How To: Compress PDF Files with OS X Preview
Wrestle with bureaucracy and you are certain to spend quality time with Adobe’s other contribution to civilization, the PDF. That said, sooner or later, you will run into one that is just too big to email or otherwise share. Here is how to compress PDF files with nothing more than OS X’s ever handy Preview app.
1. In Preview (~/Applications), open the PDF you would like to compress/reduce in size
2. In Preview, select “Export” from the File menu.
— In OS X 10.6.8 and earlier, select “Save As.”
3. In the resulting window, select the Quartz Filter “Reduce File Size,” rename it and then save the file.
Why rename your PDF? If you compress it and things turn out badly, you will to try again.
In my limited experience, the straight “reduce file size” filter takes away too much, leaving an illegible document — try it for yourself. The filter that worked best for me in reducing a large color PDF to an emailable size was Black & White, which doesn’t compress the file per se but does remove unneeded color information
And, even if the original PDF is black & white, the file may contain color information, especially if it was created from a scan, which can increase file size by many megabytes per page.
Additionally, try filters until you find the one, or combination, that delivers a Goldie Locks balance of size and readability.
PDF Compression: More Filters, More Choices
That said, Apple’s bundled filters, which have no user tweakable settings, might not met your needs. So, give Jerome Colas’ Quartz Filter Collection (free) a shot.
Unzip the file and then drag the contents into the Filter folder in the OS X Library (see: How to: Make Library visible in OS X 10.8): ~/Library/Filters.
You will need to authenticate.
Above you have one set of methods to compress PDF files. So, do have any PDF compression tips, tricks or app suggestions of your own? Share them in the comments below…