Photoshop: Print to PDF creates small image on correct sized canvas

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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On occasion, I will attempt Printing, not Saving As, a Photoshop file to PDF and something unusual happens. Instead of being a properly sized file, the image will be a very small little thumbnail in the upper left corner of a correctly sized, but otherwise blank canvas. I have no idea why this happens. I generally have to shut down Photoshop or reboot my computer at least once and sometime several times before things go back to normal. I have CS5. This can be harrowing when I am trying to output a file needed to keep a printing schedule.
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Hans Matthes

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Posted 5 years ago

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Brett N, Official Rep

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Have you checked the DPI on images where this happens? Perhaps the DPI is really high, which makes the pixels smaller on the "printed" page. Which in turn would make the images smaller.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Chief Customer Advocate

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It may also help to know what OS/version you are on.
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Hans Matthes

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Thanks for the response guys. The O/S is Windows 7, I am using CS5 and I do not think the DPI is not in question. I generally run everything at 300, and the thing is, that when I reboot the system and things get back to normal, the identical photoshop file will now output to correct size as a pdf.
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Brett N, Official Rep

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Perhaps this is an Acrobat related issue?
Here is a little experiment:
The next time Photoshop does this, try printing to PDF from some other application (same settings) and see if we get the same behavior.
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Hans Matthes

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Brett, It took a while for this strange phenom to occur again, but it just did. So I tested your theory by printing to pdf from other applications with the same settings. I printed an Excel spreadsheet and it came out precisely to size as one would expect. I then went back and printed something from PhotoShop and got that crazy little thumbnail. It's just weird.
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Brett N, Official Rep

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Does the behavior seem to be related to the file you are printing? If you see this behavior, then open a different file and see if the same thing happens when going to Print.

If it seems to be related to the file, then we will definitely want to look at the file and see what we can determine about it.
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Joel Husenits

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Not sure if this was ever solved, but I've recently had the same issue using Photoshop CS 5.5 on a Windows 7 machine. Printing to PDF sometimes results in the image rendering as a tiny thumbnail in the upper-left corner of an otherwise normal-sized canvas.

Shutting down and rebooting Photoshop often fixes the issue, even when neither print nor file settings have been altered.
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Chris Cox

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Have you tried just saving as PDF?
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Shannon Henderson

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I have been experiencing this same problem as I believe I have finally solved it.
First, I changed my Adobe PDF Presets in Photoshop CS5 and made sure that downsampling was turned off. This seemed to work but randomly the problem would come up again.

Just today, I went into my Devices & Printers settings in Control Panel and changed my default printer to something other than Adobe PDF. Low and behold that seemed to solve my problem!
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Deborah Pruette

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I still have this problem --- it went away & now its back!
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jared bartholomew

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Got the same problem
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katie garbutt

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I have had this issue for a long time now. It's happening about 75% of the time that I try to create small file size PDF documents from a photoshop document by printing to pdf. Very frustrating and a time waster to have to try again and again to get the right size version of your document instead of a thumbnail in the top left corner.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Chief Customer Advocate

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Does it work correctly if you choose File>Save As... and select PDF as your file format? Using print to PDF can send the process through 3rd party software we have no control over.
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John Ross

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This problem just started happening to me as well. I have been printing PDFs from photoshop for years. I have changed nothing that I know of and last night the images started printing really small in the upper left hand corner of the sheet. ie Print an 11 x 17 size image from photoshop the result is an 11 x 17 document with a 1 inch or so image in the upper left hand corner.

I can save to pdf from photoshop but, 1) printing using the adobe pdf printer allows changing the document size quickly and 2) a pdf printed through adobe is drastically smaller in size but has the same resolution as a "saved" pdf from photoshop. A "PDF printed" 42" X 30" image can be around 2 megs and a "saved PDF" through photoshop is about 40 megs.
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Chris Cox

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That sounds like you are choosing very different options in the print and save options.
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John Ross

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I have been printing using the Adobe printer from CS5 for years creating these files and have never had this issue before. It just started this past week. I have been through all the options in the Adobe printer settings and nothing seems to make a difference. The image that shows in the preview box fills the media size like it always has, then when the pdf is created I get a document the correct size but my image is about an inch in size in the upper left corner of the document. From a file size standpoint I have not been able to use CS5 to save a pdf that has had the same quality and file size as what the Adobe printer could do.
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Graphic Design

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I'm suddenly having the same problem. What seems to work for me is printing the PDF to a unique filename.