Why are pdfs different sizes when created from the same file but on different computers?

The file sizes will be 1800K on my computer and 500K on a coworker's computer. I am guessing there is a settings issue, but I am unable to find anything.

Andrew Houck

5 Answers

There are many options for things like compression, embedding fonts. image resolution. adding features like bookmarks, keeping or discarding certain information, etc.

George Kaiser   

Also, What is the process by which they created the file? SaveAs PDF out of Word versus the PDF Maker Macro (ribbon/toolbar buttons)? Even within Word there are a couple of options that can increase/decrease the PDF size.

Suggestion - side by side, walk through the creation process. Then, check the creation properties/settings on each end. Make both the same that produce the desired output. There is a plethora of documentation out here where to find these, what the options meean, and how to set them.

Finally, write up the necessary Support/Operations/Procedures (SOP) document in case someone else joins your cadre of PDF creators. You know what you did *now* to make it work. Keeps you from needing to reinvent the wheel during OS/platform upgrades and/or new hire / role-change situations.

I hope this helps.


Douglas Hanna   


You should test on both computers using exactly the same presets for PDF conversion.

JR Boulay   

I guess it might have made more sense if I would have explained how I am using it. I am turning a CAD drawing to a black and white print. So, while I know there is a lot of detail in the drawing file itself, all the editing is done in the CAD file. The PDF is used to turn the drawing into something on paper and to combine PDFs. The PDFs many times have a larger size then the drawing itself. No editing. No Layers. No bookmarks. Nothing. Nothing I have found helps. And I am not the only one in the office that tried find something that helps. Also, I have acrobat x standard.

Andrew Houck   


If you are using AutoCad I would sincerely recommend upgrading to Pro. Acrobat Pro has a toolbar similar to Word/Excel, etc. to aid in the conversion of the CAD information.

As for your conversion process.. let me guess... File | Print --> Adobe PDF printer? That performs a CAD --> PostScript --> PDF transform. Depending on how the objects are described when coming out of the CAD system (e.g. arcs vs. line segments) can have a major impact on the resulting PDF.

As mentioned before - side-by-side comparison of versions, steps, and settings will be the key to figuring this out. Click on all the properties and settings buttons and tabs you can find.

It's in there... computers aren't that smart yet. They are still pretty deterministic.

Thanks. Doug

Douglas Hanna   

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