Reducing PDF File Size (Optimizing PDFs), Part 2

By Dan Shea, Planet PDF Contributing Editor.

Originally posted at Planet PDF. Part 1 can be found here.

Using the PDF Optimizer

The PDF Optimizer presents a lot of options. Since Acrobat/PDF Optimizer breaks them down by them into separate panels, we’ll do the same here. The types of content to be optimized can be toggled individually using the check boxes next to the panels on the left-hand side of the PDF Optimizer interface. Clicking on the panel name on the left-hand side brings up the panel and its specific options.

Using optimization profiles

You have rather a lot of options when customizing the PDF Optimizer to your particular needs. First up, check the settings for various in-built profiles. By default, Acrobat XI only ships with two: Standard and Mobile. Essentially, Standard is designed for broad compatibility with a broad range of viewing environments. As a result, it is compatible with older viewing software, and isn’t too drastic in the way it shrinks images and removes other elements. Mobile, on the other hand, represents a more aggressive approach to optimization, and is designed to ensure smaller file sizes that can be downloaded and viewed on devices that typically operate with more limited bandwidth.

Debenu Quick PDF Library Can Reduce PDF Size

If one of the built-in profiles seems to suit your needs, then great! Use it. If not, then it’s easy enough to tweak them. Note that changing any settings will reset the current profile to Custom, but you can then save any custom settings to a new profile, so that isn’t really a problem.

Optimizing images (Images Panel)

Images often contribute a significant amount to file size. The key processes involved in optimizing them are compression and downsampling. Compression eliminates redundant or unwanted pixel information, while downsampling reduces the resolution of images to save space. The user can select the compression type, resolution that triggers downsampling, and the resolution to which such images will be downsampled.

PDF Optimizer allows separate settings for color, grayscale and monochrome images. Due to differences in the number of possible colors, these different types of images take different amounts of space, so, for example, a high-res monochrome image would occupy an amount of space equivalent to a much lower-res color image.

The principles of downsampling are relatively straightforward: lower-res images take less space but look less sharp. What might be less obvious is which compression methods are best suited to particular types of images. In general, JPEG and JPEG2000 are best suited for use with images like photographs, where colors tend to change gradually. ZIP can be used with images with more clearly defined palettes and larger areas of solid color, like logos, layout art and some illustrations. JBIG2, CCITT Groups 3 & 4 are best used with monochrome images.

With JPEG, JPEG2000 and JBIG2 compression, the user must also choose a compression quality that offers a suitable trade-off between image quality and file size. Essentially, higher levels of compression discard more pixel information and encode each image as a compact approximation of the original. Lossless compression, which is available with JPEG2000 and JBIG2, retains all pixel information.

Unembedding fonts (Fonts Panel)

To ensure viewing fidelity and consistent editing across systems — not to mention comply with relevant standards — it’s common to embed entire fonts in PDF files. That said, fonts can take up a lot of space in a PDF, especially if there are a lot of them. Fonts can be safely unembedded if they are installed on the computers of the users reading the PDF documents. In that case, the reader’s system just accesses their local copy of the font. Clearly, this is safest when system or other essentially ubiquitous fonts have been used to compose the PDF document.

If the reader doesn’t have the font installed, then their PDF viewing software will select a locally-installed substitute font. As such, fonts should still be embedded when a consistent look-and-feel is crucial, unusual or custom fonts are used, or when it is mandated by compliance requirements. File size versus utility is always the trade-off when attempting to optimize PDFs.

Flatten transparency (Transparency Panel)

In PDF files with graphics that contain transparency, the Transparency panel can be used to flatten it. Flattening transparency incorporates it into artwork by sectioning it into vector- and raster-based areas. The Transparency Panel features several presets based on the desired quality. As with images, there is a trade-off between quality and file size.

Remove unwanted elements (Discard Objects & Discard User Data Panels)

The Discard Objects and Discard User Data settings permit the removal of intact but unwanted elements of PDF files. They allow the flattening of form fields or layers, discarding of embedded settings, annotations, interactive elements like bookmarks and the conversion of elements into simpler (and more compact) approximations. For example, interactive forms can be flattened so that form data entered by the user becomes a permanent part of the document. These settings can potentially reduce file size at the expense of functionality.

