Flattened PDF


para-CAD
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What is the best solution that anyone has found to be able to quickly FLATTEN a PDF from chief architect?

 

I don't see the option to export or print to PDF and have the PDF be flattened inside chief architect.


Most of the jurisdictions I deal with are requiring the submission of PDFs to be flattened, as in, all the layers combined into one.

I have a subscription to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, thinking that the King of PDF would make this easy, it does not.

 

There are some online sources that will flatten a PDF, but they have file size and number of use limitations on their free sides.

 

What is the best solution that anyone has found to be able to quickly FLATTEN a PDF from chief architect?

 

I tried to search the site and the number one return was an MEP comment from 2015 that didn't address this at all.

I know I can't be the only one dealing with having to flatten PDFs.

 

Thanks for any help.

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I have PDF-Xchange where there's a checkbox for 'Print as Image' which flattens it.  In Chief, there is a Print Image option right below Print in the print drop-down... I haven't used it, but I suspect that is what it will accomplish.  Personally I would probably print from Chief normally, then re-print using Adobe or other and looking for that Print Image option 

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Mac you can do this within preview.  I am sure there is something similar for PC.  I know that you can also do it with Bluebeam Revu which is available in PC obviously.

 

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I don't understand? Using Chief's built in PDF printer produces a document with only one layer. I just checked again in Bluebeam PDF review which will show me layers in PDFs and has a flatten function. I only use the flatten function after I have made notations to a document so that they can't be changed. I wish CA would produce a PDF with layers, I can't even print with BlueBeam from Chief and get layers. What am I missing?

 

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1 hour ago, MarkMc said:

I don't understand? Using Chief's built in PDF printer produces a document with only one layer. I just checked again in Bluebeam PDF review which will show me layers in PDFs and has a flatten function. I only use the flatten function after I have made notations to a document so that they can't be changed. I wish CA would produce a PDF with layers, I can't even print with BlueBeam from Chief and get layers. What am I missing?

 


I was thinking the same thing as you.  Chief produces a flattened PDF out of the box.  Maybe some jurisdictions use “flattened” to mean a single OBJECT page as in images only (no vectors/text).

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4 minutes ago, lbuttery said:

I have no idea what a "flattened" PDF is or means ?

 

can someone post an "unflattened" PDF and then the "flattened" version 

 

Lew


“Flattened” typically just means all the “smart” stuff has been removed (form fields, annotations, links, layers, etc.).  Most good PDF editors can quickly flatten any PDF but I don’t know that any of them would make any difference to PDFs produced by Chief since there’s really nothing to flatten.

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below is pdf unflattened. If you go to View->show/Hide->Navigation->layers in Adobe acrobat you will see something like below if the document was printed with layers. I use CA's direct save as PDF, and I do not see any layers like this

image.thumb.png.8a35be81e6a2a97dfd53f5e967089f1b.png
 

 

 

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4 hours ago, para-CAD said:

What is the best solution that anyone has found to be able to quickly FLATTEN a PDF from chief architect?

 

I tried to search the site and the number one return was an MEP comment from 2015 that didn't address this at all.

I know I can't be the only one dealing with having to flatten PDFs.

 

I had a strange feeling we had done this before.

 

 

Also a lot of other useful information in that thread about PDF's if you scroll through.

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I Print to PDF with Chief and then sometimes if I need a smaller File size, I Print that PDF with BullZip PDF Printer which Claims it is "flattening" as it Prints the PDF but with X13 I have found that the PDF is often larger in file size than smaller.

 

Any PDF with Fillable Areas usually needs to be "Flatten" so it can't be altered afterwards by anyone ie Legal or other Govt. Forms.  this is from WI , but many States have something similar posted.

 

How to Flatten PDFs.pdf 

 

A Direct Print to BullZip PDF Printer sometimes has a slightly different look to it than than Printing to Chief PDF Printer 1st.

 

 

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3 hours ago, MarkMc said:

I don't understand? Using Chief's built in PDF printer produces a document with only one layer. I just checked again in Bluebeam PDF review which will show me layers in PDFs and has a flatten function. I only use the flatten function after I have made notations to a document so that they can't be changed. I wish CA would produce a PDF with layers, I can't even print with BlueBeam from Chief and get layers. What am I missing?

 

 

1 hour ago, Alaskan_Son said:


I was thinking the same thing as you.  Chief produces a flattened PDF out of the box.  Maybe some jurisdictions use “flattened” to mean a single OBJECT page as in images only (no vectors/text).

 

I thought this too, and was about to say so, but before I did decided to try the Edit Text button on my PDF editor (PDF-Xchange) and I was flabbergasted to see that all the text fields were individually selectable and editable.... Even the Watermark!   So much for THAT offering any protection unless you flatten...

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28 minutes ago, DzinEye said:

 

 

I thought this too, and was about to say so, but before I did decided to try the Edit Text button on my PDF editor (PDF-Xchange) and I was flabbergasted to see that all the text fields were individually selectable and editable.... Even the Watermark!   So much for THAT offering any protection unless you flatten...


Pretty sure almost (if not) every PDF editor leaves text as text during the flattening process.

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6 minutes ago, Alaskan_Son said:


Pretty sure almost (if not) every PDF editor leaves text as text during the flattening process.

