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Reduce the size of saved Illustrator files
Authored by: kyngchaos on Feb 14, '06 09:25:57AM

Oh, one of my pet peeves (at least indirectly) at work. Pretty much what Rob said, but I feel the need to rant a bit.

First, this is a result of previews in EPS files and PDF data in .ai files. The file size added to an EPS depends on the dimensions of the artwork. The size added by PDF data I think depends on the amount of artwork (I never looked at this one, since I don't use that option, see below). And here is where my peeve comes in.

EPS should not be used as a working file format, just for an end product if you want to send it to a printer or place it in another program like InDesign or Quark. Even then, PDF is better these days. And for that reason of a printable end product, you want your layers on so they print. So, save as Illustrator file during production, and save an EPS copy for printing/placing in other programs, file-size-be-damned.

Then there's the .ai Illustrator file. As of Ill 9, Adobe switched to a PDF-based format, and conveniently provided a PDF compatibilty save option - you could now view the Illustrator file directly with Acrobat/Adobe Reader. Again, it's a bit of an end-product peeve - save as PDF only at the end, and retain the Illustrator file for later editing. But there is more here. Saving with the PDF option can cause problems with lots of and/or complex artwork - you may get a memory error at the end, tho the Illustrator part is saved. And, the PDF compatibility option doesn't give you as much control over PDF options as Save As PDF or ripping it with Distiller, and you want that control for better printing quality, especially when dealing with complex Illustrator effects and filters.

If you just want a quick-n-dirty PDF for screen viewing or home printing of small Illustrator files, the PDF compatibility option should work fine. But if you turn off layers to make a smaller file, you won't see anything in Adobe Reader, so what's the point of using the PDF option?

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