How to Minimize PDF Size on Mac: Tips and Tricks

Greetings to all Mac users!

As we all know, working with PDF files on a daily basis is a common thing, especially for those who work in the academic field, research, and business. However, one big problem that always comes up is the PDF file size. Though they are convenient, sometimes they can take up too much space on our hard drives, in our emails, and more. Luckily, there’s a way to minimize PDF size on Mac. In this article, we will discuss 12 effective steps to minimize PDF size on your Mac. Additionally, we will provide some explanations and tips to make the process easier for you.

Let’s dive in!

Steps to Minimize PDF Size on Mac

Step One: Compress PDF File on Preview

Preview is a built-in application on Mac that is used to view and edit images, videos, and PDF files. What you probably didn’t know is that Preview also allows you to compress PDF files. All you have to do is open your PDF file on Preview, go to the File menu, and select Export. In the dialogue box, click on the Quartz Filter option and choose a filter that you desire. Click on save and you’re good to go!

Step Two: Use Third-Party Apps

Several third-party applications specialize in PDF compression such as Adobe Acrobat, PDF Squeezer, and PDF Expert Pro. These apps offer more flexibility and control over the compression process than Preview. Take some time to research which suits you best or try out several to see which compresses your files most efficiently.

Step Three: Break Up Large PDFs

When you combine multiple large files into one PDF document, it can significantly increase the file size of the PDF. Sometimes, it is better to split them up into smaller documents for efficient storage, management, and sharing.

Step Four: Lower the Resolution of Images

The higher the resolution of the images, the bigger the PDF size. When it comes to PDFs that contain high-quality images such as brochures or catalogs, it is important to lower the resolution to reduce the size substantially.

Step Five: Remove Unneeded Elements

Go through your PDF and delete any unnecessary elements such as pages, images, and text that do not contribute to the overall message of the document.

Step Six: Use Online Tools

If you prefer not to use a third-party app or don’t have the time to download one, consider using online tools such as Smallpdf, iLovePDF, or Soda PDF. These online PDF compression tools are free and straightforward to use, so give them a try!

Step Seven: Turn Off PDF/A View Mode

PDF/A view mode ensures that the PDF document is preserved for long-term archiving. However, it can unnecessarily increase the file size of the document. Go to Acrobat Reader’s preferences and untick PDF/A mode to decrease the file size of your PDFs.

Step Eight: Remove Form Field Data

If you work a lot with PDF forms, you may find that they take up significant space on your Mac. To minimize the PDF size, you can delete the form data when you’re done filling or collecting it. Go to Edit menu, click Form Options, select the Delete button and click OK.

Step Nine: Adjust Font Size and Type

The font type and size can also impact the PDF file size. Consider using smaller font sizes or simpler font types that take up less space.

Step Ten: Remove Embedded Fonts

Some PDF files may have embedded fonts that are not necessary. To remove them, go to File menu, select Properties and click on the Fonts tab. Select embedded fonts and click on the Delete button to remove them.

Step Eleven: Use Zip Files

If you’re sending multiple PDFs and want to minimize the overall file size, compress them into a ZIP folder before sending.

Step Twelve: Consider Cloud Storage

If your PDF files are too large and your Mac is running out of space, consider storing them on cloud platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud. This allows you to free up space on your Mac and gives you access to the files from any device.


There you have it – 12 easy and practical steps to minimize PDF size on a Mac. These steps are designed to help you make the most of your PDF files in terms of storage, management, and sharing. Don’t forget that you can also apply these steps to other types of files that take up too much space on your Mac. It’s essential to keep your space as organized and manageable as possible, especially when working with large files.

Tips and Tricks

Tip One

Always save an original copy of your PDF files before compressing them so you can always revert to the initial document if something goes wrong.

Tip Two

When compressing your PDF with third-party apps, you can choose different compression levels to suit your needs.

Tip Three

Consider deleting files that are no longer needed, specifically duplicates, to free up space on your Mac.

Tip Four

Use cloud storage as a backup to ensure that you do not lose files, and also to save space locally.

Tip Five

If you’re sending a PDF via email or any other means, always double-check the file size, especially the attachment size limit.

Tip Six

As an additional step to keeping your Mac organized, consider deleting old and irrelevant files on a regular basis.

Tip Seven

Keep your Mac updated, including application updates. Some updates are meant to fix bugs, memory leaks or optimize performance, the latter of which can help to free up space.

Tip Eight

Before compressing PDF files, be sure to back up all important files in case something goes wrong.

Tip Nine

If you’re sending a confidential or private PDF, always ensure that it is password protected.

Tip Ten

Lastly, if you’re working with large files frequently, you might want to consider upgrading your Mac’s hard drive to increase storage space.

With these tips and tricks, you can now effortlessly minimize PDF size on your Mac. Remember to choose the best method that suits your needs and always keep your Mac running smoothly by keeping it organized and updated.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Minimizing PDF Size on Mac

PDF files are commonly used for sharing and distributing important documents. However, these files can take up a large amount of storage space, making it difficult to share through email or other means. In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of minimizing PDF size on Mac.


1. Saves Storage Space – By reducing the size of a PDF file, you can save a significant amount of storage space on your computer. This, in turn, makes it easier to share the file with others.

2. Faster Loading Time – A smaller PDF file size will load faster, making it easier for the reader to access the contents of the document.