Since these elements can and often do affect the functionality of your PDF, it’s best to be careful when using unfamiliar options. Experimentation is best performed after saving a backup of your original file.

Clean up your PDF (Clean Up Panel)

The Clean Up settings can be configured to manipulate compression on the document level and to remove broken or otherwise redundant elements. This includes things like discarding invalid links and bookmarks, streamlining encoding settings, and optimizing PDFs for fast web viewing. While the latter doesn’t specifically address file size, web-optimized PDFs are still quicker to view online, which is often one purpose of reducing file size in the first place.

By default, only options that cannot affect functionality are selected; indeed, there is only one option that is not selected by default, “Discard unreferenced named destinations”. Without getting too technical, a named destination is like a beacon in the PDF. Once created, it’s possible to point to that beacon either externally (e.g., from another PDF) or internally (i.e., from another part of the same document). This option can only check whether anything within the PDF points to the named destination. In other words, it can only check for internal references. If there are external references to the destination, checking this option will break those links. As with the Discard Objects and Discard User Data settings, it’s worth backing-up your original PDF before experimenting with this.

Save the optimized file

Once you have configured everything, save the optimized file. Even if you haven’t specifically saved your settings as a profile, Acrobat will still remember your last PDF Optimizer settings. These will be the default configuration the next time you boot up Acrobat.

Optimizing PDFs in batches

It’s also possible to optimize archives of PDF documents in large batches using Acrobat’s Action Wizard (under Save & Export > Save). Outlining precisely how to do that is outside the scope of this article, but might be the topic of a future how-to. Until then, happy optimizing!

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The Challenges of Developing for Mobile

With the release of our mobile PDF SDK for iOS and Android later this year, I thought it might be a good time to talk about some of the issues that are specific to developing for mobile platforms. This task poses some special challenges. Ultimately, a lot of it boils down to hardware limitations.

I’ve heard it said that the processing power of today’s smartphones vastly outstrips that of the computers used to coordinate the first moon mission. Nevertheless, today’s software is a resource-hungry menagerie. In simple point of fact, sleek, portable devices lack the raw oomph of larger machines of the same vintage.

This difference in power is ultimately the reason there was a need to create mobile-specific platforms like iOS and Android. Performance is key, and with their more limited system resources, mobile devices are more vulnerable to performance dips when features aren’t implemented in the most lightweight way possible.

As mobile devices have grown in power and become an everyday part of our working lives, there has been an increasing need to facilitate productivity tasks on these portable machines. Still, the differences in form factor, power and operating systems mean that cross-platform compatibility needs to be a consideration from the get-go. This is especially true when working on a single code base that is going to support both desktop and mobile applications.

Since desktop infrastructures are both mature and have grown up with the idea of productivity in mind, there are measures in place that can basically be used as short-cuts. Being younger and necessarily leaner, equivalent structures don’t necessarily exist yet in mobile platforms. For example, GDI+ on Windows-based systems enables applications to use graphics, which supports certain specific features like EMF/WMF support. The absence of GDI+ makes it harder to offer this feature on non-Windows systems.

Relying as heavily as it does on hardware, software and network compatibility, successfully implementing printing support can be especially difficult on mobile. While Quartz can be used on iOS to render PDFs for viewing, the results might not be consistently great for many files. Of course, that is part of why there is room for PDF specialists like us to enter the frame.

As we continue to move forward with our mobile SDK, we look forward to continuing our open dialog with you, our developers. Specifically, we’ll want to get your early testing impressions from Debenu Labs, and of course any feature requests that might be incorporated into future builds.

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Reducing PDF File Size (Optimizing PDFs), Part 1

By Dan Shea, Planet PDF Contributing Editor.

Originally posted at Planet PDF.Untitled

PDF is a mature technology that now has that standing of a de jure standard, controlled
as it now is by an official standards body (the ISO). Between them, the ISO and Adobe before it have built PDF into a powerful and versatile format. It might not be capable of being all things to all people, but its flexibility is undiminished for all that.

The thing is that, while the PDF technology can now handle the inclusion of everything and the kitchen sink, it’s generally not a good idea to try getting it all into a single document. The format can be, well, many things to many people, but individual PDF files can’t. Instead, it’s better to optimize each document for its intended purpose, audience and delivery method.

