Flattening a Complex PDF File

If your PDF file takes a long time to open, and you can see each layer being drawn on your screen one at a time, it is a good indication that you will not be able to print it. Here are a few techniques for making a complex file printable.

Merge Your Layers

If you have multiple layers in your project file you should merge them together by combining them into one layer.  Make sure to do this in a copy of your project file because merging layers cannot be undone.

Print to PDF

Print-to-PDF using the Adobe PDF Printer (installed with Adobe Acrobat DC) is the best way to generate a printable PDF file.  This is the first step in reducing the complexity of your document.  Do not Export or Save to PDF from applications like Illustrator or InDesign.

Sanitize PDF in Adobe Acrobat

Adobe offers a feature previously called Sanitize Document, and now called simply “Remove Hidden Information”

This feature is designed to remove hidden personal information from a document before it is distributed, A nice side-effect of this process is that it creates a much flatter version of a PDF that is easier to print.  In Acrobat DC select TOOLS -> PROTECT -> REMOVE HIDDEN INFORMATION.   Now try to print your file!

Print as Image

Alternatively, you can save your PDF or InDesign File as a .jpg and print it from Photoshop.

Do Not Compress your File

When you send a compressed file to the printer the printer has to uncompress it.  So, you are actually adding to the processing load!  A small file is not necessarily a flattened file.


Resources required…

Have you ever seen this error message when trying to use our Laser Jet printers?  This will happen when the document you are trying to print is requiring a size or a paper type that is not loaded in the printer.  For example, legal paper or card stock, or any of the dimensions based on ISO standards.  Our paper sizes are based on American standards (e.g. Letter = 8.5 x 11 inches and Tabloid = 11 x 17 inches).  When the properties on your print job do not match an available supply you will get the  ‘resources required’ error message.


Print Jobs Disappearing

If your print jobs seem to disappear into a black hole you may be locked out due to a bad password saved on one of your computers or your credential may not be known to the network at all. If you have recently changed your password, you will need to remove any saved passwords you have on any of your desktop or laptop computers. To do this, do a Search on your computer for Manage Network Passwords to open the Windows Credential Manager.


Look for any entries in the list that have your HarvardKey account information saved, they will most likely be associated with GSDPrint

Remove the entries if they already exist (or add them if they don’t) and then reboot your computer. You can reconnect to these resources and save your current password after you log in.