I am a beginner in LaTeX, tentatively using it for industrial documents. I am working on a laboratory report containing little text and a large number of pictures. I prefer to leave the pictures at their native quality level for archival purposes and because a number of them get magnified by the elegant routines found at this link: How to create magnified subfigures and corresponding boxes for portions of a large image

I typically get a PDF file directly using pdflatex. The .pdf file I am working on contains 9 pages and has a size of 9000 KiB.

Post-processing the .pdf file with the routine below (launched from the same directory), and using the "prepress" option, I get a file size of about 6500 KiB, and 3500 KiB with the setting "printer".

I could not find any drop of quality with each of these two settings (there are two lower quality options available, "ebook", and "screen"), when printed on A3 paper with a 600 dpi laser printer, and I would like to get the "printer" quality natively (directly at the creation of the PDF files), in order to eliminate the post-processing operation. Is there a way to do this?

/usr/local/bin/gs -q  -dSAFER -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite 
  -PDFSETTINGS=/printer -sOUTPUTFILE=NameOfOutputFile.pdf  
  -f NameOfTargetFileToOptimize.pdf
  • What file size unit is Ko?
    – Werner
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 18:15
  • 1
    In theory, you could change the compression level of pdflatex with \pdfminorversion=5 \pdfcompresslevel=9 \pdfobjcompresslevel=3 (i.e. maximum compression with PDF v1.5). However, I had tried that with my answer to How to make the PDFs produced by pdflatex smaller?, see the comments: The result basically was that this does by far not reach the compression one can achieve via the gs route.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 18:29
  • @Werner Ko is for Kilo Octet, French for kB (kiloByte).
    – ArTourter
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


I would go for a dedicated image manipulation program and create a temporary low quality version of the images. Compressing and resizing a lot of images can be lengthy.

For instance, if you are under Linux, the following command will create for each foo.jpg file a new file foo_small.jpg, with jpeg quality set to 60 and at most 1M pixels.

for f in *.jpg; do echo $f; convert $f -quality 60 -resize @1000000 `basename $f .jpg`_small.jpg; done

This could be expanded to a real script handling also .JPG or .jpeg files, maybe using a fixed resize ratio (e.g. halving), storing the low quality version in a new subfolder, etc.

There are other programs that can batch process a number of images.


Just to make the link from the comment below clickable:

How to make the PDFs produced by pdflatex smaller

  • 1
    The idea of compressing the picture before the compilation is not extremely attractive. I have found a lot of useful information here, (and also in the white paper referenced at the bottom of the thread) paperhttp://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/18987/how-to-make-the-pdfs-produced-by-pdflatex-smaller/19047#19047
    – Yves
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 19:41

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