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When you save a file from Adobe Illustrator, you get a choice to "create PDF compatible file" or not. If you don't check that box, what you get is still a PDF file, but it's a thin wrapper around something else, presumably PGF data. It displays in a PDF viewer as a repeated message that it was "saved without PDF content."

Exploring the content of that file with Acrobat Pro appears to tell me that there's nothing in an embedded file or an annotation. I'm trying to figure out where Illustrator is stashing the PGF content. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

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  • What do you mean with "PGF"? Is it a typo? Dec 23 '12 at 11:55
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    PGF is the native data format used by Illustrator.
    – user180006
    Dec 24 '12 at 0:26
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I got an answer to this question in a comment on my blog by Leonard Rosenthol of Adobe. The central part of his answer is:

The native content is stored in a special location in the PDF (see PieceInfo, ISO 32000-1:2008, 14.5) it does NOT create an embedded file.

Why? Two reasons – 1) Illustrator was doing this long before PDF supported attachments and 2) We don’t want users extracting out the private info.

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