PDF export fails when downsampling large images.


An error message, "PDF export failed" is displayed when downsampling is enabled for an InDesign document.


When you place images, or graphics, and scale them down significantly, it results in increase in resolution. Example: If you place a 600 dpi image without scaling, it consumes a large amount of available memory on your system. So, the usual practice is to scale down a 600 dpi image to 50% for effective resolution and export. Such PDFs fail during export because of the downsampling of the images.

For PDF export failures other than downsampling, see here.

Solution 1: Use Acrobat to downsample the images after you export.

  1. Choose File > Export and select PDF as your format, choose a location and click Save.

  2. In the Export PDF dialog box, disable the image downsampling options.

  3. Open the resulting PDF in Acrobat.

  4. Choose Advanced > PDF Optimizer.

  5. Set the downsampling options of your choice in the Image Settings pane.

  6. Disable all options that you don't require.

  7. Click OK and enter the required information to save the file.

Solution 2: Use Photoshop to downsample the images before you export.

  1. Right-click on the image in the layout or the links panel, and choose Edit Original.

  2. In Photoshop, select Image > Image size.

  3. Ensure Resample Image and Constrain Proportions are enabled.

  4. Adjust the document size values based on the final output's image resolution and your layout needs.

  5. Save and close the image.

  6. Return to InDesign and update the link if necessary.

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