How to compress PDF files on your Mac

PDF is an amazing format for books, documents, presentations and educational materials. They are easy to view and are compatible with many devices and operating systems. They’re also easy to navigate and are great for taking notes on your iPad. But mostly we use them just because they are so popular.

The format also has a few drawbacks – it’s not that easy to edit, but what’s even more frustrating, PDF files can quickly become heavy, and you’ll end up overwhelmed by heavy PDFs that take up disk space and need to be loaded forever when you open. or perform a search.

How then to reduce the size of the PDF? Let’s look through the options.

The best way to compress PDFs on a Mac

One of the best ways to compress a PDF is to use a dedicated application.

PDF Squeezer is an application designed to reduce the size of your PDF file without sweating. Just drag and drop your file into the app and download the compressed file almost instantly! (It may take a little longer if your files are very large.)

The application allows you to choose how much compression you want to apply – light, medium or strong. You can also adjust the image quality within a compressed PDF or even remove all images for an easier end result. Moreover, PDF Squeezer can compress PDFs in batches! This is another reason why the app is our best choice for the job.

Additionally, you can use the PDF editing application to reduce the size of the PDF.

PDFpen is a note-taking tool in PDF, which is ideal for learning or collaborating, but also has a feature to reduce the size of your PDF.


To reduce the size of the PDF using the application, open the application file, go to File > Create an optimized PDF… and adjust the color settings of your PDF. Be sure Optimize images only if it saves space has been verified. You can also delete pages in your PDF using PDFpen as an additional solution to reduce the size of your final file.

Reduce the size of the PDF file on a Mac by using the preview

If you don’t want to use a third-party solution to reduce the size of your PDF, you can use the built-in Preview app for Mac to compress your PDF.

This tool does not offer you much flexibility, but it is easy to use and does not require installation or internet.

Open your PDF in preview by double-clicking on the file – it should open in preview by default. If not, double-click the PDF icon and select Open with …> Preview.

Then click File > Export… Find it quartz filter: line in the pop-up window and select Reduce the file size from the drop-down options:

Click Save and confirm that you agree that your existing file will be replaced with a resized version.


How to reduce the size of a PDF file using Adobe

PDF is a file format originally developed by Adobe, so, not surprisingly, you can reduce the size of your PDF in Adobe Acrobat. This is a great tool that can be of great help to you in working with PDFs. This requires a paid subscription, and the software can take up a lot of disk space.

Here’s how to optimize your PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro:

  1. Open your file in the program.
  2. Click File > Compress PDF (may also appear in your menu as Reduce the file size).
  3. Select a location for the compressed file.
  4. Click Save.

That’s it, you’re done. Pay attention to the message in your application that confirms successful compression.

You can also reduce the size of several PDFs in Adobe. To do this, click Tools > Optimize PDF, find Reduce the file size menu option and open its drop down menu, click Shrink multiple files. Add the files you want to compress and click through the verification process.

Reduce online PDFs

You can also compress your PDF files online, without the need to use any application.

One tool is Adobe’s official online compression, available at

Adobe Compress pdf online

Another tool is SmallPDF, available at It offers basic compression of your PDF for free and more advanced compression with a professional account.

smallpdf compress pdf online

The disadvantage of using any online PDF compression service is that you need an internet connection to perform the action and upload your files to a remote server. If you want to be especially careful with your information, it’s always best to use a tool that compresses your file locally on your computer, as opposed to a network compressor.

Tips for reducing PDF files

If you are editing or creating a document that you plan to save as a PDF, it is best to think in advance about what factors can contribute to making your file too bulky.

Here are our tips to make sure your PDFs are as small as possible and don’t take up unnecessarily much disk space:

  • Avoid inserting large visuals. Images usually take up the most space in your PDFs, which means that using simpler illustrations and fewer photos can help reduce the size of the PDF.
  • Remove unwanted pages. Who hasn’t seen a 30-page PDF with 10 pages of small print that no one needs? Review your file and remove things that are not relevant to your file usage. Use PDF Search to find relevant sections:

PDF search

  • Share your files. Instead of dealing with a 100-page document that everyone on your team is cluttered with, divide it into parts and send people only the parts they really need.
  • Export to other formats first. In our experience, starting with, say, a Word document and then converting it to a PDF, and only then switching to compression tools can prove to be the least end result.


As you can see, your PDF compression options are easily available. You can do this using the built-in Mac preview app, great third-party solutions like PDF Squeezer, or online tools.

One of the most popular reasons to reduce the size of a PDF is to send it as an email attachment because most providers usually limit the size of the maximum possible email attachment. Never encounter this problem and fight for a solution. Get PDF Squeezer on the Setapp productivity suite and look for other tools for better workflow and more productive work on your Mac. Discover the PDFpen tool or PDF search application called PDF Search, all on Setapp.

Get Setapp to use these and dozens of other tools to help you deal with everyday tasks efficiently, save time, and optimize or automate processes you never knew had a simpler solution!

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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