Reducing file size of PDFs

April 5th, 2010 by Peter MacLaren

One challenge with PDFs created by some apps,  by scans, or by saving a document as a PDF using the universal “Print/Save as PDF” command, is that sometimes the resulting files can be VERY big. Really large file sizes are not usually a result with text documents, but files containing images can sometimes be surprisingly large, and thus not ideal for sending by email.

Fortunately there are three techniques for reducing PDF files size.

  • Use Preview’s “Save As” command then in the bottom center you will see a box called “Quartz Filter”. Select “Reduce File Size”, a NEW file name, then “Save”. Don’t overwrite your original file as you may not want to use the new version.  Works fine with some docs, but some docs end up fuzzy.
  • ShrinkIt

    ShrinkIt

    Use Preview’s “Save As” command then in the bottom center you will see a box called “Format”.  Select “JPEG”, a NEW file name, then “Save”. Don’t overwrite your original file as you may not want to use the new version. Works well for most docs with a sometimes dramatic reduction in file size, although the final resolution is not quite as high. Great for email, but don’t use this if your final objective is a hard copy quality color print. The downside is that a JPEG document is not quite as universal as a PDF when sending by email.

  • Last and simplest, is to use the neat app called “ShrinkIt“. ShrinkIt is a simple, small  tool for Mac OS X Snow Leopard that will automate the process of stripping needless metadata (for example added by Adobe Illustrator) from PDFs by re-saving them using Apple’s PDF processor. For many files it will not create a dramatic file-size reduction, but in general there is no loss of quality.  Put it in your dock and just drag a PDF to it to reduce its size – very easy.

Questions? Leave a comment or email Mr Mac!

 

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