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Shrink Signed PDFs
Tip# 3582 By Mitch Hirschklau On 28-Feb-2011
Rated By 1 users
Categories : Image
Software type : AutoCAD 2011
Rename File To : No Files to download.
Reduce the PDF file size for e-transmittal.

Space Management Specialist Mitch Hirschklau shares a method his company uses to reduce the file size of scanned PDF files of drawings that require a signature for submittal.

"In my office, we maintain a hard copy of project floor plans because they have manual sign-off signatures on the sheet. From time to time we are asked to send an electronic copy of these files to some office or agency. Scanning the original hard copy produces, typically, an enormous PDF (data file) footprint — so big, in fact, that we couldn't e-transmit it to the requesting office.
"My 'Stupid PDF Trick' solution was to scan in only the signature portion of the title block. (Even this generated a very large data footprint TIFF file.) Then I attached the image in a viewport overlaying the appropriate TB signature area in a copy of the indicated CAD file.
"After that, I used the AutoCAD 2010 Plot-to-PDF function to generate a PDF file. To my surprise, the PDF that method generated was vastly smaller than the whole hard-copy PDF — and substantially smaller than the attached TIFF signature (image) file! I don't know if my trick will work in all cases for everyone, but it might be a useful alternative for some."
Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: Signatures on drawings are an important feature. It is more difficult to physically sign drawings in an electronic format. This tip makes good use of many features in AutoCAD. The tipster created an electronic version of the signature needed, referenced it into the appropriate DWG file, and created a PDF of that drawing with the signature. AutoCAD can reference all sorts of image files: JPG, TIFF, PDF, and DWF. There are many uses for referencing image files, and this is an interesting use that stemmed from the need to reduce the file size of a scanned PDF file. PDF versions of a drawing create an archive that is easily transmitted and read.


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User comments
Comment by Precepa,Danny
Posted on 2011-02-28 13:34:56
But is it really the original drawing? We are struggling with the legality of the electronic signature portion of our drawings. We place the PDF files on an ftp site and let the client retreive them at their convenience, no mailbox size issues either.
Comment by Galicki,Ed
Posted on 2011-02-28 13:42:03
The only problem, and something that was mentioned to me years ago, when I digitized my own signature to place on cad drawings after I left board work and went to cad, someone could capture my signature and put it on faulty drawings. This hasn't happened to me yet, as far as I now know.
Comment by Larkin,Daniel
Posted on 2011-02-28 14:16:58
I agree with Danny's concerns. Also, you should play with your settings on your scanner. I typically can scan a black & white D size sheet at 300 DPI at under 1 MB per sheet.
Comment by Gallina,Michael
Posted on 2011-02-28 16:40:49
to secure the pdf / dwg. only place the signature in the dwg threw an xref block. this way if the .dwg file goes out the xrefed block of the signature does not. As far as the smaller pdf file goes. All pdf files are suppose to be security enabled to not allow extraction of images or cut and paste.
Comment by Sanders,Richard
Posted on 2011-02-28 17:06:42
First, no fear of someone 'scanning' or otherwise grabbing part of an electronic copy of a drawing is ANY different than the same party simply scanning a hard copy and doing the same thing. AutoCAD provides an efficient method of releasing non-editable drawings that can be plotted by anyone and contain the appropriate stamp/seal. 1) Produce a physical stamp and sign/date it as required or desired by the professional or the laws of that state, on a blank piece of paper. 2) Scan it, producing a .jpg or .tif or .gif, as desired. 3) Attach this image (and scale if needed to the 'exact' physical dimensions of the original) to the drawing set border, in the correct location intended for the seal. 4) Open each drawing, and in paperspace the xref'd border will show up with the seal exactly the same on every drawing sheet. 5) Publish using either the "DWG to PDF.pc3"(small-ish PDF) or the preferred AutoCAD "DWF6 ePlot.pc3" which results in a MUCH SMALLER snapshot of the sheet. NOTE: Although PDF is 'universal' using a free download Acrobat Reader client application, SO IS the free DesignReview client application. Typically, DWF format is not only better at plotting exactly the output as the designer intended it to appear, but there will be fewer issues with ArialMT and other embedded font problems. Nothing really against the PDF format, it just is not as good or as efficient as the DWF format for 2D final sheet plots of AutoCAD drawings. I'd rather email a set of sheets at 70k each than 300k each. Oh yes: 6) When finished "publishing" each sheet electronically, simply DELETE the scanned seal image. If the professional is personally present during this process which takes only minutes with any CAD tech, and supervises and witnesses the deletion of the seal file, it cannot be rationally argued that this process results in ANY legally or otherwise noticeably different end result. In fact, Autodesk appears to have specifically designed this procedure in for this purpose. As an aside, remember that your Tools/Options/Plot and Publish/Auto publish is where you setup the automatic DWF or PDF creation on the fly, every time the drawing gets saved, so that at any moment anyone with access to your project folder on the file server can grab and review the latest, current drawing using the free Design Review application, redline it and send it to others with comments, all without any version of AutoCAD. And the DWF file is comparatively tiny, quick, and efficient. The only difference is the presence during final publication of a referenced seal created uniquely for the final release set of drawings. Please remember to setup a File/Page Setup Manager "Page setup" in each drawing, with the correct intended final plot page size (such as "ARCH expand D" for 36x24 sheet sizes), so that the PDF can be Published - or auto-created - to plot at 1:1 scale at the correct page size.