“Optimizing” a PDF is often focused on reducing its file size by removing unnecessary elements. Of course, the usage case is what determines which parts are important enough to keep. In general, it is often desirable to include only crucial content elements to ensure a (relatively) lightweight file that can be easily emailed, uploaded, downloaded or whatever.

With the proliferation of high-speed internet connections and the always-online culture associated with mobile devices, optimization has become a more nuanced concept. File size is still important, especially if you want mobile users to be able to access your PDFs on-the-go. That said, if the document’s purpose justifies it and your users are all working with broadband connections, why not include those high-quality graphics or fancy bells and whistles like video, dynamic content and 3D? Certain settings like printing workflows might even require the use of large PDFs that contain high-quality images.

So, how best to go about optimizing your PDF documents? First, think about your reasons for producing the document, the identity of your audience, and how they will consume the document. Do you have any special regulatory or accessibility requirements?

The remainder of this article will have a practical look at the nuts and bolts of optimizing PDFs. Rather than try to consider all of the possible usage cases, the following instructional part will focus on reducing PDF file size. I’ll outline how to check which elements are contributing most to file size, touch on some of the things that can make PDFs bigger, and then talk about how to trim down your PDFs using Acrobat.

Using the Save As command

As the final step before sending off your PDF for delivery, whatever that means in your setting, use the Save As command (File > Save As). Why? When you perform a normal Save, Acrobat appends any changes to the PDF file. While these changes are invisible in a standard PDF viewer, they still contribute to total file size. Using the Save As command discards this information, rewriting the PDF in the most efficient way possible and reducing its file size. This will also enable Fast Web View, which improves online viewing by allowing viewers to download each page as they read it rather than waiting for the entire document to download.

In short, Save As should always be your last step before sending off your PDFs.

Compressing PDF Files 728x90PDF Optimizer

Acrobat has a very handy feature. Well, OK, it has quite a few handy features, but the one I mean now is called the PDF Optimizer. It’s pretty seamlessly integrated into the Acrobat interface, so it’s possible that you have been using Acrobat for years and either haven’t used it or haven’t realized that you’ve already been using it.

Intrigued? Acrobat’s PDF Optimizer is actually sort of hidden behind our new friend, the Save As command (File > Save As). If you choose “Adobe PDF Files, Optimized”, the greyed-out “Settings” button will become live, and clicking on it opens the PDF Optimizer interface.

If you just choose to Save As an optimized PDF without opening the PDF Optimizer interface, Acrobat will still optimize your PDF based on its current settings, which may well reduce file size. Regardless, it will still efficiently re-write your PDF just like the “vanilla” Save As PDF option. While that’s a good start, you may well be able to minimize file size by adjusting the settings some.

Audit space usage

Before you start removing content elements, downsampling images and the like, it’s helpful to identify what is actually taking up the most space in your PDF. Luckily, the PDF Optimizer has a feature that can handle just this sort of thing. To activate it, just click on the “Audit space usage…” button in the top-right of the PDF Optimizer window. If you have any trouble finding the button, this video outlines how to find it in Acrobat. You’ll then get a dialog that will break down your PDF by the space used by each type of content. It will also tell you the percentage of total file size accounted for by each content type. This will tell you where you can best direct your attention to produce the biggest reductions in total file size.

That’s the end of Part 1. In Part 2, Dan outlines how to use the PDF Optimizer.

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Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma and Acrobat versus the FDA PDF guidelines

A while back, I wrote a blog post comparing TRS ToolBox with the dynamic duo of Aerialist Pharma and Acrobat for preparing regulatory submissions. Since then, a lot of you have quite reasonably asked how Aerialist Pharma and Acrobat align with the US FDA regulations themselves, rather than with other products seeking to solve the same problems. That is a fair enough question, I think, and this post is my answer to you.


There will always be a link to the most recent version of the guidelines here, but as of today, the current guidelines are here (in PDF, of course). Given the importance and stringency of the regulations, this document is surprisingly succinct, clear and simple. In the following sections, I have outlined each of the key areas mentioned, common areas of difficulty, along with the relevant functionality of Aerialist Pharma and Acrobat.

PDF Version

FDA Guidelines: The FDA accepts PDF versions 1.4 to 1.7. Specifically, submitted PDF files must be compatible with Acrobat 8.0, without requiring additional software like plug-ins.

