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Why Is My File Size So Huge?


Ben wrote:

I have a 60+ page CS3 file that saves at around 450MB and growing. Doing a quick preflight check shows that there are no embedded images nor saved image previews. The linked photos themselves are high resolution, around 2-3MB a piece. If it’s not saving any image data and merely linking 500 .jpg images, why would this file be so large?

Ironically, I know the answer to this one because of my long history with QuarkXPress, which also exhibits this curious phenomenon. There are a number of things that can make your InDesign files huge. The first thing to always try when trying to reduce file size is to choose File > Save As. That clears out any gunk that has accumulated while you’ve been working on the file.

However, in this case, the problem is, in fact, your images. These images were probably saved from a digital camera to disk, and then imported directly into InDesign. Unfortunately, many cameras save their files at 72 ppi (pixels per inch, sometimes called dpi). It may be a 17 MB, 3000 x 2000 digital capture, but if it’s saved at 72 ppi, then it’s about 41 by 27 inches large. So you import it into InDesign and scale it down to the proper size, which increases its effective resolution (watch the Info palette to see original vs. effective ppi).

Now here’s the rub: When you import an image, InDesign saves a low-res “thumbnail” preview of it, right? That’s what’s stored in the InDesign file itself (so you can still see the image if the original on-disc image is missing). But when you import a 72 ppi image, InDesign saves the entire image as the preview! It essentially embeds the whole thing because it’s trying to save a low res (72 ppi) version of your 72 ppi image.

The solution: Open your file in Photoshop, choose Image > Image Size, turn off the Resample Image checkbox (if you don’t want the image data to change), then set the resolution to something reasonable (such as 225 or 250 ppi). Now save the file and reimport it into InDesign. InDesign places the image at the proper size, makes a much smaller proxy image, and the next time you do a Save As, your file size should drop considerably.
Sure, there are other reasons that InDesign files can get huge, but images are the main problem I’ve encountered.

(By the way, I discovered why InDesign files jumped in size between CS and CS2: Color management was turned on by default in CS2 and InDesign started embedding CMYK profiles in its files. A CMYK profile may be 1-2Mb in size, so the minimum InDesign file size–what you’d get if you just had an empty INDD file–suddenly got much bigger.)

By the way, Ben later replied:

A quick batch in Photoshop helped me to fix these up to about 180dpi at no larger than 8 inches in either horizontal or vertical.  The file size wasn’t decreasing until as you suggested doing a simple Save as.  Sometimes it’s the slightest things that can trip you up.

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, CreativePro Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at LinkedIn Learning ( are among the most watched InDesign training in the world.
You can find more about David at

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  • Five says:

    That’s great to know. It seems pretty obvious, but I wasn’t even thinking about it.

  • This is a great tip!

  • Stuart says:

    Just a quick addition:
    For commercial printing the effective resolution of images are best at 300 ppi

  • Jerome says:

    Technically speaking ppi for print should be at twice the lpi that you are going to print at. The two most typical lpi’s that we use for products at work are 133lpi and 150lpi, so the image should be at 266ppi or 300 ppi. As Stuart said 300ppi is a good base for most print because the RIP can throw out the extra data of the larger image that it doesn’t need when processing the image for a lower lpi and the files are not that much larger than the 266ppi files are. When doing covers we typically do them at 350ppi for 175 lpi or 400 for 200lpi. If we don’t know what the lpi is going to be when we start building the files then it’s best to make them at a larger resolution.

    For video display I typically build in multiples of 72ppi since most video applications are build off of this standard. So I would make them at 72ppi, 144ppi, 288ppi.

    I usually like to build files at a larger resolution so that I don’t have to rebuild them when the client decides that they want to repurpose the image for another application. This is especially important when building images for web that you think they might also want to incorporate into a print product.

  • Stuart and Jerome, you guys are just baiting me because you know this is a pet peeve of mine, aren’t you? ;) Doesn’t anyone read Real World Scanning & Halftones, or Real World Photoshop anymore? Sigh.

