Effective Ways to Reduce PDF Size on Mac

Reducing the size of a PDF file can be extremely useful, whether you need to upload it onto a website or send it via email. If you’re a Mac user, there are several ways to reduce the size of your PDF files quickly and efficiently. In this article, we’ll go through 12 steps on how to reduce PDF size on Mac, along with some explanations and additional tips on how to achieve the best results.

Steps: How to Reduce PDF Size on Mac

Step 1: Check for Built-in PDF Compression

Before trying any external methods, it’s worth checking if your Mac has a built-in feature to compress PDF files. If you’re using macOS Sierra or later, you can simply right-click on the file, select “Open With,” and choose “Preview.” Go to “File,” select “Export,” choose “PDF” as the format, and then select “Reduce File Size” from the dropdown menu. This option can reduce your PDF file to a much smaller size with minimal effort.

Step 2: Reduce Image Size

Another way to reduce PDF size is by reducing the size of the images within the file. If you have Adobe Acrobat, you can use the “Optimize PDF” option to reduce the size of images and graphics. However, if you don’t have Acrobat, you can use Preview on your Mac to do this. Open the PDF file, go to the “Tools” menu, select “Adjust Size,” and then choose a smaller size for your images.

Step 3: Use Online PDF Compressor Tools

There are several online PDF compressor tools available that can help you quickly compress your PDF files. Some popular tools include Smallpdf, PDF Compressor, and ILovePDF. Simply upload your PDF file to the website, and the tool will compress the file for you.

Step 4: Compress the Text

Sometimes, the text itself within a PDF file can take up a lot of space. In this case, you can try compressing the text to reduce file size. Adobe Acrobat has a “Compress Text and Line Art” option that you can use. Alternatively, you can try using a third-party tool like PDF Squeezer to compress the text.

Step 5: Remove Unnecessary Pages

If your PDF file is too large, consider removing any unnecessary pages. You can do this using Adobe Acrobat or Preview on your Mac. Simply select the pages you want to remove and then delete them from the file.

Step 6: Use PDF Optimizer

PDF Optimizer is a feature within Adobe Acrobat that can help you reduce the size of your PDF files significantly. You can use it to compress images, remove unnecessary elements, and more.

Step 7: Convert to a Different Format

Another way to reduce PDF size is by converting the file to a different format, such as a Word document or HTML file. This can be done using Adobe Acrobat or using an online converter tool.

Step 8: Save as Reduced Size PDF

If you’re using Adobe Acrobat, you can save your PDF file as a “Reduced Size PDF” by going to “File” and then selecting “Save As Other.” This will reduce the file size significantly without compromising on quality.

Step 9: Split the PDF into Smaller Files

Sometimes, splitting a large PDF file into several smaller files can help reduce the overall size. You can use Adobe Acrobat or other third-party tools like PDF Split and Merge to split the file as needed.

Step 10: Adjust PDF Creation Settings

If you’re creating a PDF file yourself, consider adjusting the creation settings to optimize for file size. This can be done using Adobe Acrobat or other PDF creation tools.

Step 11: Use ZIP Compression

If you’re sending the PDF file via email or uploading it onto a website, consider using ZIP compression to reduce the file size further. This can be done using the built-in ZIP compression tool on your Mac.

Step 12: Use External Storage

Finally, consider using external storage options like cloud services or external hard drives to store your PDF files. This can help you free up space on your Mac and reduce overall file size.


Reducing the size of a PDF file can be done using various methods. Some of the most effective ways include reducing image size, compressing text, removing unnecessary pages, splitting the file into smaller files, and saving as a reduced size PDF. Additionally, online PDF compressor tools and external storage options can be useful for managing large files.

Tips and Tricks

Tip 1: Always save backups of your original files before making any changes to ensure that you don’t lose your work permanently.

Tip 2: Use high-quality compression to ensure that your file size is reduced without compromising on quality.

Tip 3: Consider using batch processing to compress multiple PDF files at once, saving you time and effort.

Tip 4: When splitting large files, make sure that the pages are split logically, so that it’s easy to find what you need later.

Tip 5: Use cloud storage options like iCloud or Dropbox to store your PDF files securely and free up space on your Mac.

Tip 6: Make sure that you’re using the latest version of your PDF editing software to ensure that you have access to all the latest features and tools.

Tip 7: Experiment with different compression options and settings to find the best balance between file size and quality.

Tip 8: Always test the compressed file before sending or uploading it to ensure that it opens and displays correctly.

Tip 9: If you need to compress PDF files frequently, consider investing in a dedicated compression tool to save time and effort.

Tip 10: Take advantage of the built-in features on your Mac to compress PDF files quickly and easily.

In conclusion, reducing the size of PDF files on a Mac can be done using several methods, including built-in features on your Mac, third-party tools, and online PDF compressor tools. By following the 12 steps outlined in this article along with the additional tips and tricks provided, you can significantly reduce the size of your PDF files and manage them more effectively.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Reducing PDF Size on Mac


1. Saves disk space: Reducing the size of PDFs on Mac can free up valuable disk space on your computer, providing you with more room for other files.

2. Faster upload and download times: Smaller PDFs are easier and quicker to upload and download, making file-sharing and collaboration more efficient.

3. Easier to email: Reduced PDF size allows for easier attachment to emails. This can be particularly useful when sending large corporate documents.

