How to Make PDF Smaller on Mac

Joel Mason

Mac, Tutorials

Do you find yourself struggling with large PDF files on your Mac? If so, you’re not alone.

Large PDF files can take up valuable storage space and make it difficult to share or upload documents. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the size of a PDF file on a Mac, and in this article, we will guide you through the process.

Method 1: Compressing PDFs using Preview

If you want to quickly shrink your PDF files without installing any additional software, the Preview app on Mac offers a simple solution.

  1. Open your PDF file with Preview: Right-click on the PDF file and select “Open With” > “Preview.” Alternatively, you can open the Preview app and go to “File” > “Open” to locate your PDF.
  2. Select the Export option: In the Preview menu bar, click on “File” > “Export.

  3. Choose Quartz Filter: In the Export dialog box, select the “Quartz Filter” drop-down menu.
  4. Select Reduce File Size: From the Quartz Filter options, choose “Reduce File Size. “
  5. Save the compressed file: Choose a destination folder and click on “Save. “

This method allows you to quickly reduce the size of your PDF files without compromising too much on quality. However, keep in mind that highly detailed or image-rich files may experience some loss in quality.

Method 2: Using Adobe Acrobat Pro

If you have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro on your Mac, you can use its powerful features to further optimize your PDF files.

  1. Open your PDF file with Adobe Acrobat Pro: Launch Adobe Acrobat Pro and click on “File” > “Open” to select your PDF file.
  2. Select the ‘Optimize PDF’ tool: In the Tools menu, click on “Optimize PDF.”
  3. Choose the desired settings: In the Optimize PDF dialog box, you can customize various settings such as image compression, font embedding, and more.
  4. Apply the optimization: Once you’ve adjusted the settings to your preference, click on “OK” to begin optimizing your PDF file.
  5. Save the optimized file: Choose a location to save the optimized PDF file and click on “Save.”

Adobe Acrobat Pro offers advanced options for compressing PDF files while maintaining high quality. It is particularly useful for professional use or when dealing with complex documents.

Method 3: Using Online Tools

If you prefer a hassle-free approach without installing any software, online tools can be a convenient choice. There are several websites that offer free online tools for compressing PDF files.

  1. Select an online tool: Choose a reputable website that offers PDF compression services. Some popular options include Smallpdf, ilovepdf, and PDF Compressor.
  2. Upload your PDF file: Most online tools have a simple drag-and-drop interface to upload your PDF file.

    Alternatively, you can browse and select the file from your computer.

  3. Select compression options: Depending on the tool, you may have different compression options available. Common choices include basic compression or advanced settings for further customization.
  4. Start the compression process: Once you’ve chosen your desired compression options, click on the “Compress” or “Optimize” button to begin the compression process.
  5. Download the compressed file: After the compression is complete, you will be provided with a download link. Click on it to save the smaller PDF file to your Mac.

Using online tools can be a quick and convenient way to reduce PDF file sizes, especially for occasional users or when you don’t have access to specific software.


In this article, we explored three different methods for making PDF files smaller on Mac. Whether you choose to use Preview, Adobe Acrobat Pro, or online tools, each method offers its own advantages and can help you optimize your PDFs based on your specific needs.

Remember to consider the nature of your PDF files before compressing them. Files with lots of images or complex graphics may experience some loss in quality during compression. It’s always recommended to create backups of your original files before making any changes.

By following these methods, you can effectively reduce the size of your PDF files on Mac and make them more manageable for storage, sharing, and uploading purposes.

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