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1 Minute to Compress PDF Files on Mac

By Carrie Murray, Monday, June 10, 2019

You may need to reduce PDF size on Mac for emailing or just for saving storage space. Compressing the PDF file is one way to go. When it comes to PDF compression, we want to make a PDF smaller without quality loss.

However, it is nearly impossible to compress a PDF file without losing quality. All PDF optimization methods have to sacrifice quality for smaller file size to some degree. The best we can do is to find a PDF compressor for Mac that can reduce PDF file size while retaining its good quality as much as possible.

Here are 2 PDF compressors to compress PDF files on Mac. One is using the Reduce File Size feature in the Preview app on Mac; the other is using an efficient online PDF compressor.

Compress PDF in Preview

You can view PDF files and images via the Preview app on Mac. The app also enables you to export a PDF file to smaller file size. Other than compressing PDF files, Preview lets you add text, note, signature and highlight text in a PDF file.

Step 1: Open A PDF File in Preview

There are 2 ways to open PDF files in Preview on your Mac.

  • Right-click a PDF file and choose Open to open the file in Preview.

  • Or launch Preview, go to File > Open to open a PDF file.

Open File in Preview

Step 2: Compress PDF in Preview 

Click File > Export. In the Quartz Filter menu, choose Reduce File Size. 

Choose Reduce PDF File Size

Click Save. The PDF file will be compressed and saved in the selected location.

Compress PDF in Preview

Tips on compressing PDF with Preview

You could run into some bumps when compressing PDF with Preview.

  1. When you try to compress a large PDF file on Mac, for example, a file with 50 pages or even more, Preview may crash and become unresponsive. Try other PDF compressors when you need to compress PDF in large file size.

  2. You may surprisingly find that the PDF file gets even bigger after reducing file size with Preview. The reasons may be that you have edit the PDF in Preview or have compressed the PDF before opening it with Preview.

If you can't compress PDF via Preview, you may switch to an online PDF compressor.

Compress PDF on Mac Online for Free

FonePaw Free PDF Compressor can compress PDF by 10% to 85% on Mac with good quality. Since it is an online tool, you don't have to download extra software. The compressor is totally free to use. There is no watermark and no limits on the file size/number you can upload.

Step 1: Go to Online PDF Compressor on Mac

Open a browser(Safari, Google Chrome or others) on your Mac. Go to FonePaw PDF Compressor.

PDF Compressor on Mac

Step 2: Compress PDF Files

Drag the PDF files you want to compress to the compressor. Or you can click Add PDF File to add a file. The PDF files will be compressed automatically once they are uploaded.

Compress PDF on Mac

Step 3: Download Compressed PDF to Mac

Once the PDFs are compressed, click the Download button to get the compressed version back to your Mac on your desired folder.

Download Compressed PDF on Mac

The file size of the PDF files is reduced with good quality.


These are 2 most effective ways to compress PDF files on Mac. It is handy to view a PDF file in Preview and compress it if necessary. However, compressing PDF in Preview could be frustrating if the app crashes and doesn't respond. If you have trouble in using Preview, you may turn on FonePaw Free PDF Compressor, which won't install any application on your Mac and compress PDF files effectively with good quality.

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