How to compress PDF for free on your Mac

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30 Responses

  1. zee says:

    OMG! You made my life so much easier.. This is awesome!

  2. Ken Ng says:

    Glad I was able to help. ?

  3. Trevor says:

    This was great and just what we needed! Preview is an amazing tool especially considering that it’s included with the OS, but it’s the little gems like ColorSync that are part of OS X that, years after moving to the Mac, that continue to delight. Thanks for an easy to follow and concise walk-thru on setting this up.

  4. Ken Ng says:

    Glad to have helped!

  5. CjP says:

    It worked like a charm! Thank you so much!

  6. Ganes Kesari B says:

    Thanks, this worked!

    Just realised that one should move it to “System/Library/PDF Services”, instead of the User Library folder (“User/Library/PDF Services”).

  7. Lauren Jane Heller says:

    For some reason I’m getting a message that says Library/PDF Services can’t be found. Suggestions?

  8. Ken Ng says:

    Hmm. I find that weird. Try going to /Library first. And if it doesn’t exist, then just create a new “PDF Services” folder.

  9. Neeraj says:

    thanks .. it worked for me.. also learnt something new today. Glad that I came here…

  10. Ken Ng says:

    I’m glad this helped. Please help me share it out too. ?

  11. imagistul says:

    Hi! I don’t get the filter as an option when I export the file from the Preview. It didn’t require the pass when I moved the filters. Any idea? Thanks.

  12. A.R says:

    Same problem as “imagistul” any idea why?

  13. Ken Ng says:

    I suspect then that you many not be moving the file to /Library/PDF Services but /Users//Library/PDF Services which your user has permissions to by default.

    Can you recheck again where you’re moving your files to? Also, which version of OS X are you using?

  14. bogdan says:

    Hi Ken,

    I had the same problem as iamgistul and then followed your steps above and worked like a charm.

    Thank you for this. Before, I used the “compress PDF” in the filter sections, but that’s just rubbish, poor image quality.

  15. Ken Ng says:

    Glad it’s working for you. Please help me spread this tip out to anyone you know who’s using a Mac.

  16. Todd says:

    Ha! It didn’t work for me. The file went from 1.2 MB to 6.4 MB!!!!!

  17. Ken Ng says:

    Yes. I too have noticed this happening in some cases. Will find out more

  18. Florencia says:

    Thank you! It really helped me

  19. SH says:

    Thanks! Super easy-to-follow instructions that actually worked. Much appreciated!

  20. Ken Ng says:

    Happy to help. Please help to share the tip too!

  21. Jennifer says:

    Great instructions but it took my file from 6.2MB to 19.1MB!! Any advice??

  22. Jennifer says:

    Really easy to follow directions (thanks) but it seems I am getting the opposite results as well – my file went from 6.2MB to 19.1MB – Yikes!!
    Any suggestions?

  23. Ken Ng says:

    This happens when the original file is actually on a lower resolution than the filter settings. Let me try some other optimization options and see how else we can lower the file size

  24. Ronald says:

    Thanks! Worked like a charm. I love these type of solutions…built-in, free and powerfull

  25. Ken Ng says:

    Thanks for the kind words. Help me spread this page around! 🙂

  26. Greg says:

    Filter to reduce pdf size works great but I’m unable to rename the filter in colorsync … just keeps reverting to “untitled” as filter name
    If i go to the folder where the filter is saved and rename it there it still retains the “untitled” name when i access it in the print menu.
    Filter still works but name is still “untitled” … any suggestions

  27. Craig says:

    Hi, I have followed your instructions and created a new filter but when I look into the filter folder it does not appear there. I made a second one just to be sure but neither of my new filters as in the filters folder….therefore cannot move them to the pdf services folder as instructed…any ideas?

  28. Ken Ng says:

    I just redid it on my MacBook and its there in my ~/Library/Filters folder. Did you try to create another filter and see if it appears in the Filters folder?

  29. Paul says:

    Hi! What do you think of using online utilities for free PDF compression? Asking as I just helped build one over at would love to know if you think it’s a valuable tool for mac users to tackle large PDF files 🙂

  30. Ken Ng says:

    Sounds pretty cool. The only thing is it’s a cloud solution, meaning, the files will be stored remotely. So it’s up to the users to be ok with that or not 😄

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