5 Replies Latest reply on Sep 9, 2015 7:04 PM by bigtom

    Optimise FileMaker generated PDF


      We're using FileMaker Pro v13 on Windows 7 to generate reports for emailing to customers. The reports include photos taken via a FileMaker Go v14 database using the iPad's camera with the quality set to "medium". We've run some tests and the resulting PDFs are ranging from between 7 - 10mb in size which are still too large to send as email attachments to many of our customers.


      We can use an external program such as Acrobat Pro to "optimise" the PDF which reduces the file size significantly to under 2mb on average. We're looking for a way to automate this from within FileMaker Pro and haven't found anything yet.


      Can anyone recommend a solution (plugin etc) that can optimise the FileMaker generated PDF. I've looked at all the options in the "Save as PDF" script step and can't see anything that might lead to a smaller file, but if there are any settings I've missed that can reduce the file size I'd love to hear about them as well.




        • 1. Re: Optimise FileMaker generated PDF

          Just use the GetThumbnail() function to get a smaller version of the photo to use on your reports. Do a replace before you generate your PDF.

          • 2. Re: Optimise FileMaker generated PDF

            I did once create a ScriptMaster function to step through all images in a PDF and down-sample them. Pretty sure its still  somewhere on FM Forums

            Advantage is that you can do other clever things at the same time.


            FMP isn't massively smart about PDF creation from layouts and might bloat up you r file even with Mikes technique. I have a client with a 20k tiny, tiny, tiny image in the corner which is still producing 4MB PDF files.

            • 3. Re: Optimise FileMaker generated PDF

              I would 2nd Mike's comment about the GetThumbnail function. I've often created a container field for the report (or even for a layout) with an auto-enter calc using GetThumbnail with the size appropriate for the report or layout. That way, you retain the original, full resolution image.

              • 4. Re: Optimise FileMaker generated PDF

                Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I was hoping the GetThumbnail function would reduce the size of the PDF's but that hasn't turned out to be the case - it has only reduced them by a few hundred kb.


                I've done a lot of testing and have even removed the Photos from the report and the PDF is over 7mb. Looking at the photos in the database and they are all under 100kb in size. When I add the photos back in the PDF is around 8mb.


                So it looks like the base PDF without the photos is still very large - I can optimise this down to 1-2mb using third party PDF tools but that breaks the workflow and introduces a very manual step to the workflow which slows the staff down considerably.


                The client is using FileMaker Pro v13 on Windows 7 - if anyone knows of a way to automate the optimising of the FileMaker generated PDF files I'd love to hear about it.

                • 5. Re: Optimise FileMaker generated PDF

                  I guess it can really depend on what is on the layout for the report. However I have found Save as PDF generates larger files than printing to a PDF. Generally Save as PDF is 50% larger than printing. I am not sure if this can be scripted without using the print dialog box. In your case this might shave 2.5 MB off of the file. So there is still somehting else going on with a over large file.


                  You may want to look at things like background colors and other elements on the layout that may be adding data to the file. If the issue is that big it is not the images.