Save PDFs as Lower Versions

Answered by Jay Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Design Tools Monthly

Some programs can't handle newer versions of the PDF format, but our company receives PDFs in every version imaginable. How do we convert an existing PDF document from a higher version (v.1.5, 1.6 or 1.7) to a lower version (1.4 or 1.3)?

This is a common problem, caused not only by differences in release cycles for various software programs, but also by Adobe's policy of not making the final specification of a new PDF verson available until their own software ships. In any case, here's how to convert a newer PDF to an older PDF version: open the PDF into Acrobat 6 or higher, then choose Advanced> PDF Optimizer... and then choose Acrobat 5 or 4 from the "Make compatible with" pop-up menu. Be sure to disable all image downsampling options if you want to keep your images as they are. (Compression is fine, but Downsampling removes image data.)

If your images are already low-resolution, then an easier way is to choose File> Reduce File Size and choose Acrobat 5 or 4 from the "Make compatible with" pop-up menu. This will reduce your images to about 150 dpi.

For Power Users: If you have a lot of PDFs to downsave, you can also choose Advanced> Document Processing…> Batch Processing…, then create a new Sequence and enable the PDF Optimizer under the Output Format area. Click the Settings button and choose a PDF version under the Make compatible with: pop-up menu.

This question was answered by Jay Nelson, Publisher & Editor, Design Tools Monthly. We love DTM's tips and advice and think you will, too. For a free sample PRINTED issue, contact Design Tools Monthly at 303-543-8400, e-mail, or go to their website:
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