- For Mac users, you can compress PDFs with Preview, a preinstalled tool on every Mac.
- Adobe has a web tool called Adobe Compress PDF when you visit their site.
- Adobe provides excellent PDF software called Adobe Acrobat if you work with PDF’s regularly.
Sometimes, you’ll want to send multiple PDF files via email but find the files exceed the attachment size limit. A common workaround is to compress the PDF files. Compression allows you to get the same PDF quality for less file size. Let’s look at 3 ways to compress a PDF file manually, without sacrificing quality.
Using Preview on Mac
For all those Mac users out there, you are lucky. You can compress PDFs with Preview, which comes preinstalled on every Mac.
Step 1: Open Preview
Most of the time, Preview will live on your dock, looking like two overlapping photos with a magnifying glass. To open it, you will double-click on the icon.
Step 2: Open a PDF in Preview
There are two ways of doing this. Either you can navigate to the PDF you are trying to compress in Finder and double-click it. Unless you have another PDF program on your computer, it should open in Preview.
The other option is to open Preview as we did in step 1, go to the top left corner, and click on File. Then, open in the drop-down menu, select a file, and click open now in the bottom right of the Finder window.
Step 3: Export
Now that the PDF is open, you will go back to the File drop-down menu and select Export. This will bring up a box where you can change the file name. We recommend changing the file name so that you can make sure the export works. You can call it something like PDF_small or whatever works best for you.
First, ensure the format options say PDF; sometimes, it might be preset to JPG or PNG. Then where it says Quartz Filter, select Reduce File Size from the drop-down menu.
Then click save. Congratulations, you just reduced the size of the PDF!
Using An Online Compressor
Don’t worry if you are not using a Mac and don’t want to download any software, don’t worry. There is a perfect option for you. Adobe has a web tool called Compress PDF. Who’s better to use than the company that invented PDFs in the first place? We recommend bookmarking this site if you are compressing PDFs often.
Step 1: Open the Website
Open up your browser, and then google Adobe Compress PDF. Or click on the link below if you want a quick shortcut. Again, we recommend bookmarking this website to make it easier.
Step 2: Select A File
In the center of the website, you will see a blue button that says, “Select a file.” This will open up the file explorer on your computer. When you find the PDF you are looking to compress, select open in the file explorer window. This will start the upload process. Depending on your file size, it can take a couple of seconds or a few minutes.
Step 3: Compress
When your PDF is done uploading, you will see 3 options to compress your PDF. High, medium, and low, and these work inversely to the way you might think. High is the most compression with standard image quality. Medium is slightly less compression than high and has better image quality. Finally, low is the largest size with the best image quality of the three.
It is worth noting even though the high setting gives the lowest image quality of the three, the PDF will still look good.
Once you have selected a quality setting, you can click on the blue compress button. After a few moments, it will bring you to a new page where you can download your compressed PDF file.
Using Adobe Acrobat
Arguably the industry’s best PDF software, Adobe Acrobat is worth paying for if you work a lot with PDFs. Here’s how to reduce file size with Adobe.
Step 1: Open the Optimize PDF Tool
When you get Adobe Acrobat open, the first thing you are going to look for is the Tools center. Click the Tools tab at the top left, scroll down until you see the Optimize PDF tool, then select Open from the drop-down menu.
Step 2: Select a file
Click on the Open box to open a file explorer or finder window. Find the PDF file you are looking and then select the open option in the bottom right-hand corner of the file explorer or finder window.
Step 3: Select reduce file size
You will see a top toolbar menu when the file is opened in Acrobat. In that menu, you will see an option that says “Reduce File Size.” The icon looks like a folded piece of paper with arrows pointing in at each corner.
Step 4: Set compatibility and click OK
Select file version compatibility from the drop-down In the Reduce File Size dialog box that opens. Most of the time, you can use the setting “Retain Existing” for the best results.
Step 5: Rename and save your file
In the Save As dialog box, retain the same file name to overwrite the original PDF with the optimized one, or add a new name or location for your file. Then click Save.
Hopefully, one of these ways has saved the day and removed that headache. Keep in mind with PDFs; it’s not the size that matters, but how easy it is to send over email.
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