Reduce File Size of PDF Documents with Preview on Mac OS

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The PDF file format is ubiquitous for a good reason, mainly because it allows perfect preservation of the formatting, text and other elements of a document, but also because it enables encrypted password protection of documents. But let’s face it, sometimes PDF files can be bloated, and something that should be 200k or less can be 1.2MB for no apparent reason, especially if they were generated at OS level from something like printing to a PDF , another file converted to a PDF or created with an app that offers no compression at all.

This article will show you how to reduce the file size of PDF documents using tools in the Mac OS Preview app, which comes standard on every Mac. Reducing PDF file size can be very effective and dramatic, so if you need a remarkable reduction in PDF file size, guide should be of great help to you.

Let’s go there and learn how to reduce the file size of a PDF on Mac.

How to Reduce PDF file size on Mac with Preview

  1. Open the PDF file you want to reduce in size in the Preview app (usually Preview is the default PDF viewer in Mac OS X *, but if not, you can find it in the / Applications / folder of Mac OS)
  2. Open the “File” menu and choose “Export”
  3. Export a PDF to compress the file size in the Preview app for Mac OS X.

  4. Select the submenu next to ‘Quartz Filter’ and choose ‘Shrink File Size’
  5. Save the new reduced version of the PDF as usual by clicking “Save”
  6. Reduce the File Size filter in the Preview app for PDF files

(Note: You can also access Quartz filters from “Save As” with new versions of Preview for Mac OS, but from File> Export trick also works for earlier versions of the app. Additionally, if you don’t need a color document, choose “Grayscale” as the filter can also drastically reduce the file size of a PDF document)

How much space you save by using this file reduction filter varies greatly depending on the content of the PDF, the original app that created and saved the PDF, and whether filtering was applied to begin with, among a number of other factors. For all-text original documents, such as a resume or a Word document converted to a PDF without any optimization, this can make a huge difference, and a file size of 1MB may be smaller. will be less than 100 KB.

Keep in mind that quartz filters are basically image processing filters, but unlike apps created for lossless image compression, the PDF file is processed in such a way that it can result in lossy compression and artifacts appearing on embedded images. That is not always desirable, which makes this trick best for PDF files containing a lot of text, simple charts, graphs, spreadsheets or simple vector drawings, and not for full graphics or photos where high image quality is desired. Again, this is an advantage to using the “Export” command as you can easily compare the two documents when it is done, which is recommended. You don’t want to overwrite the original PDF file with the compressed version without knowing if the quality is up according to the standard you need.

For PDF files that are not yet optimized, the Preview app in Mac OS X can often significantly reduce file size by running it through an export filter as described, sometimes reducing a document by 40% or even more than 90%, depending on the PDF file and its content. This works particularly well for reducing the size of text-heavy PDF files, but it’s not a perfect solution for every document out there so you’ll want to go through the process with the document in question and compare it to the original PDF to see if it helps or if the quality of the output reduced PDF file is sufficient for your needs.

Counterintuitive and in some less common situations, starting with an already optimized and compressed PDF file can result in the generation of a larger file with this reduction filter. This really depends on the application that created the PDF to start with and whether or not the file is compressed at all, but for situations where a PDF is generated using something like Adobe Acrobat Pro, it might be.

Either way, you may want to get the file size of the documents in question both before and after compression. On the Mac, that’s pretty easy to do with the “Get Info” command, select the PDF file in the Finder, and go to the “File” menu to choose “Get Info.”

* Note that if the Preview app is no longer the default application associated with PDF files, you can reset the default PDF viewer in Mac OS to Preview with these instructions. Preview is a great app on the Mac with a huge variety of features as well features, and it is more than capable of processing and viewing many image formats and PDF files regardless of their size.

This trick works in virtually all versions of Preview on all versions of Mac OS system software, be it macOS Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard, etc.

What is this trick effective for you to shrink a PDF file? Do you know of any other method to compress PDF files or shrink a PDF document to reduce file size? Share your experiences and information in the comments!

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Reduce the File Size of PDF Documents with Preview in Mac OS X: FAQ

Tutorial Summary: Reduce the File Size of PDF Documents with Preview in Mac OS X

In this guide, we told you about Reduce the File Size of PDF Documents with Preview in Mac OS X; please read all steps so that you understand Reduce the File Size of PDF Documents with Preview in Mac OS X in case if you need any assistance from us, then contact us.

How this tutorial helping you?

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What is actual time in which this method complete?

The time to complete the Reduce the File Size of PDF Documents with Preview in Mac OS X tutorial is 10+ minutes.

What are the supported Device?

Apple

What are the supported Operating system?

mac OS


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