How To: Reduce the size of PDFs exported from ArcMap


Suggestions provided describe how to reduce the output file size of maps exported to PDF from ArcMap.



  • Remove transparency and picture marker symbology. Refer to the ESRI Knowledge Base article in the Related Information section below for a sample tool that detects if any of the layers in the map are symbolized with transparency and/or picture marker symbology.
  • Replace the Picture Fill symbols with simpler, vector fills.
  • Replace the Picture Marker symbols with font-based vector marker symbols.
  • Remove raster data sets.

Data and Layout

  • Reduce the display quality of all raster layers:
    1. Right-click the raster layer in the Table of Contents and select Properties.
    2. In the Layer Properties dialog box, select the Display tab.
    3. Lower the display quality in the Display Quality slider from Normal.
    4. Click OK.
      [O-Image] Raster Display Quality
  • Decrease the page size of the map.
  • Remove any unnecessary map elements and data frames not visible on the layout.

PDF Export Options

  • Reduce the output resolution or dpi.
  • If the map contains layers symbolized with transparency or picture marker symbology and/or contains raster data sets, reduce the output image quality.
  • Check on 'Compress Vector Graphics'.
  • Set Image Compression to 'Deflate'.
  • Set Picture Symbol to 'Vectorize layers with bitmap markers/fills'.
  • Uncheck 'Convert Marker Symbols to Polygons'.
    'Embed All Document Fonts' should always be checked on; do not uncheck it.
  • At 9.3+: set Layers and Attributes to 'None'.
  • At 9.3+: Uncheck 'Export Map Georeference Information.'

Related Information

Last Published: 7/8/2016

Article ID: 000010570

Software: ArcMap 10