4. Improved document management: When file sizes are reduced, it is easier to manage and store documents on your computer and cloud-based storage platforms.

5. Eco-friendly: Small PDFs require less storage space, which means that fewer servers are needed to store data, reducing energy consumption.

6. Improved searchability: Compressed PDFs are easier to search through using keywords, as the file size is smaller and requires less processing power.

7. Long-term cost-saving: Reducing PDF size can save costs in the long term by reducing the need for larger storage devices and servers.

8. Quicker printing times: Smaller PDFs require less time to print, which can be beneficial when printing large documents with many pages.

9. Improved accessibility: Smaller PDF files can be opened and read more easily on mobile devices and tablets, making them more accessible to users.

10. Improved user experience: As uploading and downloading documents becomes more efficient, the user experience is generally improved, saving time and resources.


1. Reduced quality: As PDFs are compressed, the quality of images and text can be reduced, affecting the readability and clarity of the document.

2. Loss of embedded fonts: When compressing PDFs, it is possible that embedded fonts may be lost, leading to incorrect formatting and layout.

3. File corruption: Compressing PDFs on Mac could lead to file corruption, especially when done with free third-party software.

4. Loss of color information: Images and graphics that are compressed may lose some color information, leading to a loss in the aesthetic appeal of the document.

5. Incompatibility: Compressed PDFs may not be compatible with certain types of software, which could lead to issues when opening and editing documents.

6. Reduced functionality: When compressing PDFs, certain features such as interactive forms and hyperlinks may be lost or disrupted.

7. Complicated process: Reducing PDF size on Mac can be a complicated process, especially for users who are not familiar with the software.

8. Loss of meta-data: Compressing PDFs may result in the loss of important meta-data, such as author and creation date, which could be detrimental for professional documents.

9. Limited compression: Most free third-party software that compresses PDFs on Mac only offers limited compression options, which may not be sufficient for all types of documents.

10. Limited control: Compressing PDFs on Mac may result in limited control over the final output, which could result in unexpected changes to the document.


1. Can I reduce the size of a PDF on Mac?

Yes, you can easily reduce the size of a PDF on Mac using built-in applications or third-party software. The process is simple and requires just a few clicks.

2. Why should I reduce the size of a PDF on Mac?

Reducing the size of a PDF on Mac helps in saving storage space and makes it easier to share the document with others. It also helps in faster uploading and downloading of files.

3. How can I reduce the size of a PDF on Mac without losing quality?

You can reduce the size of a PDF on Mac without losing quality by using PDF compression software such as Adobe Acrobat or Preview. These software programs use advanced algorithms to compress the file size while maintaining the quality of the document.

4. Does reducing the size of a PDF affect the formatting of the document?

No, reducing the size of a PDF does not affect the formatting of the document. The file size is reduced by compressing the content of the PDF without affecting the layout or formatting of the document.

5. Can I reduce the size of multiple PDFs at once?

Yes, many PDF compression software programs allow you to reduce the size of multiple PDFs at once. This feature is especially useful when you have a large number of files that need to be compressed.

6. Is it possible to reduce the size of a scanned PDF on Mac?

Yes, it is possible to reduce the size of a scanned PDF on Mac. You can use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology that converts the scanned document into editable text, which reduces the file size significantly.

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

You can check the size of a PDF on Mac by selecting the file and pressing the “Get Info” option. This will display the file size and other information about the document.

8. Are there any free PDF compression software programs for Mac?

Yes, there are many free PDF compression software programs available for Mac such as PDFsam Basic, Online PDF Compressor, and Smallpdf. These programs are easy to use and offer basic compression features.

9. Is it safe to use online PDF compression tools?

While most online PDF compression tools are safe to use, it is important to be cautious while sharing sensitive documents online. Always use trusted websites and read the terms and conditions before uploading any documents.

10. Can I compress password protected PDFs on Mac?

Yes, you can compress password protected PDFs on Mac using PDF compression software such as Adobe Acrobat or Preview. However, you will need to enter the password to unlock the file before compressing it.

11. What is the maximum size of a PDF that I can reduce on Mac?

The maximum size of a PDF that you can reduce on Mac depends on the software program that you are using. Most software programs can handle files up to 2GB in size.

12. Will reducing the size of a PDF affect the image quality?

Reducing the size of a PDF can affect the image quality if the compression level is too high. It is recommended to use a moderate level of compression to maintain the image quality.

13. How long does it take to reduce the size of a PDF on Mac?

The time taken to reduce the size of a PDF depends on the size of the document and the speed of your computer. However, most PDF compression software programs complete the process within a few minutes.

How to Reduce PDF Size on Mac

Many people find themselves in the situation where they need to send a PDF file, but the file is too large to be sent via email or other file-sharing methods. The good news is that there are several ways to reduce the size of a PDF file on a Mac. In this article, we will go over some of the ways that you can do this so that you don’t have to worry about sending large files anymore.

Conclusion and Closing

Reducing the size of a PDF file on a Mac is something that can be done easily using one of the methods outlined in this article. Whether you choose to use the Preview app or a third-party tool, the process is simple and can save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run. By reducing the size of your PDF files, you can send them easily through email and other file-sharing methods, making it easier for you to share your files with others.

We hope that you found this article helpful and that you are now equipped with the tools you need to reduce the size of your PDF files on a Mac. If you have any other tips or tricks for reducing PDF file size on a Mac, feel free to share them in the comments below. Until next time, happy editing!