Response: This is almost trivially easy to accomplish in Acrobat. If you haven’t originally created your PDFs using one of the acceptable versions, you can easily convert them using Acrobat’s PDF Optimizer (accessible via Save As > PDF, Optimized, click “Settings”). This conversion process can also be performed on thousands of PDF files at once using Acrobat’s Action Wizard (Tools > Action Wizard).


FDA Guidelines: The guidelines stipulate that you can’t change the security on any PDFs used in your submission. Specifically, that means that you shouldn’t add security to your own documents (i.e., they should not be secured), and don’t modify the settings on the secured forms provided by the FDA (some forms are configured to prevent unauthorized changes).

Response: In general, this won’t require any action on the part of the user, since it essentially requires users to avoid changing security settings. All of this means that you might need to remove security from some of your own PDF files, which can be done in Acrobat (File > Properties, Security tab) if you have the appropriate privileges or password.


FDA Guidelines: It’s important that your documents can be displayed consistently across machines. When a font is embedded, every glyph in that font is included in the PDF. That ensures that the PDF contains everything needed to consistently display its text content with appropriate formatting (i.e., the PDF is self-contained). Fonts that are not embedded can result in inconsistent appearance, structure, and can alter apparent meaning in some cases. This is because locally available fonts will be substituted for unembedded fonts unless the same fonts are installed on the viewing machine.

Response: Font embedding can be checked (File > Properties, navigate to Fonts tab) or completed (Tools > Print Production > Preflight) in Acrobat. Acrobat can also be used to process large batches of PDFs via its Action Wizard.

Page Orientation

FDA Guidelines: Page orientation must be such that reviewers don’t need to rotate pages. The most common manifestation of the problem is when landscape pages are not correctly oriented.

Response: This can be done easily for entire documents in Acrobat (Tools > Pages > Rotate). Acrobat allows you to select rotation angle, page range, and original orientation for rotation. This allows you to, for example, rotate all landscape pages counter-clockwise by 90 degrees. Again, the Action Wizard allows for this task to be completed in bulk.

Page Size and Margins

FDA Guidelines: Pages need to fit on a Letter (8.5″ x 11″) standard sheet and have a margin of at least 3/4″ on the left (portrait) or top (landscape) of the page, and at least 3/8″ on other sides. This allows for binding.

Response: If page sizes or margins are not sufficient to meet requirements when PDFs are originally created, these can be altered using the imposition features of Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Imposition).

Source of Electronic Documents

FDA Guidelines: While not a firm requirement, this guideline recommends against the use of scanned documents. If they are used, they must be processed via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and validated to ensure faithful, searchable text.

Response: Acrobat itself can be used to create PDF files with searchable text from any number of document formats. When working with scanned or other image-based documents, Acrobat’s built-in OCR feature (Tools > Text Recognition) can scan images to produce searchable text within documents. This can also be conducted across many files using Acrobat’s Action Wizard.

Methods for Creating PDF Document and Images

FDA Guidelines: These guidelines stipulate that grayscale and color should be used only when necessary, and that image resolution should be set to 300 dpi, except for photographs, gels and karyotypes, which require 600 dpi.

Response: As long as the original images are of sufficient quality, images can be selectively downsampled using Acrobat’s PDF Optimizer (accessible via Save As > PDF, Optimized > Settings). Individual images can also be downsampled using Acrobat’s Edit Object Tool (Tools > Print Production > Edit Object) and a suitable image editor like Photoshop.

Image Compression to Reduce File Size

FDA Guidelines: The FDA guidelines stipulate lossless compression of images. They mandate Zip (AKA Flate) for color and grayscale images, and CCITT Group 4 for black and white images (e.g., faxes).

Response: These compression techniques are supported by Acrobat. Image compression settings can be configured using Acrobat’s PDF Optimizer (accessible via Save As > PDF, Optimized > Settings).

Optimize for Fast Web View

FDA Guidelines: This option needs to be set to allow for faster opening of PDF files. This allows users or readers to download one page at a time rather than having to wait for the entire file to download before they can view the document.

Response: This option can be enabled in the (hopefully) now-familiar PDF Optimizer (see above). In the PDF Optimizer, this can be enabled by selecting the Clean Up tab and and checking “Optimize the PDF for fast web view”.