3. Easier to Email – When you minimize the PDF size, it becomes easier to send through email. This is because the email attachment limit is often small, and a smaller file size ensures the file can be sent quickly.

4. Better Compatibility – A smaller PDF file size makes the document more compatible with different devices and software.

5. Improved Accessibility – Minimizing PDF size makes it easier for people with limited internet access to download the file.

6. Reduced File Transfer Time – A smaller PDF file size reduces the time required to transfer the file from one device to another.

7. Improved SEO – A smaller PDF file size can help improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of websites that host PDF files.

8. Better user experience – A small PDF file size ensures that the readers can access the content quickly, improving their user experience.

9. Improved Security – When you minimize PDF size, you can also reduce the amount of sensitive and confidential information that can be accessed by unauthorized persons.

10. Easier Editing – Minimizing the PDF size can make it easier to edit the document using software like Adobe Acrobat.


1. Loss of Quality – Reducing the file size of a PDF can lead to a loss of document quality, impacting the readability and overall appeal of the document.

2. Loss of Data – Minimizing PDF size can also result in the loss of data, making some parts of the document unreadable or missing.

3. Required Software – Minimizing the PDF size may require specialized software that is not widely available.

4. Limited Customization – Some PDF compression tools offer limited customization options, leading to a more generalized file size reduction.

5. Corrupt Files – If the software used for file size reduction is not reliable, it can result in corrupted PDF files.

6. Time-consuming – Minimizing PDF size can be a time-consuming process, especially for larger documents.

7. Limited Compatibility – Some compressed PDF files may not be compatible with specific software or operating systems.

8. Limited to Technology – Reducing the file size requires a certain level of technological knowledge that may not be accessible to everyone.

9. Not Suitable for All Documents – Some types of documents require high-quality images and graphics, making file size reduction unsuitable.

10. Limited Editing Capabilities – Minimizing PDF size can also limit the editing capabilities of the document, making updates and revisions more challenging.


In conclusion, minimizing PDF size on Mac offers a range of advantages, including improved storage space, faster loading times, and improved accessibility. However, there are also some disadvantages to consider, such as loss of quality, limited customization options, and required software. Therefore, it is essential to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages before compressing a PDF file, ensuring that the process is right for your specific needs.


1. Why should I minimize PDF size on my Mac?

Minimizing PDF size on your Mac can be helpful for many reasons. Firstly, it saves space on your device and makes it easier to transfer PDF files. It also reduces the time required to upload and download PDF files.

2. What are the different ways to minimize PDF size on a Mac?

There are various ways to minimize PDF size on your Mac but some of the most common methods are using Preview app, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and third-party applications like PDF Squeezer and Smallpdf.

3. How can I minimize PDF size using Preview app?

You can minimize PDF size using Preview app by opening the PDF file and choosing File > Export. Then select the “Reduce File Size” option from the “Quartz-Filter” drop-down menu and click on the “Save” button.

4. Can I minimize the PDF size using Adobe Acrobat Pro?

Yes, Adobe Acrobat Pro offers various ways to minimize the PDF size including optimization settings and compression tools. You simply need to open the PDF file, choose File > Save As Other > Reduced Size PDF, and follow the instructions.

5. Are there any third-party Mac applications for minimizing PDF size?

Yes, there are many third-party Mac applications for minimizing PDF size such as PDF Squeezer, Smallpdf, and PDF Expert. You can try these applications to find the one that best suits your needs.

6. Is it safe to use third-party applications for minimizing PDF size on a Mac?

Yes, as long as you download third-party applications from trusted sources and read reviews before installing, it is safe to use them.

7. How much can I reduce the PDF size using compression tools?

The extent to which you can reduce the PDF size using compression tools depends on the PDF’s content, image quality, and formatting. Generally, you can expect a 50% to 80% reduction in file size.

8. Can I keep the original quality of the PDF while minimizing its size?

Yes, most PDF compression tools allow you to adjust the compression settings to minimize the size while preserving the quality.

9. How can I check the size of a PDF file on a Mac?

You can check the size of a PDF file on your Mac by right-clicking on the file and selecting “Get Info.” The size of the file will be displayed in the “General” section.

10. Can I minimize the size of multiple PDF files at once?

Yes, you can use batch processing options available in most PDF compression tools to minimize the size of multiple PDF files at once.

11. Can I minimize the size of password-protected PDF files?

Yes, you can minimize the size of password-protected PDF files but you must first enter the correct password to unlock the file before using compression tools.

12. How often should I minimize the size of my PDF files on a Mac?

It is recommended to minimize the size of your PDF files on a Mac whenever they occupy too much space on your device or when you need to transfer them.

13. Is there any difference between minimizing PDF size on Mac and Windows?

The process of minimizing PDF size on both Mac and Windows is similar, but the steps and tools used may differ slightly depending on the operating system.


In conclusion, if you’re having trouble with bloated PDF files on your Mac, there are plenty of options available to you. Using the Preview app, you can easily reduce the size of your PDFs by compressing them, removing unnecessary elements, and more. If Preview isn’t doing the trick, there are other programs out there that specialize in PDF compression, such as Acrobat Pro or PDF Squeezer. Regardless of which method you choose, taking the time to minimize the size of your PDFs can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article on how to minimize PDF size on a Mac. We hope that you found the information presented here to be helpful and informative. Remember, whether you’re dealing with large PDF files for work or personal use, there are always steps you can take to reduce their size and make them more manageable. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different methods until you find the one that works best for you. Good luck!