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Thread: Exporting to pdf format

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Answers Provided


    Default Exporting to pdf format


    I am currently working on a project where I need to export a map to pdf format in order to edit it in Adobe illustrator for a publication.

    We are getting strange results when saving to pdf - when I open the resulting pdf file it is divided into horizontal strips, which are selected separately. On consulting with someone who knows more about the adobe software, he came back to me saying:

    The main problem I've noticed with the two maps is that the green and grey areas [separate layers in the project] are pixelated images within the strips, these should be vector/outline images. This may be down to how the maps has been generated from the map software. The other maps I've seen have these areas in vector/outlines so they can be selected and coloured in Illustrator but this isn't possible with this map.
    After reading this, I opened a different project in ArcMap, and tried saving that as a pdf. I used the default settings for exporting. It came out without the strips. I thought yey, problem solved - I'll just use the exact same export settings. I tried this, and saved.... opened the pdf and... it was in strips.

    Is there a setting I am missing or not aware of that might be doing this? Is there something about the layers that are being put into this strip format that is causing it? It isn't every layer that has this happen - just some.

    Many thanks,


  2. #2
    John Sobetzer

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Answers Provided


    Default Re: Exporting to pdf format

    You probably have a bitmap symbol or a transparency setting in a layer above the ones being pixelated, because that would rasterize all layers below it in the TOC. You might use ESRI's free Detect Complex Output extension to find out if there is such a layer, or look for it in their symbols or properties. Or you could look in the layers list of your pdf, and see which one is missing, and if it (or others) goes on and off with the pdf's image layer, that's your problem layer(s).

  3. #3
    Donovan Cameron

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Answers Provided


    Default Re: Exporting to pdf format

    How to get consistent quality of vectors when exporting to AI format

    Problem: Polygons are divided in tiny strips when exported to EPS, PDF, CGM, or AI Illustrator
    Enable/Disable dicing with VB
    Increase vertex limit via windows registry
    Modify the vector export polygon vertex limit in Advanced ArcMap Settings

    That is if you are having trouble with the vectors in your map. This is called dicing, which by default is set to somewhere around 10000 (different vector formats have their own setting by default), this is like resampling your vectors for quicker on screen display and drawing. Unfortunately, this limit is included in the export to the vector formats as well, but the workarounds above work great.

    I often increase the vertex limit (first count the vertices using python):
    Code Block:
    def MySub(feat):    
     partnum = 0
     # Count the number of points in the current multipart feature
     partcount = feat.partCount
     pntcount = 0
     # Enter while loop for each part in the feature (if a singlepart feature
     # this will occur only once)
     while partnum < partcount:
      part = feat.getPart(partnum)
      pnt = part.next()
      # Enter while loop for each vertex
      while pnt:
       pntcount += 1   
       pnt = part.next()
       # If pnt is null, either the part is finished or there is an 
       # interior ring
       if not pnt: 
        pnt = part.next()
      partnum += 1
    taken from: Calculate field examples

    If you have some troubles, export your layers to PDF or AI format one layer at a time (with a neatline) or group them and export as groups of similar layers. This will help reduce file size.

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