Image Color Matching

FDA Guidelines: The guidelines state that CMYK (i.e., print-based) color spaces offer more control than RGB (screen-based) ones, and that the International Color Consortium (ICC) color profile specification should be used when printing.

Response: Color matching is an extremely exacting process. While it’s possible to convert any images into an appropriate color space using Acrobat’s Print Production tools (Tools > Print Production), this will not by itself guarantee fidelity between the final document and the image creator’s intent, as the image was not created in that color space. Nevertheless, converting images into an appropriate color space can at least improve consistency between the submission as sent (i.e., post-conversion) and received (i.e., as it arrives in the reviewer’s inbox).

Despite Acrobat’s powerful capabilities here, conversion should be combined with testing and, if necessary, color correction to ensure the highest level of consistency when this is important to the submission. The better solution, of course, is to create the images using the same color space as that used in the submission version, precluding the need for conversion.


FDA Guidelines and Response: These are not required for PDF submissions, or indeed any PDFs, as thumbnails can be automatically generated by viewing software.

Hypertext Linking and Bookmarks in Text and Table of Contents

FDA Guidelines: The guidelines endorse the liberal use of hyperlinks throughout PDF files to facilitate navigation within and between documents. When they are used, hyperlinks should be designated by thin rectangles or blue text. To minimize confusion, a consistent design is recommended. It is also recommended that relative rather than absolute paths are used to ensure that inter-document links are not broken when files are copied to a new location.

For documents containing tables of contents (TOCs), the guidelines state that both bookmarks and links should be created for each entry. The use of invisible rectangles and blue text is recommended to signal hyperlinks without obscuring important text. Bookmarks must be hierarchical, organized in precisely the same way as TOC entries (up to four levels deep). Finally, all links and bookmarks should be set to “Inherit Zoom” to ensure a consistent reading experience.

Response: Using Acrobat, users can manually create, edit or delete bookmarks and links (Tools > Content Editing). Acrobat can also be used to remove all links from a PDF (Tools > Document Processing > Remove All Links). Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma adds a range of powerful options here, many of which can be used to process large batches of documents via their compatibility with Acrobat’s Action Wizard. These are set out in more detail, below.


First of all, Aerialist Pharma can be used to dynamically create links based on keywords (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Links > Create Keyword Links) or page numbers (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Links > Create Page Links), which is ideal for adding links to an existing TOC. Links can also be imported or exported between PDFs (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Links > Export/Import Links).

Aerialist Pharma can also be used to modify link properties throughout a given document (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Links > Set Link(s) Properties), which can be used to modify the appearance and behavior (e.g., setting zoom level) of links to conform with FDA guidelines.

Additionally, Aerialist Pharma can selectively delete all links or just dead ones (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Links > Delete Links), and features a link auditor (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Links > Audit Links) that can be used to find and fix broken links and bookmarks. Aerialist Pharma’s functionality also allows users to generate reports about problem links, bookmarks, external dependencies, or simply count links (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Links > Reports).


Meanwhile, Aerialist Pharma also allows the dynamic creation of bookmarks based on existing TOCs or folder structure or folder structure (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Bookmarks > Add Bookmarks, click Import), text formatting such as headings (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Bookmarks > Build Bookmarks). Like links, bookmarks can also be imported or exported between PDFs (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Bookmarks > Add Bookmarks, click Import or Export) or settings files (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Bookmarks > Build Bookmarks, click Import). Aerialist Pharma can also bind separate documents, adding a shared bookmark structure to all selected documents (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Bookmarks > Bind Documents).

Bookmarks can be searched (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Bookmarks > Find Bookmarks), sorted (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Bookmarks > Sort Bookmarks), or deleted (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Bookmarks > Delete Bookmarks), and their properties can be edited in bulk using Aerialist Pharma (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Bookmarks > Edit All Properties). They also benefit from the reporting, auditing and fixing options noted above for links.

Tables of Contents

Aerialist Pharma allows for the dynamic creation of document or master (i.e., inter-document) tables of contents from bookmarks, headings/text formatting, file and folder structure (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Table of Contents).

Initial View Settings

FDA Guidelines: PDFs should be set to show “Bookmarks Panel and Page” unless there are no bookmarks, in which case, they should be set to “Page Only”. Default settings should be used for Page Layout and Magnification.

