PDF export size bigger than with OpenOffice

I have a spreadsheet that I use as a template for invoices. It was created with OpenOffice many years ago. Since then, I used the export to pdf function to create a pdf version of my 1 page invoices. The file size of the generated pdfs was an average of 50kb.

I recently installed LibreOffice. When I open the same ods file and do the exact same export to pdf, the file size is around 250kb!! Five times bigger!! There are no images in the file and I played with all the options in the export to pdf dialog with no avail (actually some options make the file even bigger).

Any idea what could be making these pdfs so big now? How can I make the pdf file size more efficient?


Using LibreOffice Version on Linux Mint 64 bit machine. I recently discovered that certain Calc spreadsheets with a simple page of figures would produce a very much larger PDF file. One of my simple spreadsheets was producing a 1.5MB file from a 22kB ODS or XLS file.

Yet there are no embedded files, and only a subset of Times New Roman and ArialMT fonts. Compression is set to the default 85% JPEG.

After some experimentation I discovered that it was the cell borders that caused the bloating.

A simple one-page test file without cell borders was 31.2kb. The same file with borders set to a 0.05pt line vertically & Horizontally across all cells was 31.6kb. But if I then changed the vertical borders to a dashed line rather than a continuous one, the PDF grew to 103.3kb. If I changed ALL of the cell borders (horizontal and vertical) to a dashed line, ths PDF size blew out to 577kb.

It seems that the dashed line is somehow causing issues. So if anyone is experiencing similar PDF bloat from Calc, check the border formatting in the spreadsheet.

There are many factors involved in export to PDF. In any case, there does appear to be a significant increase in PDF file size (for the same export settings) when the original ODS contains dotted / dashed, rather than solid, borders. Figures I get here under Debian 7 using v4.1.4.2 for a single A4 page of plain figures: no borders, 8.2kB; solid borders, 8.7kB; dashed borders, 783.2kB.

Some options in Menu/File/Export as PDF, can change the pdf size:

  • Images, lossless compression.

  • Embed OpenDocument file, this options keeps the ods file inside the pdf, and when the pdf is open in LibreOffice, the embedded ods is open.

  • Embed standard fonts.

Thanks, I tried all those options (on/off) with no avail

You don’t mention which version you’re using. With LibreOffice 4.1, there is now font embedding for all the apps.

In Writer, it seems you can disable (or enable) this feature in the document’s properties. Also Calc? Would this have anything to do with the PDF export size?

I’m using Version

Same problem. A one page christmas letter with about 1 MB of jpeg images and one paragraph text ballooned to 9.1 MB, which makes it unsuitable for email and time consuming with Dropbox. The images are compressed as much as practical.


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Well I had the same issue (and not only with LO).
Under Linux (but I suppose it’s the same with other OS) I created a script that converts the PDF to PS and then the PS back to PDF with ghostscript and it shrinks them a lot with no visible decay.
I had some issues with Impress in terms of size and transparency and I found that disabling PDF/A-1a solved the issue and produced smaller files.
It goes without saying that Jpeg compression should be on (I use 90%) and reduce image resolution (for video 75DPI works for me).

after some tries, I archived a reasonable PDF document size by disabling:

General->Create PDF…

into PDF Options window.

This set the PDF file size from about 6Mb to 800kb