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Apple Mac OS X tips and tweaks

Date: 23rd November 2011     

Compress PDF documents to make them easier to email and share

The PDF file format is a very useful invention by Adobe and it enables you to store documents on your computer that are identical to the printed version. It's basically an electronic document format. Any document can be saved as a PDF file by choosing this option on the Print menu and it is a great way to share documents with others on the web and via email.

The only drawback is that PDF files can sometimes be quite big and you don't want to be emailing people with multi-megabyte file attachments. PDF documents can be viewed in the web browser when they are posted online too, but again it is irritating for the reader if they are huge multi-megabyte files.

You should shrink your PDFs by compressing them. Not by archiving them in a zip, but compressing the contents within the PDF while still retaining the file format and the ability to view it. It is easy using Preview on the Mac.

Double click a PDF document on the disk or start Preview from the Dock at the bottom of the screen and then use File, Open to find and open a PDF file.

If you are using Leopard or Snow Leopard you could simply choose File, Save As, but this option is not available in OS X Lion. Save a Version can't be used because it simply adds a new copy of the PDF document to the file, making it actually grow bigger! If you are using Preview in Lion, click File, Export.

In the Save or Export dialog, click the Quartz Filter pop-up menu and select Reduce File Size. Enter a filename at the top and click Save.

If you compare the size of the original file and new version you just saved, you should find that the new one is smaller. Sometimes it is as much as 50% smaller and that is a useful saving when you are emailing PDFs or sharing them online.


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