Make PDF exported from ArcGIS Pro smaller file size like ArcMap

04-29-2021 10:41 AM
Status: Under Consideration
Labels (1)
by Anonymous User
Not applicable

PDF file sizes exported from ArcGIS Pro are HUGE compared to ArcMap. There is no need for this. I understand why and this is solving a problem that we didn't have. 

The PDFs exported from ArcMap were just fine, printed great. We have remote workers that can't even OPEN a pdf on VPN that was exported at 300 dpi from ArcGIS Pro.

I know the work arounds too. Buy Adobe - save as reduced file size. Use Adobe print to PDF. This should be solved in ArcGIS Pro!



The size of the output PDF depends very much upon the layers in the map and the other export settings, not just the DPI. I have tabloid (11 x 17) PDFs that export at under 1MB @ 300 DPI, and letter-sized maps that export at closer to 5 MB at < 150 DPI.

Status changed to: Open


We've made lots of changes in the recent releases to help users with this problem, but one that was added a few releases ago is "output as image".

If your map contains lots of vector data, you might get better filesizes by using the "output as image" option in ArcGIS Pro, which will force flattening of vector layers similar to the "optimize pdf" option in Adobe Acrobat.

lastly we fixed an outstanding issue regarding masking layers causing bloat in filesize in PDF exports in the upcoming 2.8 release (in beta now).

Can you give "output as image" a try and let us know if that resolves the problem for you on a current version of Pro?  


Jeremy W.

Status changed to: Under Consideration
by Anonymous User

@JeremyWright Thank you. We are on 2.7.0 and between the time I posted this and your response we were able to figure out how to use the "output as image" properly. We can't use the "Adaptive compression" because it looks bad. But if we use the JPEG image compression on Quality almost Max and Compress vector graphics, 300 dpi, Raster resample: Best, with no georeference information exported and no layers and attributes - then we can get a pdf that's similar to what we would expect from ArcMap.

Glad to hear there might be even more progress in 2.8. 

Thank you.


@Anonymous User if you could share your project (package it from share tab of ribbon->Project Package) with me so I could evaluate the adaptive compression issue you noted, that would be super awesome.  Adaptive attempts to determine the best compression type from the type of image object being compressed - if it looks bad that may mean our heuristic for picking compression type might need to be adjusted.  I can DM you separately to work out file transfer details.

In any event I'm glad Export As Image is working OK for you!  We'll continue to work on these items during the  release following 2.8 as well - I have a few issues already on the plan there too.

by Anonymous User

@JeremyWright Ok great. Well, I talked to my tech and it looks like in this instance the pdf looked ok but it didn't compress. So the adaptive compression pdf is 13MB whereas the jpeg compression pdf is 2MB. I can send you the project package. DM me and I'll be happy to send it.

I had to upgrade to 2.7.3 just to export the pdfs because of graphic bug BUG-000136364!

(Sorry off topic: My tech also mentioned both 2.7.2 and 2.7.3 have issues with adding items to legends during the export. These items are usually tied to web services add via URL and the best work around right now is to make the items visible in the legend in the layout and create a white rectangle placed over them. - Maybe you're already aware of that.)


I would like to be able to compress PDF maps I create when I need to export them so they can be easily e-mailed yet maintain the sharpness and readability  of the PDF. The work around is to create the PDF, open it up in Adobe and use their add-on compression tool ( requires a subscription). It would be handier to do this directly within ArcGIS Pro and bypass Adobe.

by Anonymous User

For anyone following this idea page: we figured out that "Output as image" rasterizes labels. So the labels look blurry when you print the pdf. So we can't use that.

But I am using ArcGIS Pro 2.8.3 now and our settings are working well: 

No output as image

image compression: Adaptive

Quality: 85

Compress Vector graphics

Vector Resolution: 300 dpi

Raster resample: Best

Embed Fonts

Very helpful hint that our GIS Specialist found: And add basemaps to a group and apply transparency to group or the pdf will have grid lines -


@Anonymous User I'm glad the improvements we've implemented over the last couple releases are working out for you - several changes were made to improve file size.  We have even more improvements going in to the next release of ArcGIS Pro as well.

@BobPlummer can you try the settings Andrea has recommended with the latest release of ArcGIS Pro (currently 2.9.2) and see if these meet your needs? 

If you have a specific map or layout that proves particularly hard to get comparable exports on, I'd encourage you to try ArcGIS Pro 3.0 when it is released later this year - we have a few enhancements to export file size reduction that may prove very useful for you.


We use a lot of aerial images in our map and using "output as image" makes the PDF blurry. I have 2.8