    There is very little reason to ever use more than 1.5 x your halftone screen frequency. Yes, I know everyone says “2x lpi” but when pressed they insist that they do this only because they were taught it by someone else. For traditional spot halftone printing, 1.5 x lpi is good.

    Therefore, if you’re printing with a 150 lpi halftone screen, you almost definitely don’t need more than 225 ppi images. There is a huge difference between file sizes at 225 and 300. (Doesn’t sound like much, but try it!) So the only time you need 300 dpi is if you’re printing at 200 lpi (still not that common).

    I would never use any image resolution above 300 ppi for halftone printing because the resolution is too small for the human eye to resolve.

    I might increase to 350 or 400 when printing with stochastic screening, but even then I think its highly unlikely that any normal person would be able to see the difference between a 300 ppi and 400 ppi image.

    Keep your files at a reasonable size! Don’t use such high resolutions.

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    I recently generated a 3d image of a book from a flat scan of it’s cover. I had everything superbly done (if I must say so myself) through illustrator, photoshop and Indesign. Illustrator to create the 3d, photoshop to do the necessary shading and generating the area to look like pages at the edges, then indesign to make the shadow. I thought I was clever in putting one image in indesign and duplicate it. But it seemed to take forever for indesign to respond to the simplest page or just skim past the page. So I ended up duplicating the image in photoshop and applying all my shadows and effects there, made a psd so I didn’t get a white a background and hey presto the system responded much quicker.

    I guess it’s just easier to do some effects with photoshop and flatten before they get to indesign. (Don’t worry, I kept and unflattened unused version of it incase I needed to make changes).

  • Dan Curry says:

    [quote]Doesn?t anyone read… Real World Photoshop anymore? Sigh.[/quote]

    I do, David! Course, it’s the Version 5 edition, but it is still full of valuable info. I know this is off topic, but I’ve learned more from that one book than anywhere else. I particularly love the trick about getting good line art scans.

    I was just referring to the book yesterday, as a matter of fact!

  • I wonder why anyone is printing CMYK sheet-fed offset work with a printer who runs less than 250 lpi?

  • This problem is known since the 1st vertion of InDesign. It has been happening because the InDesign format is based on PDF format. The growing is PDF native problem. The problem also meets in Illustrator, but in AI each save really is save as.

  • Alexey, InDesign and Illustrator are definitely not based on the PDF format. The “Save As” fix (making files smaller) works in many programs, including QuarkXPress and PageMaker.

  • Save As works to making files smaller in all programms, bacause rebuilds the files. Turning to PDF in Illustrator (from PostSctipt) in 9 version has allowed to support effects and transparency. In InDesign has used same graphics language based on PDF. Now Adobe moves to PDF as main graphics language from PostScript.

  • James Sutherland says:

    The ‘Save As’ trick also works in MS Word; it’s a fairly safe bet *that* isn’t based on PDF…

    I’m glad I found this tip, anyway: I was a bit disappointed when un-embedding the images in my 110 Mb .indd file turned it into a 135 Mb file! Now I have a nice 49 Mb file instead…

  • Bill Glasgow says:

    Re: 8. Christopher Gomez said: “I wonder why anyone is printing CMYK sheet-fed offset work with a printer who runs less than 250 lpi?”

    I assume you meant ppi. There are decreasing benefits to increasing the line frequency beyond 175 as you start to run into problems related to the physics of ink chemistry. In visual terms, the dynamic range tends to decrease resulting in greater detail at the expense of lower contrast (and frustrated, angry pressmen/women).

  • Erik says:

    I’m working with InDesign CS3 about a month now. Last week I’ve completed a magazine lay-out of 36 pages. All full colour with many images in it, a few of them the whole page covering. I noticed at the end the filesize did grow to 250 MB, normally in CS2 this sort of magazine would be 20 till 30 MB. So, searching the web for a explanation I found the tip to use Save as… at the end. That decreased the filesize to 160 MB. More than 90 MB less, but still much more than the usual CS2 filesizes.
    The images I use are all converted in Photoshop to CMYK, 300 dpi. CMYK profile included. There are no 72 dpi images used.
    A suggestion of David Blattner made me to export to INX. The INX-file seems very small, about 2 MB. Opening the INX in CS3 and saving it will bring the filesize back to 170 MB.