Response: These settings are easily accessible in Acrobat (File > Properties in the Initial View tab), and can be set for large batches of PDF files using Acrobat’s handy Action Wizard.

Page Numbering

FDA Guidelines: Page numbers should match between document and file (i.e., the initial page should be page 1) unless the submission has been split into multiple files. In this case, page numbering should match intended logical reading order without duplication. For example, if sections of the submission are separated into different files and Section 1 ends at page 10, Section 2 should commence on page 11.

Response: This can be accomplished, with different sets of options, using either Acrobat (Tools > Pages > Header & Footer) or Aerialist Pharma (Tools > Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma 11 > Stamps).

Naming PDF Files

FDA Guidelines: These guidelines stipulate that PDF file names use lower case letters and avoid special characters aside from hyphens or underscores.

Response: While no separate application is needed to name or rename PDF files, Acrobat’s Action Wizard does allow users to add prefixes and suffixes to output file names in bulk as they are processed.

Special Considerations for Promotional Material

FDA Guidelines: These guidelines relate to the submission of promotional material. As such, they require high resolution (minimum 600 dpi), consistent color display (see Image Color Matching, above), and should be submitted according to their actual size.

Response: Again, Acrobat allows for image downsampling and color space conversion, but as noted earlier, this may not be advisable without subsequent testing. Acrobat and PDF support very large page sizes, so the requirement for size fidelity is unlikely to run up against hard size limits.

Other Concerns

Long-Term Archiving of Documents

While it is not explicitly listed in the FDA guidelines for PDF, it can also be important to archive submissions. In the case of PDF, there is are several formal standards for this, known variously as PDF/A-1 (ISO 19005-1:2005), PDF/A-2 (ISO 19005-2:2011) and PDF/A-3 (ISO 19005-3:2012).

Acrobat supports these standards admirably. Acrobat’s Preflight tools support compliance-checking and conversion to these standards via pre-configured profiles (Tools > Print Production > Preflight, expand “PDF/A compliance”).

Presentation Fidelity

It is crucial that PDF submissions are identical in appearance to their paper equivalents. This consistency ensures that no information is lost in translation. This particular point speaks most to the choice of format for submissions. PDF’s page fidelity, cross-platform compatibility and (if appropriately prepared) self-contained nature make it an ideal transfer format.

Standardization of Document Processes

Human error is a random variable that can confound even quite sophisticated processes. As a rule, standardizing procedures and reducing manual handling minimize the risk of error. The ability of Aerialist Pharma and Acrobat to automate time- and labor-intensive processes within and across documents significantly reduce manual handling and hence, the risk of human error.

Final Thoughts

In concluding, I would like to reiterate that you can meet all of your PDF compliance requirements for US FDA submissions by using a combination of Acrobat and Aerialist Pharma. Some of the FDA’s guidelines, frankly, are best met at the content creation stage (color matching and correction come to mind). Even then, Acrobat and Aerialist Pharma can help with meeting one’s compliance burden with sub-optimal source content. Used together, Acrobat and Aerialist Pharma can drastically reduce manual handling time, improve consistency and minimize the risk of human error. As a result, your submissions will be more likely to be note-perfect when initially sent. This in turn reduces the significant costs, administration and lost opportunities associated with re-submission. Given that it can form such an integral part of the workflow, it is work noting that there is a fully-functional trial version of Debenu PDF Aerialist Pharma available. For that matter, there is also a free trial of Acrobat available from Adobe’s website. Why not try them out? We’re happy to help you get set up and answer any questions you might have.

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Thanks for your thoughtful responses so far!


First of all, thanks to those of you who have provided the flurry of responses to our survey about Debenu’s pending PDF SDK for developing Android and iOS apps. If you haven’t done so yet (and are interested in shaping our mobile PDF SDK), please do so here.

One thing has come through pretty clearly in the responses to date. It seems like a lot of you really want to help. We were expecting the responses about how it’s important/urgent/a life-or-death matter that you can find something to help you solve your current development problem. As developers ourselves — not to mention the people behind a commercial SDK — we understand it and will do our best to help you out.

