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Old 12-24-2009, 09:18 PM   #1
andrewscheinman
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Patent/Heavy graphics pdfs and Adobe PDF Optimizer

I bought a dr1000 a year ago to use to view US and international patent documents in .pdf format. And gave up almost immediately, because the page turns were slooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww. So slow it wasn't worth the pain.

Recently I picked up my dr1000 again and discovered that there have been a bunch of updates to the firmware, so I installed 1.7.1, and it helped quite a bit. Then somewhere somehow I ran one of those horribly slow to read .pdfs through Adobe Acrobat Pro 8's PDF Optimizer function (I am using the OS X version of Acrobat Pro), and the difference was enormous.

I've seen a few posts mentioning this optimizer function in passing, does anyone else have any experience with particular tuning of it? I've been doing a variety of controlled experiments using it to see if I can figure out what parameters are doing the most good, but I've not found any really obvious conclusions.

Then the other question is whether there's any freeware that does the same (or better) job. I tried pdfopt on ubuntu but that didn't seem to help; I am guessing the magic is more in processing down the huge graphics files, but I haven't played with anything like imagemagick to see what I can do. As I recall I can probably write an applescript to batch convert .pdfs with Acrobat Pro, but I'd be happier to use a unix-type utility if one's available.

If anyone wants to play, it's particularly interesting that PCT documents (http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en) seem to be much more optimized than do US documents. I haven't looked at all the various sources of patent .pdfs to see if one source is more optimized than another (e.g., google patents versus patentlens) ... I think they all get the documents from the USPTO so I don't know if there's likely to be much difference.

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Old 12-25-2009, 05:15 AM   #2
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You can get quite dramatic results by "optimising" both using the Adobe programme &/or MAC equivalent. Generally most improvement is on the embedded images but it is a bit of trial and error. I've had 60Mb files reduced to 0.9Mb with little loss of clarity but a dramatic improvement in readability on the all devices. Again, best results are when the images are jpg based. If png based you won't see such a difference, well you might but you may not be satisfied with the reading results.

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Old 12-26-2009, 01:20 AM   #3
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Does Acrobat Standard version have the same optimiser feature?
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:34 AM   #4
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From a quick websearch it appears that Acrobat standard does have the pdf optimizer feature, but I would suggest looking at the Adobe site or in any case some independent verification before buying.

I did some more experimenting with the Acrobat Pro 8 Mac version that I have, and it's very weird. First, for the patent .pdfs there isn't a very marked file size reduction, in fact I don't see any change in file size based on bringing up the file info. So it doesn't appear to be a case of a massive reduction in graphics that produces the speed up.

Second, if I go to the optimizer page (in the mac version, Advanced ->Pdf Optimizer) and uncheck every option, the file I create is, not surprisingly, no smaller and no faster to flip pages than the original file. Makes sense since everything was unchecked right?

Okay, but now if I select *only* "Images," which is the entry for image compression, and then turn off downsampling for all three options available (downsampling for color images, grayscale images, and monochrome images), the resulting file I get is no smaller than the original but DOES flip pages at the faster (much faster) rate. So 1) the optimizer function does something when "images" is checked but there's no downsampling and 2) I have no idea what that something is, but at least for these patent documents it produces much faster page turning, fast enough to make me want to use the dr1000 again.

I'll probably see if I can query Adobe as to what the program does under the circumstances I described. I'd still like to figure out if there's a free alternative, both because free is better, and also because I'd prefer to run the conversions on *nix based platforms.

Anyone else have any insights on this?

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Old 12-26-2009, 11:39 AM   #5
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Well on the MAC you don't need acrobat. If you dig around, you can create a compress pdf script. In the automator you can chose what level you compress the jpg files and that often does a good job.

However, the best one I found, (not for yourself in this case) was Neooffice. If you don't already have a pdf but are wanting to create one from say a word or excel formated file, it gives really good results straight away. Much better than Microsoft or Apple's defaults.
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