Reducing SVG or PDF File Size


If your SVG or PDF file is too large, you may want to reduce the size before uploading it to the Glowforge App. 

With a few easy resources, this can be a quick and easy process. Here are some ways to go about it. 

Reduce Nodes and Simplify Strokes

In vector design files like SVGs and PDFs, strokes, fills and images are used to create objects. Strokes are outlines that become cuts when uploaded, while fills are solid strokes that turn into engravings. Strokes can be converted to scores for line drawing rather than cutting on a Glowforge.

Nodes are the points that connect a stroke together. When files are exported from many vector design programs, extra nodes may be created, leading to a large file size. You can reduce the nodes in a complex file using built-in tools in programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape.

Our guide on Simplifying Strokes in Inkscape provides an overview of the process. This guide is particularly useful for CAD software users as it can help reduce nodes, created during sketch or profile export, for optimal app uploading results.

Use a File Size Optimizer Utility

Vector files can sometimes be large due to the complexity of the design, the number of elements or layers in the design, or the amount of metadata stored in the file. Each shape, line, curve, or color in a vector file is mathematically defined, and more complex designs with more details will result in larger file sizes. Additionally, some vector file formats may include extra information such as preview images, color profiles, or other metadata, which can also increase the file size.

A file size optimizer utility is a tool that optimizes your file by reducing the file size without losing any visual quality. It works by removing unnecessary data from the file, such as redundant or irrelevant metadata, whitespace, comments, and default or unused attributes. The result is a smaller, streamlined file that loads faster, takes up less space and can improve the performance of websites or applications where the SVG or PDF is used.

These utilities may also be called compression tools, or SVG minifiers. 

Some vector design programs like Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape include native optimization options, and there are many apps and utilities available on the web that provide this option. 

Extract Embedded Images

Your design file may include images like photos or graphics that were not created as vectors.  Embedded images contribute to the larger file size of an SVG because they are included directly within the SVG file itself. This is especially true for complex or high-resolution images. Separating the embedded images from the vector will lead to a smaller SVG file.

In Inkscape, you have the ability to extract embedded images directly. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Make a new copy of your SVG file to work with.

  2. Open your SVG file in Inkscape.

  3. Use the Select and transform objects tool (S) to select the embedded image.

  4. Once the image is selected, go to File > Export

  5. In the dialog box that appears, ensure the Selection tab is active. Check the box for Export Selected Only, and set your preferred image details.

  6. Click Export.

  7. Use the Select and transform objects tool (S) to click on the embedded image that you just exported.

  8. After selecting the image, press the "Delete" key on your keyboard or go to Edit > Delete in the top menu.

  9. The embedded image will now be removed from your SVG file.

  10. Repeat steps 3 - 11 for all images you want to extract.

  11. Save your changes. Remember, once you delete the image and save the file, the change is permanent!

Now that you have separate files, you can upload them to the app. Upload the SVG first, then use the "Add Artwork" option in the app workspace to upload your extracted images and reassemble the design. 


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