What we weren’t expecting was the show of support. Quite a few of you took advantage of the section set aside for write-in responses and offered us the benefit of your sometimes extensive experience in the mobile development space. Thank you for your unexpected but much appreciated outpouring of wisdom!

While we haven’t confirmed a final set of functionality for our mobile SDK, there are definitely a few strong themes that are starting to emerge. We definitely still want to hear from anyone who is willing to put in their two cents. Just in case you missed it the first time, Debenu Labs is now available for your testing and feedback.

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Help us make the best mobile PDF SDK

We’ve been putting the word out, but just in case you didn’t already know, we’re taking Debenu Quick PDF Library mobile for Android and iOS devices. It will happen soon, too — as in, later-this-year-soon. We’re excited. There aren’t a lot of mobile PDF SDKs around, but there are a few out there. We think we can do it better, though, because we have a secret weapon: you, our developer community.

While we will build the library, you will be the ones who (we hope) will want to build with it. That being the case, we want to start an ongoing dialogue with you about how to make and keep this the best PDF SDK for mobile out there.

Let’s start with the basics. What sorts of apps do you want to build? Some of the available libraries are very focused on PDF viewing. Some, like Adobe Reader Mobile SDK are really only designed for building consumer-level viewing apps. Most seem to support digital rights management (DRM), either natively or by allowing apps to open PDF files from memory, which allows integration with a separately bought or built document security infrastructure. Others, like Foxit Embedded PDF SDK and PDFTron’s PDFNet Mobile PDF SDK offer broader functionality, with additional features available via add-on modules.

We really want to know what you think, and we want to use your feedback to drive our development roadmap. Ultimately, we want you, our (potential) developers to have a strong voice in shaping the final product. The best way for you give us your two cents is to complete our survey, but please also comment on this post if you have anything else to say. Either way, we’d love to hear from you!

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The Female Technologist: The Upside of Being a Woman in Tech

We often hear people talking about social progress — or the lack thereof — in the technology sector. It wasn’t so very long ago that Twitter was abuzz with tweets using the #1reasonwhy hashtag to aggregate the many reasons, big and small, that there weren’t more women working in the gaming industry. Ubisoft’s Jade Raymond was on the receiving end of some rather nasty online harassment, essentially, it has been argued, for being female, attractive, and good enough at her job to win awards during her rise to international prominence. In reference to their rarity, Raymond has described women in the gaming industry as being “like unicorns”, but she also says that is changing. Raymond now heads Ubisoft Toronto, where 20% of her developers and half of her “senior leaders” are female. Independently, the flurry of activity around the #1reasonwhy hashtag inspired #1ReasonMentor, a hashtag that emerged to offer “advice and help to anyone struggling to overcome sexism in the industry.”

You won’t be surprised to hear that this phenomenon — that is, the relative scarcity of women — is broader than just the gaming industry. I have been the only woman at tech meet-ups more times than I can remember. That hasn’t been a bad thing, though. I recently discovered by accident that my gender was actually opening some doors for me. The rest of the Debenu executive team and I are active members of the local tech-focused entrepreneurial community. We regularly attend networking events in our area. People who attend these gatherings really run the gamut, from those who have just come up with their first big business idea to grizzled veterans who are years into running successful businesses.

I remember debriefing with Karl and Rowan (my male fellow Debenu execs) after one of these gatherings recently. I felt that it had been a great success. I had spoken to a lot of fellow entrepreneurs, made small talk, chatted about our families, and of course, talked a little business. Moreover, the whole night had felt rather relaxed and pleasant. I was quite surprised to hear that Karl and Rowan had both had a completely different experience. They said that it had felt like they had been locked in a fierce struggle for status all night, with the other guests constantly seeking to compare growth, turnover, profit and staffing figures. At first, it was hard to believe that we had been at the same event.

Of course, in hindsight, it makes more sense. When you get that many driven, ambitious people in one place there is bound to be a current of competition (healthy or otherwise) running through the room. Being the sole woman in gathering of tech entrepreneurs, I think I forced everyone to go off-book. Instead of going through the whole ritual of comparing balance-sheets, we were able to just cut straight to the actual point of the evening and start networking.

I realize that being a woman working in a senior role for a technology company makes me unusual. Maybe that won’t always be true — Debenu’s head programmer is only the most senior female member of our development team (as in, she is decidedly not our only female developer). For now, I’ve found that being a woman can be a significant professional advantage in this male-dominated industry. Things might be gradually changing with respect to the gender balance in the tech industry, but for today, I’m still a unicorn, and I’m more than OK with that.

