How to Make a PDF File Smaller on Mac

Kyle Wood

Mac, Tutorials

Do you often find yourself grappling with large PDF files on your Mac? Don’t worry, there’s a solution! In this tutorial, we’ll explore how to make a PDF file smaller on your Mac using a few simple techniques.

1. Compressing PDFs with Preview

If you have a Mac, you’re in luck!

The Preview app offers an easy way to compress PDF files without the need for any additional software. Here’s how:

  1. Open the PDF File in Preview: Locate the PDF file you want to compress and double-click on it. It will open in the Preview app by default.

  2. Select ‘File’ and choose ‘Export’: In the top menu bar, click on ‘File’ and then select ‘Export’ from the dropdown menu.

  3. Choose the Compression Options: In the export window, you’ll see a dropdown menu labeled ‘Quartz Filter’.

    Click on it and select an appropriate compression option such as ‘Reduce File Size’ or ‘Black & White’. Experiment with different options to find what works best for your needs.

  4. Select a Destination: Choose where you want to save the compressed file by selecting a destination folder. It’s recommended to save it in a different location so that you have both the original and compressed versions for future reference.

  5. Click on ‘Save’: Finally, click on the ‘Save’ button to compress and save your PDF file.

2. Using Adobe Acrobat Pro

If you prefer using Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can also reduce the size of PDF files using its built-in compression features. Here’s how:

  1. Open the PDF File in Adobe Acrobat Pro: Launch Adobe Acrobat Pro and open the PDF file you want to compress by selecting ‘File’ > ‘Open’ from the top menu.

  2. Select ‘File’ and choose ‘Save As Other’: In the top menu bar, click on ‘File’ and then select ‘Save As Other’ > ‘Reduced Size PDF’.

  3. Adjust the Compression Settings: In the ‘Reduce File Size’ dialog box, you can choose between different pre-configured settings or customize your own by clicking on the ‘Settings..’ button. Experiment with different settings to find the right balance between file size and quality.

  4. Click on ‘Save’: Finally, click on the ‘Save’ button to compress and save your PDF file with reduced size.

3. Online Compression Tools

If you prefer not to install any additional software or want a quick solution, there are various online tools available that can help you compress PDF files. Here are some popular options:

  • SmallPDF: SmallPDF is a user-friendly online tool that allows you to compress PDF files quickly and easily. Simply upload your file, choose a compression option, and download the compressed version.
  • PdfCompressor: PdfCompressor is another reliable online tool that offers advanced compression options.

    It allows you to fine-tune the compression settings to achieve the desired file size and quality.

  • Ilovepdf: Ilovepdf offers a wide range of PDF-related tools, including PDF compression. It’s a convenient option if you’re looking for additional PDF manipulation features.


Large PDF files can be a hassle, but with the techniques outlined in this tutorial, you can easily make them smaller on your Mac. Whether you choose to use the built-in Preview app, Adobe Acrobat Pro, or online compression tools, reducing the file size of your PDFs will not only save storage space but also make them easier to share and manage. Give these methods a try and enjoy the benefits of smaller PDF files!

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