this is all good info that i need too.
i've run into the same problems for a long time - exported pdf's crashing when they are too big.
what are the best selctions for the [rasterize layers/convert vectors to polygons/compress vector graphics] window you get when choosing to export from ArcMap?
i'd like to try/learn more about the "draft mode" thing for layers too - how do you do that?
I use the "draft mode" a lot especially when it comes to multiple data frames. For instance, a location map inset, you can have that on as a draft mode so that it doesn't redraw every time you refresh your map. Map elements like north arrows and scale bar can be in draft mode, basically anything that offers the "Frame tab." Also, you can group map elements and turn on the draft mode.
To turn the on/off the draft mode, go into the data frame property --> Frame tab and at the bottom there's a check box. Or you can click on the global draft mode button, which is near the template button.
It's a handy mode especially when you open a map with a large aerial. The only drawback is the preview function in ArcCatalog, you see it in draft mode.