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I've tried both with one of my documents and they look exactly the same in Adobe Reader, but one is 300 KB larger. Is there any advantage to standard publishing?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I believe the minimum size option uses higher JPEG compression on images in the document to reduce file size at the cost of image quality. The change should be subtle but noticeable if you look closely.

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I cannot say for sure which differences you see since I don't have access to Word 2010. But if you gave me two sample PDFs I could analyze them. I'd look for the following properties of the two PDFs to find the real differences.

Here are the candidates where the biggest size-savings could possibly be made (at the expense of print quality and appearance fidelity):

  • Are all fonts used by the.docx embedded into the PDF or not?
  • Does the PDF contain its embedded fonts as subset or not?
  • Has the export to PDF downsampled bitmap images to a different resolution or not?
  • Do JPEG images use a higher (more lossy) compression or not?

Especially the downsampling of images may not be noticeable on screen (which usually has a resolution of 96-150 dpi), but it can be well distinguished on a paper printout (because most current printers do 600-1200 dpi).

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