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Debenu PDF Viewer SDK 10.15 Released

The final version of Debenu PDF Viewer SDK has been released and is ready for download from our product updates page.

This new version is full of new functions, enhancements and bug fixes and we recommend that all customers upgrade to it to take advantage of the improvements. Visit the product updates page to download this new version and see a full list of the changes.

Download 10.15 from our Product Updates page

Version 10.15 Highlights

  • Now supports 32-bit and 64-bit applications
  • Improved document loading times
  • Improved large zoom rendering performance
  • Max zoom increased to 1600%


This is a free upgrade for all customers who have purchased a license to a previous version of Debenu PDF Viewer SDK.


As always we’d love to hear your thoughts on the new version of Debenu Quick PDF Library. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please let us know.

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Debenu Quick PDF Library 10.15 Released

The final version of Debenu Quick PDF Library 10.15 has been released and is ready for download from our product updates page.

This new version is full of new functions, enhancements and bug fixes and we recommend that all customers upgrade to it to take advantage of the improvements. Visit the product updates page to download this new version and see a full list of the changes.

Download 10.15 from our Product Updates page

Version 10.15 Highlights

  • Delphi XE6 compatible
  • 4 new functions, 26 bug fixes and 3 enhancements


Debenu Quick PDF Library 10 is a major new version of the product which means that the upgrade process is different from the minor version upgrade process, namely, upgrades are not free unless you meet certain requirements.

Free upgrades

Customers who purchased version 9 of Debenu Quick PDF Library on or after the 24th of August, 2013 (within 60 days of version 10’s release) or who own an active Premium Upgrade Protection subscription are eligible for free upgrades from version 9 to version 10.

Contact our sales team if you fall into this category and we’ll help you out.

Purchase an upgrade

An upgrade from version 9 or earlier versions to version 10 can be purchased at a discount (starting price is $269.00) through our online store. Users can upgrade their Single Developer, Multiple Developer or Source Code licenses to version 10. It’s also possible to purchase Premium Upgrade Protection with your upgrade purchase.

For example, if you own a Single Developer License + Standard Upgrade Protection for version 9 of Debenu Quick PDF Library then you will need to purchase the Single Developer Upgrade License + Standard Upgrade Protection (9.x to 10.x) product in order to upgrade to version 10 — though you can choose to buy the Premium Upgrade Protection version of that product if you prefer.


As always we’d love to hear your thoughts on the new version of Debenu Quick PDF Library. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please let us know.

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Debenu Quick PDF Library: Coming soon to Android and iOS

We’re all very excited about this here at Debenu. The light is well and truly green, and the team is hard at work making Debenu Quick PDF Library for Android and iOS a reality, to be officially rolled out with the next major release later this year. We’ve been planning this for quite a while, but the pieces have finally fallen into place. We now know how and, more importantly, when we’re going to be able to provide this much-requested functionality to you, our developer community.

Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices really to seem to be the way of the future. Part of it is the growing power of portable computing devices. Today’s smartphones have significantly more power than the combined might of all the computers used to co-ordinate the moon missions. The moon missions, people! Actually, according to, even a humble pocket calculator is more powerful than were those impressive relics of modern history. That really just underscores the point, though.

This exponential growth in power, along with the spread of fast cellular and wifi data networks, has led to a corresponding growth in the utility of mobile computing. Android, iOS and other mobile devices are now in integral part of our lives and the way we work. For myself, I am inseparable from my Android smartphone, a Samsung Note 3. I’m constantly working on it, writing presentations, emails, speaking to customers via LiveChat and exchanging files when necessary with Google Drive. If you’ve ever heard from me, there’s a good chance it was courtesy of my large-screened, mega-work tool (that’s what I call my smartphone).

By the end of the year, you’ll be able to leverage the robust and flexible functionality of Debenu Quick PDF Library for use by people like me who live and work on our mobile devices. If you’re eager for a sneak peek, pre-release versions will be available on Debenu Labs for testing and comment before you know it. As usual, we’ll work to integrate your feedback into our development plan and iron out any issues you happen to find. We’d love to hear from you.

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