Hmm...I don't think so... I believe that's the whole point of flattening, so that text or other such things can't be edited in the PDF.
Per my original response above, with PDF-Xchange I have the option to select Print as Image and then text is not editable.

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3 minutes ago, DzinEye said:

Print as Image

Ya,  that’s really a different thing.  That’s the point of my first post.  Standard flattening is one thing.  It sounds like some jurisdictions might be looking for a step further though.  The results can look and print pretty crappy when everything is converted to an image though.  

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19 minutes ago, Alaskan_Son said:

Ya,  that’s really a different thing.  That’s the point of my first post.  Standard flattening is one thing.  It sounds like some jurisdictions might be looking for a step further though.  The results can look and print pretty crappy when everything is converted to an image though.  

It's an interesting topic.  I just did a little digging and it seems there's a whole lot of opinions and misconceptions etc..  I guess standard flattening will supposedly prevent text in 'fill in the blank' type pdf forms from being edited...but some say even that is not necessarily the case.   

Personally  I never really thought that the watermarks I've splashed across preliminary drawings could be easily deleted in seconds.  That seems like a major shortcoming to me.

 

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10 hours ago, DzinEye said:

It's an interesting topic.  I just did a little digging and it seems there's a whole lot of opinions and misconceptions etc..  I guess standard flattening will supposedly prevent text in 'fill in the blank' type pdf forms from being edited...but some say even that is not necessarily the case.  

 

 

Ya, even the court document Mick posted above contains instructions that will still result in a document with text entities that can be edited with any good PDF editor.  Shoot, I can even edit the text if a PDF was converted to an image for that matter.  It just takes a little bit longer.

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By and to the way, some of our in house processes require flattening with a professional grade PDF editor and it’s something I do all the time.  The reason we do it actually has nothing to do with security or changing text to images though.  It’s so that annotations become a part of the document itself as opposed to a separate editable annotation entity and so that they appear the same regardless of what device they’re opened on.  Text is still text, vectors are still vectors, and images are still images.

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1 hour ago, DzinEye said:

Personally  I never really thought that the watermarks I've splashed across preliminary drawings could be easily deleted in seconds.  That seems like a major shortcoming to me.

 

Might explain why I haven't heard from a Client in regards to his Review of the Permit Set I sent out last week, if he can simple remove the Watermark.... wow ...Will have to rethink that Practice I guess.....

 

I have seen warnings about Redacted Text still being readable in some cases, ( below) but not Editable. 

 

https://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/caseinformationefiling/efiling_cm-ecf/technical-information/flatten-pdf-fillable-form

 

I even do "flattening" to my Invoices this way now, after finding out a Client years ago altered some Excel based Invoices for Tax and Rebate reasons....

 

M.

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The only way to prevent editing is to change the security of the PDF adding a password.

image.thumb.png.df6b03336f3572c276c7e37bceb714ea.pngimage.thumb.png.5aa11a25a4f9bfeb5930d990efdc4edd.png

Even then there are programs that will remove restrictions to allow changes.

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Preview on MacOS has an "Export" command which allows the single page you're viewing to be saved as JPEG, PNG, and a few other file types. You can also select the quality level, and the DPI (600 gets pretty good results on small text).

 

Each page of a multi-page document would have to be exported and then re-assembled into one document.

 

Also, the file size will most likely be much larger. But, the page is one single image with no editable text elements.

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13 hours ago, para-CAD said:

What is the best solution that anyone has found to be able to quickly FLATTEN a PDF from chief architect?

 

I don't see the option to export or print to PDF and have the PDF be flattened inside chief architect.


Most of the jurisdictions I deal with are requiring the submission of PDFs to be flattened, as in, all the layers combined into one.

I have a subscription to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, thinking that the King of PDF would make this easy, it does not.

 

There are some online sources that will flatten a PDF, but they have file size and number of use limitations on their free sides.

 

What is the best solution that anyone has found to be able to quickly FLATTEN a PDF from chief architect?

 

I tried to search the site and the number one return was an MEP comment from 2015 that didn't address this at all.

I know I can't be the only one dealing with having to flatten PDFs.

 

Thanks for any help.

Flattening is only done if you have Tiff, PNG files being sent to printer or converted to a JPG format. They can handle layers where JPEGS can’t. So they must be flattened prior to printing. Same with a PSD file from Photoshop. Keeping a layered copy means you can always  go back and edit the original. Once something is flattened in to a single layer, you can no longer edit individual layers. But you can do global adjustments.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I exported a 12 page plan to tiff 100% zoom images.

 

  • File size increased from 40MB to 65MB
  • I wasn't completely sure that the images were still to scale.
  • I reloaded the image files back into Adobe Acrobat and exported as a one-layer per sheet PDF.

 

Now the sheets are unedittable.........except when I use OCR and recognize text.

 

As far as the counties I work with go...they all claim that they are using PDF comparison tools to check when I make the changes I am mandated by them to make.  The even specify that I am NOT to change the file name (so no revision tracking on my submission file) or it throws off the reviewing software...........

 

And what's with the search feature..........I type in flatten PDF.....flatten+PDF........  nada.  Whats the secret to get good results?  Thanks for posting the 2018 link!!!

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