Posts tagged ghostscript

Scale down PDF size with Ghostview
posted on 2013-10-25 13:28:50

For downsizing large .pdf files, I tend to utilize Ghostscript as an open source alternative. There are programs you come across via google, but mostly these scale down fast and with bad filters. This leads to bad quality in the resulting PDF's. I.e. you cannot read text properly anymore, pictures are pixelated and so on.

There also exist proprietary solutions like Adobe Acrobat (The free Acrobat Reader does not have this functionality!) From a technical point of view, the Adobe Suite is by my estimation roughly faster by factor x10 to x20 faster compared to Ghostscript. The output quality is fine, so its price exists for a reason, to be fair. Last time I looked, it was around 200 USD.

This is what I am using on windows via Cygwin, is analog on regular linux boxes:

\gs  -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dPDFSETTINGS=/ebook -sOutputFile=name_of_downsized_pdf.pdf  name_of_original_file.pdf

Works well, costs nothing. You just have to have Ghostscript installed.

Last time I used it on a PDF with 60 pages text and a dozen pictures of 6MB size, the output was around 1.5MB and took like 2 minutes. The time-intensive part is scaling the pictures.

These notes of from a shellscript of mine I used for batch-converting several PDF's reapeatedly in the past may be of interest:

#!/bin/bash
#
# Converts .pdf files to lower quality.
# This may take a while.
# And you have to have ghostscript installed for this to work.
#
# the leading '\' is cosmetical, i have an alias binding on 'gs'.
# It tells the shell to ignore aliases for the following command IIRC.
#
# add '-q' flag for less verbose output
#
# -dPDFSETTINGS=/screen   (screen-view-only quality, 72 dpi images)
# -dPDFSETTINGS=/ebook    (low quality, 150 dpi images)
# -dPDFSETTINGS=/printer  (high quality, 300 dpi images)
# -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress (high quality, color preserving, 300 dpi imgs)
# -dPDFSETTINGS=/default  (almost identical to /screen)

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