Written by : Muhamood Yasin

Aug. 22, 2020

How to Compress PDFs on Mac OS Without Losing Quality?

PDF is a Portable Document Format, and it actually implies the name. A PDF document is a great way of sharing documents, pictures, and graphics, and today it is the most preferred way of sharing documents officially and unofficially.


Every OS is compatible with opening a pdf file and storing it. The best part of PDF documents is that it stores the prints and graphics as they are without any distortions. Moreover, the text in the pdf is converted into objects for better reading and zooming quality.


PDFs are documents that are considered largely by offices. They are best in sending resumes for the same reason that a PDF resume will never get distorted. Plus, it is not easy to edit a received PDF. And even if it is edited, the receiver comes to know that the original document has been played around with just by looking at the content format. Hence, PDFs are super easy documents to be handled.


Why does a PDF need to be compressed?


As discussed earlier, a PDF file does not compress images and it converts text into objects. So, when you convert a particular document to a PDF it gets heavier than the original document. Although that happens because of the quality it provides, however as a repercussion it becomes a too large file to handle. And you know what large files do when they have to be downloaded or edited. They kind of slow your entire system down.


So here comes the point wherein you need to compress the created PDF so that it prioritizes the contents and compresses them accordingly. This way you do not lose quality and at the same time the file becomes of considerably smaller size.


No doubt in some cases compressing may result in a few changes in the format, but it still won’t make the document completely useless or unreadable. It may just reduce the resolution of the image and the text to a limited size. However, the best part is you can control this compression and make the document completely suitable for your use.


So, how to compress PDFs on Mac?


MAC OS completely supports the compressing of a PDF file to a particular size. If you have been sent a file that is particularly large or you have created one, you will need to compress it. Too large files do not allow any system to work properly. So, it is always a good idea to compress files before sending or sharing them. Originally large files should be only shared when there is an utmost necessity.


We are going to share with you two steps for compressing a PDF file. These two steps are just for quality checks. If you think the default compressor distorts the quality you can opt for the second method. But the first method generally works the best in the Mac OS.


Steps for compression (Method 1)


1.Download or open the PDF file in the PDF preview mode.

2. Once the document is completely loaded, click on the file options in the navbar.

3. It will give an export option. Click on that

compressing pdf files on mac


4. Once a dialogue box opens, at the bottom you will see a drop-down list under quartz filters.


5. In this dropdown, you will see an option of reduce file size. Select that.


6. Then click Save.


This option will convert your PDF to the smallest possible size. The compression may not be of the best possible quality but you can give a glimpse and see if the document is satisfactory. If you think the document has lost its quality and it can be made better, there is another option of compressing it.


Steps for Compression (Method 2)


This is a bit of a complex method but it has more features and you can control the level of compression. In short, you have the power to control what considerable size the PDF should be. You can also compress the contents individually, thus prioritizing according to importance.


These are technical steps and you will require user authentication to get these changes done. Basically, you will need to make changes in the quartz filter to compress your PDF files and then put them back to your system. Following this, the quartz filter will reduce the size and maintain quality according to the way you desire.


1. Navigate and reach to System/Library/Filters or System/Library/PDF Services.


2. In these options search for ‘Reduce File Size’ with ‘qfilter’ as an extension. And click on it.


3. Copy and paste this file on your desktop.


4. Right-click and open the file with text edit option.


5. There will a compression quality field which will be set default to 0. The range of this is 1 which is the least compressed and -1 which is the most compressed. You can set your number like 0.5 or 0.75 according to the quality you require,


6. Then you will see an imagesizemax option set to 512 by default. You can set the compression of the images according to you. For example, 1684 is a medium quality compression.



7. Then there will be a name field. You can set the name of the compression settings according to you. This will be the name that will come down in the drop-down menu of the quartz filter.



8. Copy-paste the file back to System/Library/Filters


Now even if you follow the steps of the method 1 to compress your file, the ‘quartz filter’ will still give you the suggestion of the above compression edition that you have saved. You can select it and the PDF will be saved completely according to your settings.


So, in brief, you can easily play around with the numbers by copy-pasting the filters, and rename it as many times as you want until you get the perfect compression. Also, you do not have to download any particular software for compressing a PDF file on the Mac OS. Thanks to the all-round operating system, it has everything inbuilt.




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