    Secondly I imported the INX in InDesign CS2. By saving it the filesize reduces to 17,4 MB!!! After that I opened the CS2-file in CS3 en saved it. The filesize is now 17,5 MB. That’s more like the filesize was, but not a nice workaround…

    Does anyone has the same problem? And maybe a solution?

  • Lori LeBeau-Walsh says:

    Not the info I was looking for but a fabulous tip and insight into how InDesign works!

    Re: C. Gomez–I have only worked with one commercial printer that exceeded the standard 150-175 lpi past 200, and they were only doing it for publicity. I have also been told by printers, as B. Glasglow says, that 175 really is optimum for today’s workflows.

    To David: the reason so many designers routinely save images higher than 300 (or even at 300 when they don’t need to) is because something always happens and one needs to resize larger in InDesign; there might not be time to go in and carefully fix/resize images like we used to.

  • A-jax says:

    It looks like you guys already figured it out but we were just working with an indesign cs3 file that was around 65MB and we simply exported it out as an interchange file (INX) and it reduced the document to 15MB. It’s still pretty rediculous considering there are no linked files but it’s a good quick fix if all you need is a band aid.

    Good comments.

  • Mike Font says:

    Is there a way to find out what dpi all the images in a document are?


  • erik says:

    Thanks for the saver as trick.

    Helo im also doing a catalog, but mine its about 3.6G in size, It has an estreme amount of images, so i guess that’s why it is so big, but i still think it is way too big. i’ve been trying to lower the size but nothing worked. i reduced the file size of my links to about 30% less, resolution on them is still 300dpi, but image size is a lot smallet, plus i merged all layers. also , i separated the catalog into 2 diferent ones so each of them has half of the pages, but the file size on both of them remained the same as the file size of the one with half the pages. i did the save as trick and it reduced the size to a lot smaller file, but I still dont get why changing the image sizes didn’t work.

  • @Erik: Changing the size of your imported images (flattening layers, resampling, and so on) will probably not change the size of the InDesign file at all. InDesign doesn’t import the whole image (unless you embed it, which is not a good idea for large images). InDesign only remembers a “proxy” or “preview” of the image. When you flatten the photoshop image, the preview doesn’t change.

  • Eugene says:

    @mike font

    Least Fav option:

    If you go to File>Preflight and then choose REPORT. It will generate a .txt file with all the file info in there. In here there is a section for Links. And you can easily see the Actual PPI and the Effecitve PPI for each image.

    Better Option:

    Links Panel go to the fly menu – Copy Links to and create a folder and copy all the linked files. Browse that folder using Bridge and it will show all the DPI beside each image.

    If you already have all the images in one folder then just browse the folder using Bridge.

    CS4 Option – Best option :)

    However if you upgrade to CS4 I think the DPI is shown in the Links Panel.

    Hope that helps

    (Reflecting – the Preflight Option isn’t bad, at least it shows the Actual and Effective ppi, where Bridge just shows the Actual PPI)

  • Bob Levine says:

    @Eirk, are you embedding the images? I can’t think of any other reason to have a file blow up to that size

  • Ben says:

    Seems like having a lot of tables will increase the file size too. Each page with a table is about 500 KB. I have a file with 29 pages of tables, no graphics, and it’s 16 MB. :/

  • Ben Baker says:

    When you save as turn off “Always Save Previews Images with Document” this will reduce the file size dramatically and you still keep the preview of the images.

  • Mike says:


    we are expecting to get into trouble with an InDesign CS3 file that’s using a lot of complex tables. (500 in the final version but we’ll probably split the file in 4 pieces)

    Unfortunately we are using an InCopy workflow that prevents us from using Save As (it would re-create copies of all assignments)
    Any idea what to do?
    In some programs you can rebuild the file structure by some obscure scripting commands and such but I don’t know of any in InDesign.

  • Rhiannon says:

    OK, here’s a different problem. My file is just text, no images at all. OK, a lot of text (500-odd pages ? blame my boss for wanting it all in a single document), and a lot of different character and paragraph styles, but still just text.

