PDF files are a very accessible file format. They can be opened in many different design programs which is highly useful in the print industry. PDF files allow items on the page to be edited after the page has been removed from the original design program. The separate layers (text, page, images, effects) can cause problems on occasion though. Unflattened files can cause visual discrepancies, changes in page content, and performance issues. Flattening your PDF file is a quick and simple solution to the problem. Flattening PDF files can achieve the following:
1. Protects sensitive content such as signatures from being easily tampered with.
2. Ensures that layer content remains in the exact place you intended.
3. Prevents the disappearance of layer content and special characters.
4. Displays visuals more accurately.
- Unflattened files may cause images to appear darker or lighter than how they will print.
- Unflattened files can also cause drop-shadows, gradients, and other layer effects to display incorrectly when printed.
5. Helps increase computer performance during the uploading and editing process of PDF files.
The easiest way to avoid these problems is to flatten the page in the original design program you used (InDesign, Photoshop, etc). If you need to leave the layers intact for editing purposes, Adobe Acrobat provides ways to flatten the PDF files later as well. There are different methods for each release of Acrobat so the best way to find the correct technique is to look up “flatten” in the “Help” dictionary of your program.