PDF Optimizer

PDF Optimizer

PDF Optimizer is a simple scriptable server tool for Windows or Linux 64 bit platforms that allows you to rework a PDF document so that it will download faster or open more quickly in a browser window. Usually, optimizing a PDF document makes it smaller, and a smaller PDF document is easier to manage. If your goal is to edit a PDF document so that it can be more easily sent out as an attachment to an email message or to allow for faster paging online, you could use PDF Optimizer to reduce the size of the PDF document from, say, 8 MB to 1.5 MB. But optimizing can improve the performance of a PDF document without necessarily making that document smaller. The optimization process can discard objects and features within a PDF document that require excess processing time, making the file more efficient. A complicated PDF document with a lot of features will tend to take more time to load, regardless of the size.

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How to use PDF Optimizer

You can enter a PDF Optimizer statement from a command prompt, and manually optimize one PDF document at a time. Or you could add a PDF Optimizer command statement to a batch file. With a batch file you can create a workflow that uses PDF Optimizer to optimize large numbers of PDF documents automatically. In this case you might need to write some JavaScript or Python code to automatically generate a series of command line statements, each with a unique name for the input PDF document and the output file. But PDF Optimizer is still a quick and easy way to convert a set of PDF files to make them easier to distribute.

When you run PDF Optimizer, the program takes the input PDF document you provide, optimizes it, and then saves it as a new output PDF document. You can provide a variety of custom settings and variables to tell PDF Optimizer exactly how you want the system to manage each PDF document. For example, you can make a PDF smaller by choosing to downsample the images found in that document. Downsampling an image reduces the resolution of that image and reduces its size as well. Or you could add a setting to a profile file that tells PDF Optimizer to discard bookmarks within a PDF document, or attached files.

The PDF Optimizer Profile

The custom settings that you provide to PDF Optimizer to manage the process are all defined in a profile file. The profile is a JSON file that you need to name in the command line statement. By including your custom settings in a profile file, creating a command line statement with PDF Optimizer is a lot easier.

We provide two default profile files with the product, standard.json and mobile.json. Feel free to edit these files or create your own, but the content of your profile file must be valid JSON content. You can name your profile files whatever you like, and store them wherever you want to. But the profile must be a JSON file, and we recommend that when you name a profile file you include the “.json” file extension. JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is an open standard file format that relies on easily readable English text, and it is used as an alternative to XML.

If you want to create your own custom profile, we recommend that you save a copy of the default JSON file and rename it, and then edit this copy instead.  This way you will preserve the original JSON profile for later reference.  Also, if you install an updated version of the software, the installation process will overwrite the original file, and any changes you made to that file will be lost.  Besides saving your own copy of the profile, you might also want to create a backup your edited JSON profile in a different directory.

You can use the JSON validator JSONLint to check your JSON syntax.

We provide details on how to set up your profile, and an example of what a sample profile looks like.

Installing PDF Optimizer: PDF Checker

Note that when you install PDF Optimizer, you can also install a separate utility as well called PDF Checker. PDF Checker is a simple scriptable server tool for 64-bit Windows and Linux platforms that allows you to quickly scan a PDF document or set of documents to look for problems, or to simply identify features within a document that are likely to get in your way if you want to use the PDF efficiently. Then, you can use this knowledge of your PDF documents to enhance them using PDF Optimizer.  The two tools are designed to work together.

If you install PDF Optimizer in Windows, you will see an installation screen called Select Additional Tasks.  Here you can check a box to Install PDF Checker. The box is checked by default, so PDF Checker will install with PDF Optimizer unless you decide otherwise.

If you install PDF Optimizer in Linux, a self-extracting script installer will be provided in the tar.gz installation file. Look for a .bsx file named “PDFChecker.” If you run this file you will be prompted to accept a license agreement, and then PDF Checker will be installed separately.

Installing PDF Optimizer: Updating the Activation Key

When you first purchase PDF Optimizer, you will receive an activation key, and you will be prompted to enter this key when you install the software. In response the system generates a license file for you (pdfoptimizer.lic) and stores it in the software installation directory.

When your evaluation period ends, and you later receive a new activation key for PDF Optimizer, you will need to enter it as you did your original activation key when you first installed the product. You will be prompted to enter the activation key. Type or paste the key value as you did before. The system will update the license file for you, and you can continue to use the product.

Note that if you don’t enter the activation key value when you first install the product, or enter it incorrectly, you will be prompted to enter the value again the next time you run PDF Optimizer.