    I was running a series of global find/replace queries, and noticed that the program’s response was getting slower and slower. So I saved the file and checked the file size. 24Mb.

    So I did a ‘Save as’. 12Mb: half the size. Great! I thought. Then I opened it up again and ran one single global search and replace (double quotes to single quotes). It took five minutes. Then I saved again. The file size had jumped to 15Mb.

    So I saved it as an INX file. That got it down to 6.5Mb. Then I opened it up again in InDesign (took five minutes) and saved it again as an INDD file: 10.5Mb. And now the program’s responsiveness was back to normal.

    But it didn’t last. After maybe half an hour of GREP queries and general typo-correcting, it got slow again, and when I checked the saved file size, it was back up at 20Mb again.

    All the queries I’ve been running are fairly simple ones (like double quotes to single) and nothing that I haven’t run on other files before without problems. I also restarted ID several times during the process, and the entire computer once, without noticeable effect.

    What’s going on?

  • Nick Rhodes says:

    I have some files I recieved from a client to work on.

    the file sizes seem very exessive for the content and won’t come down at all.

    For example one file is about 28MB with about 100 referenced graphics which I don’t have access to…

    Save as does not reduce the file size even with thumbnails turned off.

    Exporting to .inx produces a much smaller file reporting that graphics are not available as you would expect giving about a 5MB file.

    When this is opened again however ID takes about 10 minutes to open the file shwing ‘Importing *****.eps etc for each linked file!

    The graphics are not shown as thumbnails in the file (at any display performance setting) and are not visible in the pdf file if I export to pdf.

    What is ID doing?????

    It seems to be processing lots of data on opening the inx file importing graphics which are not on the machine or local network, yet the graphics are not embedded, viewable or printable even at preview resolution.

    Come back Framemaker all is forgiven!!

  • m. vandiver says:

    I just wanted to say I went through and updated all my images to be higher resolution (but smaller in actual size!), and THEN did a save as eliminating preview images, and my document when from about 55mb to 15.6mb. Hooray!

  • Ralph F says:

    Can anyone currently using InDesign CS5 see if the Save As function helps with file size? I’m still having issues with one client’s image-laden documents going 30 to 50 MB per document. Even with all the tricks above, I can’t reduce the file size any more than a few MB.

  • Melanie says:

    Thank you very much for this tip. It helped me to greatly reduce my file size.

  • mk says:

    I face the same problem. whenever i print a pdf file, the file keep increasing in size letting me wait so long for it to print.

  • Magda says:

    I had a book with illustrations (Water colours) printed and just two of the illustrations came out right -the other ones were too pixalated- even though all of them were scanned and fixed using photoshop the same way. Any idea why? and what can I do to fix this? I converted the CS5 file into jpeg with a 300 dpi resolution.

  • Donald MacKay says:

    I am combining 4 pdfs into one indesign file. The pdfs are relatively small in size 4 – 5 megs. When I output these combined file to pdf the grow to an astounding 154 megs! They were originally created with Indesign CS5 and combined in a CS5 document. Anyone have any idea what may be going on?

    Thanks in advance.


  • John Signor says:

    I have a 60 page InDesign file with text, tables and small 300 dpi B&W images. This was created in InDesign, not imported from some other software like Quark. It has been about 29MB. Yesterday it grew to 2.8GB and this morning was 4.5GB. I restarted InDesign, opened the file and saved it with a different name and it dropped to 2.28GB. Still way to large a file size. What is going on? Snow Lepord 10.6 and InDesign

  • @John, if you’re an InDesign Magazine subscriber, read the cover article called Drop 20 Pounds in InDesign (by Mike Rankin and myself) in the last issue. There are lots of possibilities, which we tried to outline there.

  • John Signor says:

    Thanks David. Love your books. We exported the huge file as InDesign mark up file to the desktop. Reopened and saved with a different name and file is back to normal size (about 29MB) no clue what happened but we are back to normal anyway…

  • JM says:

    I have InDesign files each of which have many images that I know are all large (ie, LOTS of dpi/ppi).

    Is there a simple way I can have all the images reduce in file size without having to open each file individually in Photoshop, reduce the size, and re-import into InDesign?

