[R] Reducing the size of pdf graphics files produced with R

From: Chabot Denis <chabotd_at_globetrotter.net>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 06:32:10 -0400


Without trying to print 1000000 points (see <http:// finzi.psych.upenn.edu/R/Rhelp02a/archive/42105.html>), I often print maps for which I do not want to loose too much of coastline detail, and/or plots with 1000-5000 points (yes, some are on top of each other, but using transparency (i.e. rgb colors with alpha information) this actually comes through as useful information.

But the files are large (not as large as in the thread above of course, 800 KB to about 2 MB), especially when included in a LaTeX document by the dozen.

Acrobat (not the reader, the full program) has an option "reduce file size". I don't know what it does, but it shrinks most of my plots to about 30% or original size, and I cannot detect any loss of detail even when zooming several times. But it is a pain to do this with Acrobat when you generate many plots... And you need to buy Acrobat.

Is this something the pdf device could do in a future version? I tried the "million points" example from the thread above and the 55 MB file was reduced to 6.9 MB, an even better shrinking I see on my usual plots.

Denis Chabot

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