Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Please help me with this. I am saving my resume as PDF. Word makes it into a 2.3Mb PDF file when the original docx is only 136kb. It is a simple one-page document without images or graphics, simply two chosen fonts - Arno Pro and Gill Sans.

I have tried using the normal save as PDF button in the print menu as well at using PDFWriter. All give the same result. When I open the document on my PC and print to PDF via BullZip, it comes out at 36kb.

What is Mac Word 2011 doing!?

share|improve this question
It's worth noting that all *x formats (e.g. docx, xlsx) are actually zip compressed files so they will be smaller then some other native formats. – Origin Nov 11 '12 at 8:25
interesting. thanks for this. – Henrik Söderlund Nov 11 '12 at 8:31
try if you can select the text and copy paste it from your large pdf file, or if the text has been rendered as an image. – TheUser1024 Nov 11 '12 at 12:13
everything copies well from the PDF. Even into a text editor. All the letters and words show up nicely. – Henrik Söderlund Nov 11 '12 at 13:11
What happens if you save (not print) the document on PC? – Trolzen Nov 11 '12 at 14:48

Maybe it embeds fonts into pdf or converts all symbols to curves.

share|improve this answer
Word 2011 for Mac does not support font embedding. The symbols thing I do not know of? – Henrik Söderlund Nov 11 '12 at 8:33
By "symbols" I meant characters. – Trolzen Nov 11 '12 at 14:23
aha, I see. I am able to copy and paste all "symbols" from the PDF, so there are no curves involved then correct? – Henrik Söderlund Nov 11 '12 at 14:30
That's corrent. – Trolzen Nov 11 '12 at 14:44

I'm afraid I can't tell you why it happens, but my roommate once had the exact same problem with his couple-page document, only the resulting PDF was something ungodly like 30 MB. He gave me the docx, I simply opened and saved it as PDF using Word for Windows (using the same settings), and the resulting PDF was less than 1 MB. He said the PDFs looked identical and the text was equally selectable. Go figure.

So if you have a friend with Windows and Word 2010 or 2007, you might be able to save yourself a lot of time trying to work around it on your Mac and move on with your life. (I wouldn't say that if it were a more regular occurrence, particularly since I'm now a Mac user myself.) :-)

Alternatively, other things to try:

  • Use Mac OS X's ability to "print" arbitrary things to PDF. To do so, in Word, press Command+P, then clck the "PDF" drop-down menu in the lower left corner of the dialog and select "Save as PDF". I don't believe this performed any better when my roommate tried it, but perhaps it would in the case of your document.
  • If you have a copy of Adobe Acrobat, use it for the conversion. If any piece of software would "get it right", I'd think that would be it.
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.