Forever and PDF File Size Limits

One of my goals is to always preserve the photo books I create on my Forever site. I don’t always care about individual photos, since in the absence of specific information about the photos and a system to organize them, a collection of thousands of separate images is not very useful. In comparison, photo books are well organized with information about the photos and consequently, worth preserving.

My latest photo book was 679 MB in size and when I tried to preserve it on Forever, I found out that doing so required significant effort. Initially, I received a “File is too big” message when I tried to upload my file, even though I had more than sufficient space in my account.

Forever’s site indicates that it can accept video files up to 4 GB, so I could not understand what the problem was. If the site could accept a large video file, why couldn’t it accept a large PDF file? Conceptually, one file is the same as another. It is just a string of binary digits.

I contacted customer support and eventually learned that there is a 250 MB cap on PDF files. The problem Forever appears to be having is that the code that Forever uses to process the PDF file is generally limited to 512 MB and to account for the space required for previews, Forever places a 250 MB limit on PDF files. Forever is looking at increasing this limit but they have not so far done so.

Forever suggested a number of options including uploading the file from within Artisan or breaking the file into parts. These options were unacceptable. I wanted my photo book to retain its integrity as a single file. To me, splitting the file into pieces, while technically possible, is equivalent to taking a book and tearing in half. Just don’t do it.

After a few emails, Forever agreed to have their engineers manually place my file into my account. I sent Forever a link to my file in Dropbox, they uploaded it, and I am happy to report that my photo book file is currently leading a happy life in my Forever account.

Forever can bypass its own file size limits and allow you to preserve larger files in your Forever account. If you run into the same problems I did, contact customer and request that they manually put your files in your account. It may not be the best solution, but it works, and if Forever gets tired of manually transferring files, they can always fix the underlying problems that made the manual transfer necessary in the first place.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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