Issue saving to PDF from photoshop

Preface: I have never used photoshop before today. I am on my computer at home.

I have artwork scanned into 1200 DPI .jpg files. I am trying to get my files sized correctly and PDF’ed in the highest quality possible so I can print to the Dye Sublimation printer which can print up to 2400 DPI.

So, armed with that knowledge I created a 11x14 inch, 2400 DPI, RGB Color (16 bits/channel) photoshop file and added my images into it, and resized/cropped them to what I wanted.

HOWEVER, when I try to export or save this file to a PDF either the PDF option is greyed out or simply not there. I have spent a few hours today combing through forums and videos trying to figure out if I have a setting wrong or something and nothing has worked. I have tried several options including recreating the file as an artboard, changing the bits/channel, and trying to just print it to a pdf writer and none have seemed to fix the issue.


save your work first, the next thing I say FUBARs further work, like “undo”, IIRC…
Flatten image? (also a PS neophyte despite decades of…dabbling I’ll call it…)

I save from Photoshop to PDF all the time. I just recreated what you said you did and I can’t save it to pdf either.

I suspect it is because it is such a huge honking-big file. It is 33,600 pixels by 26,400 pixels, for a whopping 887 MILLION pixels!! The only file types it will save to are the few that can support such a huge file (specifically it wants what it calls “large file types”). In fact, when I try to create the initial file it warns about files greater than 30,000 pixels in either dimension.

I succeeded in saving the file to pdf at resolutions up to 2140 pixels/inch (which I don’t recommend, BTW, because that’s not a simple multiple of what I’m guessing the printer’s native resolution is.)

Yeah, I’ve already flattened it and move it to 15 bits/channel (a recommendation from an Adobe forum) and those unfortunately didn’t fix anything.

I suspect that’s the issue too.

I was going to suggest flattening as well. It sounds like you have created a lot of layers.

“Flatten” is under the “layers” menu. On my laptop, that menu runs off the bottom of the screen, so I have to use the arrow at the bottom to get there.

I would make a copy of your original file, so you always have something to get back to, in the event that everything crashes. (It happens…) Copies also allow you to try a lot of other things. For example, you might also look at your layers and see if anything imported as a “smart object”. If so, you may need to rasterize that layer.

And 2400 dpi? That sounds like a HUGE file. 300 dpi is pretty much the industry standard for printing unless the file is going to be printed larger than your original. It is possible to exceed the limits of photoshop for files. Although when I did that, I was working with files that were literally the size of the side of a school bus, when designing a wrap - and having no clue whatsoever what I was doing…

Failing all that, you can see if you can email me the file and I’ll take a look. (but file size may preclude that plan…) I’ll be at the space tomorrow night for finance and membership committee meetings. Hoping to get there earlier in day to tackle the personal bins. (the ones that got moved got jumbled in the process. I hope to get them sort of into a semblance of the previous configuration.

I already flattened the image and it didn’t help.

@CaryF300, is the Sawgrass printer just normal USB? If could I just plug the printer into my laptop and print straight from photoshop that would negate the need to PDF it at all, but I don’t want to screw anything up with DMS’s set-up.

Question: Would you be better off with a vector format (.ai or .svg)?

I suspect your file is huge to avoid pixilation. If it’s vector, it should scale as large as you want without distortion, which should let you save at a smaller file size.

PS will let me export to an SVG. I don’t think its a vector, though? Its literally just 4" squares of my scanned artwork.

I wouldn’t think it would help. Given that the Photoshop error message specifically states 30,000 pixels in either dimension as a threshold, I think you’re going to have to reduce your dpi.

1800 dpi is still a very high resolution image. Have you tried that? (Image / Image Size)

That’s my next thing to try. Someone on reddit just mentioned to me that Mac has a virtual printer driver built into it that might have a spool big enough to print to PDF from this file, so I’m going to try that first.

SVG stands for “Scaleable Vector Graphics,” so it should scale up or down for you in that format. I haven’t tried it, but someone else might know.

You can print it to pdf easily on the Mac. Press Quality is the best quality option. But be forewarned that it will likely down-sample your image to do this. Source: Adobe.

I get this error when trying to print it to a PDF in both Windows and Mac.


I’m going to scale down to a lower DPI.

There are two kinds of graphics files; Raster and Vector.
Photoshop is a Raster program. All the images are pixels. Curves are actually made of tiny stair steps. Low res will be pixelated.
Illustrator is a Vector program. All of the curves in images are formed by mathematical formulas.

Saving a file as a vector format out of photoshop will not make it magically become an actual vector file (sadly). It is just kind of a faked version of same. But it’s still raster.

The program does, however, import vector files and keep them that way as a “smart object.” But you don’t have any editing options while it is still a smart object.

Importing a photoshop file into Illustrator, you can do an object trace - that can render the photo or whatever into a vector file. Sometimes that’s a fab option. But mileage may vary…I don’t think it’s a good option for Shay’s project.

So I’m with Chris on this. Less resolution.


Fixed. Scaling down the DPI allowed me to save as a “Photoshop PDF”. I guess I’ll have to figure out the higher DPI issue later if I ever want to sublimate on Chromaluxe panels.


It is, but the PowerDriver requires a serial number to install, and only allows a specific number of installations. If you save the file as a TIFF file, then we may be able to find a way to print it. Also, for high detail, high DPI, images like you are creating, I would never save them as a JPG. I would save as a TIFF or PNG file. JPG files use compression that loses information to create smaller file sizes.


We don’t have photoshop on that computer, I suppose. I wonder if we have enough licenses to add it.

I haven’t used that computer in about 6 weeks, but I don’t seem to recall it being particularly powerful. So, if that’s correct, it would have a lot of trouble even opening a Photoshop document of that size.

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I have fought that battle for a long time.