s off in all this.

Why are you sending a flattened raster file as a PDF? A flattened file is a pretty straight-forward thing — it doesn’t need to be wrapped up in a PDF.

As for the size, you’re apparently compressing it while making the PDF to make it smaller than a plain, old flattened file. You could always compress it more, but lossy JPEG compression will begin to take a toll on the integrity of the image, which you likely don’t want. Squishing it down to a size suitable for email will introduce so many JPEG artifacts that I’d definitely not suggest it.

Why are you so concerned about the size? Is it just because you think you need to email it. If you’re working with a normal printer, they will almost certainly have an upload feature of some kind. Have you checked their website? Have you asked them how they’d like to receive the file? Have you considered just uploading the uncompressed file to Google Drive and sending the printer a link? There are lots of ways to get the file to the printer, but emailing a big file isn’t one of them.

They have always sent there banners as PDFs and have had no issues. They have a local printer who does it. I was trying to figure out how my files were so much larger then the files that they have previously used that were also PDFs.

I will keep searching and figured it out. I appreciate the input.

I’m not suggesting they had issues. I’m suggesting the PDF isn’t necessary.

You’re looking for answers that don’t exist. There’s no way to compress a typical flattened 36"x90", 150ppi, CMYK file with typical imagery down to email size without using horrendous amounts of JPEG compression that will turn the file imagery into a blurry mess.

Just save yourself some time and pick up the phone and call the printer.
Send the .psd or .tif and move on.

It doesn’t have to be a pdf cuz the last file was a pdf. The last file might have been 3 vector blocks of color and some text, no imagery, no photoshop. Once you introduce the raster thing into it, of course your file gets large.

Okay thanks

okay thanks

Use WeTransfer to send the file. Or drop box. Or one drive.

Loadza options.

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The printer should have an upload option. Make it easy for them.
I had a designer recently require I make a GoogleDrive account to download their stuff. That put them quite a few notches higher on “The List.” If you are going to use a cloud service rather than the printer’s set up, make sure you know how to link a file so it can be downloaded without the recipient having an account. Unless of course you are working NDA on a secured server. That’s expected.

Two comments (1) 150 res. is too small for such a large poster. If I were doing the job, I would make it at least 300 dpi. (2) I have had no problem sending files up to several hundred megabytes using Dropbox or HighTail. (There are other sites that can send them for free as well. Just Google it.)

This is a banner. 150ppi is standard output resolution for this print size. Go larger with a longer viewing distance, and the PPI goes down.

Dropbox and Hightail are fine though IF A DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINK IS PROVIDED. Do not invite me to join your outbox. Most printers these days will tell you to use their file transport uplink though.

Also, there are different opportunities when it comes to pdf formats. I find that for print pdf/x to be most reliable. When it comes to file resolution, the rule is 1.5-2X the line screen. So for 150 line screen printing, 225 - 300ppi gives the best results. Any more is a waste, any less can start to produce visible staircasing. For large format banner printing, most are comparable to 50 line screen and 75 to 150 works well. When I worked output in prepress we would often take files and reduce resolution to minimum to save on rip time. I agree with the ftp solution. We Transfer works well for me.


Yes. I wish I had a dolla for every designer that wouldn’t believe me when I told them 75 to 150. It’s not my time they are wasting waiting on redraws at 300ppi on something displayed at a 20ft viewing distance. It’s even lower for “banners” used for show backdrops (and zoom meeting background prints, LOL.) 25-30ppi often will do it. And for Hi-Def camera backdrops, you probably want a decent gaussian blur on it too.

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After my own heart here. Been explaining this to people mostly on a daily basis for about 20 years.

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