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I have a ~259 MB PDF. I did pdf2ps and ps2pdf. The final size was 45 MB. I don't see any visible difference in quality in any reader. Although, the bookmarks were lost. I tried using pdftk, but it didn't preserve the bookmarks.

pdftk ... update_info

What caused the huge reduction in size? Is there an alternative to preserve the bookmarks and still have the reduced size (preferably linux command-line alternatives)?

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Following up on @Dan's answer: different encodings (and compression) could explain the difference. As a simple test, look at the size of either file after compression with gzip. Is the size difference still impressive? –  Henk Langeveld Aug 24 '12 at 22:39
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up vote 15 down vote accepted

You can try ghostscript with ebook output and the bookmarks seems to be preserved:

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -dPDFSETTINGS=/ebook -sOutputFile=newFile.pdf originalFile.pdf
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thanks it worked. I used the PDFSETTINGS=/screen. With that option the pdf became 15MB :) Ref: GS Tips –  Vishnu Kumar Aug 25 '12 at 10:28
    
Forgot to mention, the bookmarks were indeed preserved. But still does anyone have clues on what is getting reduced? –  Vishnu Kumar Sep 4 '12 at 8:12
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