    What I’m after is a method to do this in bulk.

  • Michael says:

    If anyone is still checking this, I have found another GREAT solution both for bloated Indesign files and huge pdfs when exporting from Indesign:

    1. Create a new document.
    2. Set the existing document next to this and drag the page thumbnails onto the new document. This will import the pages as is (in my case some glitch meant the font changed in some text boxes but an easy fix).
    3. When you save the document, the file will be much smaller. I had a 20 page document balloon to 500MB and after the new file was just 17MB – without changing anything in image size etc. Even better, when I export from this file to PDF now the pdfs are just 1MB rather than 5MB.

    Granted the file size should be about 2 MB and the pdfs 500K but that’s Adobe.

  • Eugene Tyson says:

    I used to have to do that trick an awful lot in Quark. Had to do it a few times in Indesign, but usually a round trip to inx or idml (cs3 or cs4/cs5-5.5) and that usually gets file sizes down considerably.

  • Damon says:

    Magda, about a year late, but when you changed the file in photoshop to 300 dpi you probably had ‘resample’ image checked. which means all your doing is adding a whole lot of pixels but still getting the same quality (say one red pixel at 72dpi, becomes 4 red pixels at 300dpi, but still looks the same).

    Youd need to make sure resample image is unchecked, that way the image will stay unmodified, only the dimension will change, but that will probably mean your images are too small to use now.

  • Sandi Whitaker says:

    I have been working with a huge file that was big last year, and was bigger this year. 200 pages hundreds of photos and lots of tables. Doing the export as .idml really worked! All the links looked good, and it went from 2.5 GB to 63.3 MB! Thanks!

  • AnnaP says:

    This is a good tip, thanks! My file is now less than half the size and is quicker to navigate!

  • C says:

    I just tried this and my filesize is still huge at 248MB and none of the images are embeded. It is only 8 pages long but does have a lot of shapes. I’m using CS5.

  • Just found this topic after noticing a 6-page ID file had grown to 1.62GB.

    It contains just two small JPEGs (linked) of 110KB each, text and a vector object.

    ITE, copy-pasted all content to a new document and now the size is a healthy 2MB.

    Using Mac OS and InDesign CS5.

  • BIll Cunningham says:

    Guys –

    I’m trying to handle something that’s urgent and has been giving me fits:

    I have a 65MB ID file in CS3 (a graphic novel which is very image heavy) that I am readying to go to the printer. When I export the file to PDF the whole pdf document swells to over 450MB.

    All the images are linked properly. I can’t see how the file size of the PDF would swell like this. Is there a quick-fix for this that maintains the high print quality I need to send to my printer? If I can at least get this file down to 350 MB I would be happy.

    What the heck am i doing wrong and how do I fix it ? As you can no doubt tell, I am a complete novice at this. I need a link to a step-by-step process so I can handle this.

  • @Bill: In Finder or Windows Explorer, select the InDesign file and all the linked images and see how large they are. Having a 450 MB PDF for a graphic novel doesn’t surprise me at all, as you must have a boat load of linked images.

    A more important question is why do you want to make the PDF smaller? If it’s just going to the printer, they’re probably used to PDFs that large.

  • BIll Cunningham says:

    @ David – the printer is Createspace and won’t accept anything over 400MB to be uploaded.

    I was always under the impression the PDF would actually be smaller than the ID file and the linked images. The images aren’t loaded “into” the file so why would the PDF be so massive? Isn’t it all “distilled” into the PDF?

    (Again, I’m a novice here so forgive my ignorance)

    Each B&W comic page is an image at 300 dpi and averages around 2mb each. 120+ pages plus some text and bonus material = 197 pages total.

    Hope that helps clarify matters for you so you can clarify them for me…

  • @Bill: Interesting. There are a number of reasons a PDF could be bigger than the sum of the assets, though it’s rare. But the main issue is your Compression settings for images. For example, Zip compression is lossless (no degradation) but the file sizes are often larger than JPEG. Are you placing the images as grayscale TIFFs? This might be better handled over at the forums.

