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Does anyone know what happens to a PDF file when you save it as a static PDF file? I have a 17K PDF file that doesn’t work will with my software. But when I save it as a Static PDF using Adobe Live Cycle, the file works just fine. But it’s significantly larger (327K). Because these file will be download over the web, I really want to keep the size down. I have hundreds of files like this. If I knew what happens to the file when it’s converted I might be in better shape.


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The fundamental difference is that a dynamic PDF might have forms which have fields that can vanish or reappear (e.g., selecting an "other" radio box may cause a textbox to appear). However, this does not explain the size difference.

More likely, you are accidentally embedding fonts or similar information in your PDF file. There are options to turn this off (e.g., Options -> Preserve PSD editting Capabilities and "embed font"), though the specific options depend on the version of adobe.

Adobe's official documentation on static/dynamic PDF differences (PDF)

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A static PDF is rendered only once. A dynamic PDF is rendered in the client and can be rendered multiple times depending on user interaction.

Here is link that explains it in much more detail.

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So the explanation for the increased file size is: LC will save the positions of every element in the static pdf. That's not necessary for a dynamic pdf: Here the elements are "flowing".

Here an easy to understand explanation of the differences:

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