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PDF file size

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Not the first time this will of been discussed. We are desperate for a solution or workaround to the problem of PDF file size/complexity.
We have a large project with 200+ drawings and a client that cannot open the majority of the files unless we open the ArchiCAD published PDf files in photoshop, flatten them, and then re-save as a PDF.

I have tried various combinations in the publish options within ArchiCAD and there is no option to genuinely 'flatten' what you see. We're not interested in preserving layers etc (that's what we have DWG's for).

Does anyone have a low-effort workflow for reducing files like this en masse?

I am considering that if I can add an 'acrobat' print driver to windows, then I could possibly select 'print' from the ArchiCAD publisher (instead of publish) and then tick 'print as image' but this is a long shot.

Any help appreciated.

Laszlo Nagy
Community Admin
Community Admin
Could you upload one of those generated PDF files somewhere so we can take a look at it? I would be interested to see what is causing those large PDF file sizes.
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AMD Ryzen 1700X CPU, 48 GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB, 500 GB NVMe SSD
2x28" (2560x1440), WIN10 PRO ENG, AC20-AC26
Loving Archicad since 1995

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Thanks very much for the offer! I've just sent you over a link privately to two files that have been causing us problems.

Incidentally, if anyone else wants to take a look at the files for interest sake just shoot me a PM and I will send you a link.

If we get to the bottom of it I'll make sure I post a resolution here for others to see but might just need to edit the problem files to redact our client's information.

Many thanks, Laszlo.

You can get reduced file sizes by using abobe acrobat and printing to PDF. the issue is that it can take up to 10 times longer to generate!!
AC25 i9 11900K / 128G ram / GTX 3090 / Enscape

Laszlo Nagy
Community Admin
Community Admin
I have looked at the PDF files you uploaded for me. A few thing that come to mind:
- Some of these Fill patterns are pretty dense, which means they take quite some time to draw in Acrobat. You could try to make them less dense, if it is feasible.
- Fill pattern Pens have a thickness. I am wondering if it would make any difference if Fill Pattern Pens were hairline Pens. You could test this by creating a new Pen Set based on the current Pen Set used, but in this new Pen Set you would set the thickness of all Pens used for Fill patterns to zero. This could potentially make the PDF lighter and faster to redraw. (Of course the other option is to use the Hairline option in the PDF Option Dialog, but you may want line thicknesses in other elements.)

But the main issue seems to be the "non-flattened" way of saving these PDFs. When I open the PDF and Pan around in it, I can see that a lot of drawing content is drawn, only to be then covered with a large Fill. These elements shouldn't be saved with the PDF file to begin with. And if I understand correctly, this behaves the same even if Layers are not saved to the PDF.

I would recommend that you create a wish for a "Flatten View content before saving as PDF" option in the PDF Options Dialog. That would be a very useful and intelligent option for ARCHICAD and I am sure users would support the wish. We could then vote for it and submit it to GRAPHISOFT as a wish.
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AMD Ryzen 1700X CPU, 48 GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB, 500 GB NVMe SSD
2x28" (2560x1440), WIN10 PRO ENG, AC20-AC26
Loving Archicad since 1995

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Agree, one of the fills is very detailed. This is quite deliberate, however - we often draw tiling to actual size including grout joints to make sure when we are space planning the tiling setting out is being considered at all stages.

Will give your recommendation a try on line weights and in the meantime have created a poll for the issue;

I would be interested to learn if anyone has a workaround for this outside of ArchiCAD? We have tried batch processing the PDF's in photoshop but for whatever reason, we have only ever managed to do this with one drawing at a time (not a practical way to continue).

Thanks again Laszlo for the help.

If you do a Google search on "batch flatten PDF" you will get a number of solutions, like as well as other software solutions.
Richard Morrison, Architect-Interior Designer
AC26 (since AC6.0), Win10

Not applicable
I am having a similar problem with publishing to PDFs -- the file is so large that watching it regenerate in Adobe Acrobat is like watching an etch-a-sketch screen, and the file crashed the plotter at the print shop that I usually use a couple of times before we were finally able to get a hardcopy.
I am still in early stages with my CD set, so by the time the set is ready to be released, I am afraid it will be so large as to be useless.
I've reduced the PDF file size somewhat by removing hatch patterns from the roof plans and substituting air space for insulation in my composite walls, but that's not a great long-term solution.
Ought to add that I am new to ArchiCAD, so I may be doing something really bone-headed. Would appreciate any further suggestions from more experienced users...meanwhile off to see if I can figure out how to flatten the PDFs.

Erwin Edel
How big is big?

I have A0 sheet with a project that has tatched roof where I have a very busy dot pattern to show that. This file is just over 1 MB as a PDF.

20 page A3 detail booklet is 2,5 MB.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten

Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

Not applicable
Erwin - the PDF file size is 4.5M; that's for four 30x42 sheets of a preliminary set. I removed the busy hatch pattern from the roof plan and that reduced the PDF size somewhat.

Would be delighted to have a 20 page detail booklet at only 2.5M!

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