  • Rodolfo says:

    When handling images in InDesign on a document, do you must use low res images and once you are ready for printing replace them with high res? or does InDesign has the ability to use high res while you are working on the document, since images are linked and what you see on the screen is a proxy?

    It seems that in QuarkXpress, you had to use low res and then replace them. At least this was true a few years ago.

    Please help…

  • Jeff W. says:

    I was creating our 6-page company newsletter yesterday. Pages 1-2, 5-6 (11×17) were saving at about 5 MB. Perfect. I was also working on pages 3-4 (8.5 x 11) and it was saving at about 4 MB…but after multiple “saves”, the file size ballooned to 1.57 GB!!!

    I have several images (one of which is a large gradient mask created in PhotoShop CS 5.5) but they were all “placed” – not pasted. I went back and saved the gradient as a jpeg, thinking that may lower the file size, but it did nothing. The other images are thumbnail size. I have learned thru this forum to save using “save as” in the future, but for now, how can I get my 8.5 x 11 file back to a reasonable file size?

    Thanks is advance.

  • Jongware says:

    @Jeff: the “Save As” trick should not be done with your images (and other placed file) but with your InDesign file instead.

    In your case, ‘replacing’ the gradient with a smaller file only made your InDesign file slightly larger: it still contains the original large image, annotated “Do Not Use”, and the new image right after that.

    You can use “Save As” as much as you want. (Play it safe: never overwrite your original document with Save As. (Even tho ‘I do that all the time, I’m always thinking “What if it goes wrong this time?”))

  • Etienne St. Claire says:

    Amazing what a simple trick like this can do. I couldn’t understand how our parish bulletin, normally saving at ~90MB, suddenly jumped to 206MB two weeks ago. After reading this, I found the single errant .jpg, and once it had been replaced by a more reasonably-sized version, the file dropped from 206MB to 53MB.

    Now I’m considering mustering the energy to re-visit all those older .indd files, to re-claim some valuable disk space.

    Thank you so much for this tip.

  • William C says:

    I had a file that was 27 MB big. I made some corrections, and it ballooned out to 2.89GB. Huge file. None of the above helped. Someone somewhere else suggested I save it as a .idml file. Then re-open.

    Once I’d resaved it as an indesign file, it was down to 14 MB!!

    It might have had something to do with fonts. A font missing dialogue box appeared immediately on saving the new file.

    Problem is now fixed – tho i have no idea how or why this happened…

    • Tierney says:

      This worked so well for me. 2 page indd coming in at 1.92GB?! When I did the idml trick, it dropped it to 3.3MB and got rid of some little corruption in there or something. I didn’t get any font problems though.

  • Janice says:

    I work on a monthly magazine which usually ends up being about 5mb. Last month there were a number of graphics in the magazine, jumping the size up to 60mb. I use the previous month’s magazine as a template for the next month, deleting all of the old articles. This month, after deleting all of the articles and graphics from the previous month, the file size was still 60 mb. There was no sign of any graphics anywhere in the file, so was mystified as to why the file was still so large. I tried what was mentioned in this forum, of doing another “save as” of the current file, and it worked. The file size is now down to 5mb. I’m not sure I understand why this worked, but I am thankful it did. Thanks for the help!

  • I understand all of the above. My question is that my Indesign file is 65mb yet when I export it to a pdf it becomes 105mb? will the trick above change this file size as well?

    • Ron: no, PDF file size is usually controlled in the pdf export dialog box. PDF file size often has nothing to do with INDD file size because it involves image sizes, compression, etc.

  • carla kaiser says:

    Thank you for posting this. You just saved me a ton of troubleshooting time.

  • Melissa says:

    I have kind of a different, but related question. Sometimes, I export a file from InDesign as a PDF Low Resolution. Then , when ready to print, I export a High Resolution version of the same file.

    Why is it that sometimes the Low Resolution PDF ends up being a larger file size than the High Resolution PDF?

    It makes no sense.


    • Melissa: That’s a fascinating question, but there is one way in which it actually does make sense. High-resolution really means “high quality” in that InDesign tries to maintain everything as vectors as much as possible. Low-resolution will convert more to raster (bitmapped) images. Raster often will take more space (file size) than vector.

