Reducing Size In PDFs

  • 1 September 2016
  • 8 replies

Userlevel 1

Anyone have any hacks to reduce the size of PDFs from downloaded dashboards? I am using a table visualization and most of my PDFs are coming out to 1.5MB - 2MB each. I am then combining multiple of these into a deck. So it quickly adds up to 30+MB.

I have tried optimizing/shrinking using Adobe PDF and Nitro PDF but it doesn’t shrink it very much. Anyone else have any luck with anything else?

8 replies

Hi @josmeye,

Currently there’s no real way to shrink the size of the PDFs. Some possible suggestions:

  • combine your dashboard deck into a single dashboard

  • use the legacy dashboard (Vertical Stack) option - those dashboards are significantly smaller, tho they don’t look as nice

We have an issue open about PDF size and we’ll be looking at options on making them smaller but currently there’s nothing I can think of except for what i mentioned above.


Userlevel 1

Thanks is there any estimated timeline on the open issue of making them smaller?

there is not. it’s a low priority issue plus I’m really not sure if there’s anything we can do about it.

have you tried my suggestions?

Userlevel 1

I have about 20-30 dashboards I am combining into a single PDF deck so the first one is not really an option to combine them all.

I tried the second suggestion and it also doesnt work, I basically have 4 graphs across the top with a table visualization below with the details. We have to include the detail view as a minimum and that is what is making the size of the pdf large (I have attempted to take out the graphs to see if that reduced size much but it didnt). In the legacy even with just the table visualization there are some key issues, it puts the header at the top of a separate page and also the “Generate By Looker” ends up in part of the table visualization.

It is much smaller though goes from about 1.7MB to 505KB from new vs legacy. If we could somehow get the new format down to the 505kb size that would be much more manageable.

I’ll push our rep on the subject as well, as this will become a big issue and potential reason for senior leadership to choose not to adopt Looker since our deck will take much longer to download and more importantly to scroll through because the files are so large compared to what we are currently building out in Excel/PDF.


Hi @josmeye,

If you happen to have Preview on Mac, you can open the PDF of the dashboard and then do File > Export, choosing a JPEG selection with Least quality, I was able to reduce from 1.7 MB (for the PDF) down to 324 KB (for the JPEG). The quality is still quite good, even when zooming into the JPEG.

Hope this helps.

Userlevel 1

I tried that with my PDF program where it exports to jpg and like you said the size was much smaller but then they came out as seperate files and not a deck. Seems like I would then have to re consolidate them somehow?

Are you familiar with the Automator program on Mac? Using Automator, you can create an application that will take a multi-page PDF and convert each page to a JPEG. You would then still need to re-consolidate all of the JPEGs, but at least you only have to do the conversion once. Here’s what that setup looks like in Automator:

You could also check if you have this option in the Print menu on Preview:

Just following up on this discussion - does Looker have a plan to address this? A 6 page PDF (from a dashboard) that is 12 MB is not sustainable for emailing for scheduled reports in Looker.