  • Judy Otto says:

    I recently upgraded to CS6 from CS2 and ever since I cannot get my PDF exports from ID to a manageable size. I’ve tried all of the tricks listed above to no avail. ARGH! Does anyone have any other ideas?

  • Leah says:

    Hi David,
    I noticed you first wrote this article in 2007. Is it still true for CS6? It seems like a feature you should be able to “turn off” rather than having to edit every picture in Photoshop.

    • Karen says:

      Yes, it’s true in CS6 – that’s the version I’m using. I just saw my document shrink about 30% after batch-changing my DPI, relinking the images, and then doing Save As. There may be a way to “turn off” thumbnails, but I suspect the responsiveness of WYSIWYG would suffer severely.

      I didn’t need Photoshop – Irfanview has a batch conversion feature that worked fine for this.

  • Justine says:

    Brilliant, this has work and reduced the file size, so I can now upload onto our website.

  • Fajar Ananda says:

    I am working with many vectors I created in illustrator CS5 and pasted it (not linked) in Indesign CS3 (the vector then still be editable), I use same 6 images (each less than 200 KB) within 14 place holder, but I wonder why the file gets 75 MB. This confuses me.can anyone tell me what should I do to reduce the size?

    I used CS3 to save it into .INX which is no longer available in CS5

    • Fajar Ananda says:

      I did so manythings, even deleting the images, but still 54 MB, maybe because of the vector, but shouldn’t vector take less size than images?

  • KJ Baier says:

    Holy easter egg aliens, David!, your “Save As” trick just reduced my working book file from 1.2GB to 22MB. Brilliant. Thank you for, like, probably the 5 billionth time!

  • Beverley Killick says:

    thanks for the above tips but my problem still exists. I have an InDesign CC file that is 17MB and when I export to pdf it becomes 72MB which is larger than we are allowed to store on our network. So I saved it as an IDML which reduced it to 281KB – great! However, when I export the IDML file to pdf it reverts back to 72MB. I’ve compressed everything as far as possible.

    My InDesign file is created from scanned images saved and pdf, all combined into one document with a couple of text boxes on each page. I need to retain as much quality as possible as the final pdf needs to be projected onto a whiteboard in an average sized classroom so need to be legible by students sitting at the back of the class.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you! :)

    • Karen says:

      @Beverly: Your issue is very different from what the original post is about. Look through the comments for David Blatner’s reply to Ron Fairfield. You need to work with the PDF export settings to get what you want.

      Actually, for projecting on a whiteboard, you don’t need as much resolution as for printing on paper (it’s hard to explain why, but trust me). Do some tests – export using the “Small file size” PDF preset and try projecting it – I suspect it will be fine.

  • Karla says:

    This morning my way too big InDesign5 document file was not reducing, no matter what I tried. Nothing worked–the IDML export/import reduced in size but in InDesign it re-saved as the same huge file; using SAVE AS, which I always do anyway; placing smaller image files; saving with a new file name; closing ID completely and re-opening; eating lunch. Nothing worked and after each trial, the file was actually growing. Something was stuck on those pages—and the mess was not cleaning out. What DID work, as one person already suggested, was opening a new document file, and copy/pasting each page from the old one into the new one. That dropped the file size by more than half of what it was. What is puzzling is why this is happening after all these years of new versions. I love InDesign and have used it since its beginnings. But this one aspect certainly boggles the mind.

  • Haley says:

    This “Save As” trick just dropped my file size from 209 MB to 88. THANKS so much!

  • Diana says:

    Once save as a idol. Can you save as a high res pdf? For printer ?

  • Diana says:

    I meant idml sorry

  • Susan says:

    Thank you one and all, you saved the day!!

  • Rose says:

    It’s 2019 and the File > Save As trick still works!! Thank you!

  • Jill Garroway says:

    Thank you for this! Very helpful. One note — my file sizes still didn’t shrink when exporting until I saved them with a different file name. So, if you’ve done the steps noted above and don’t see the file size change when you save directly over a file, try saving it with a different file name.

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