How to compress a PDF file on Mac

Would you like to reduce the size of a PDF file before emailing it or publishing it on your website, but you don’t want to install on your Mac, just for that, expensive professional solutions? Don’t worry, you don’t have to, or rather you don’t have to. Depending on what your preferences and needs are, you can in fact compress a PDF file with Mac both by using the “standard” tools available on your computer and by turning to third-party solutions, so to speak, but in any case at no cost or at least very cheap and able to give you excellent results. In all cases, however, do not worry, it is a very simple operation to carry out.

Contrary to appearances and beyond what you might think, I assure you that compressing a PDF file on macOS is a real breeze, whether you are more or less expert in computer science and new technologies it doesn’t make much difference. By carefully following my tips and my indications, concentrating for a few minutes on reading what is reported below and keeping calm you should be able without particular problems to “lighten” your files in no time.

Then? What are you still doing standing there? Take a few moments just for yourself, position yourself comfortably and immediately start putting my suggestions into practice. I am sure that in the end you will be able to tell you more than satisfied with what you have learned and that even in case of need you will be ready and happy to advise your friends who are eager and in need of similar information. What do you say, we bet?


  • Programs to compress a PDF file with Mac
    • Preview
    • ShrinkIt
    • Lightweight PDF
    • Other programs to compress a PDF file on Mac
  • Online services to compress a PDF file with Mac
    • PDF Candy
    • iLovePDF
    • Other online services to compress a PDF file on Mac

Programs to compress a PDF file with Mac

Would you like to understand which are the best programs to compress a PDF file with Mac that you have on your own? Then read on. You can find them reported right below. They are very easy for anyone to use. Identify what you think can do the most for you and put it to the test immediately.


As I said at the beginning, to compress a PDF file with Mac you are absolutely not obliged to turn to expensive solutions that promise “miraculous” results. Everything you need is already on your Apple-branded computer: Preview . This is the default macOS application with which photos and PDFs are displayed, in fact. Perhaps not everyone knows this, but it can also be used to minimize the weight of the documents that are given “at meal”.

To use Preview to perform the operation described in this guide, you must first open the document to be “lightened” by double clicking on its icon . If proceeding in this way does not open Preview, it is because it is no longer the default program on Mac for PDFs, to fix it you can follow the instructions contained in my specific guide on what to do .

Once the PDF document is displayed in Preview, click on the File menu located at the top left and choose the Export item from the latter. In the new window that opens, select the PDF item from the Format drop-down menu , set the Reduce file size option in the Quartz filter drop-down menu  and choose the folder in which to save the document in compressed version. Finally, click on the Save button and that’s it.

To check how much the weight of the PDF has decreased compared to the original document, check the properties of the two files by selecting them with the mouse and pressing the combination of keys cmd + i on your Mac keyboard. The weight is the one indicated in the Dimensions field . Of course, do not expect miracles: compression is felt above all in documents rich in images, a PDF of a few pages consisting of text only will not be reduced by who knows how much.


In the event that the predefined functions of macOS did not satisfy you, you can consider compressing a PDF file with Mac by contacting an ad hoc application, but don’t worry, it is not an “abstruse” tool: I’m talking about  ShrinkIt , a free and specific application for compressing PDF files, in fact, which turns out to be very easy to use … to the point that explaining how it works is almost superfluous!

Anyway, to download ShrinkIt all you have to do is connect to the application’s website and click on the Download ShrinkIt button  .

When the download is complete, extract the ZIP archive obtained in a position of your choice, then drag the software icon to the Applications folder of your Mac, right-click on it, select the Open item from the context menu that appears and press the Open button in the window displayed on the desktop, in order to start the program, however, going around the restrictions applied by Apple to non-certified developers (operations that must be carried out only at the first start).

When you see the ShrinkIt screen appear, drag the PDF on which you intend to go to act on it and wait a few seconds for the program to process the document.

ShrinkIt will then replace the original file with its compressed version and will create a safety copy (in a non-optimized version) in the same folder as the source file. Easier than that?

Lightweight PDF

Another third-party tool that I recommend you consider if you want to compress a PDF file with Mac is Lightweight PDF . This is a free application that allows you to reduce the size of the PDFs that are given “at meal” up to 90% less than their original weight, without affecting the quality of the final document and, even in in this case, acting through a simple drag and drop.

To download Lightweight PDF on your Mac, visit the relevant section of the Mac App Store , press the Get and Install buttons and if necessary authorize the installation by typing your Apple ID password or via Touch ID.

Next, launch Lightweight PDF by selecting its icon that has been added to the Launchpad. Now that you see the application screen on your desktop, drag the PDF file you want to act on it and wait for the compression process to start and finish.

At the end of the procedure, a new compressed PDF will be generated which will replace the original one and you will be shown how much the document could be compressed. Et voila !

Other programs to compress a PDF file on Mac

The resources to compress a PDF file with Mac that I have already reported to you have not particularly convinced you and, therefore, would you like me to report other programs through which you can perform the aforementioned operation? No sooner said than done! Find them listed below.

  • PDFElement– is a software that allows you to perform various editing operations on PDF documents and which also integrates a special function through which to reduce their size. It also allows you to create new PDFs from scratch. It is paid (it has prices from 55 euros + VAT), but it can be downloaded in a 100% working demo version with the only drawback that a watermark is applied to the documents.
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro DC– as can be deduced from the name itself, it is a software developed by Adobe, the well-known software house that invented the PDF format, which allows you to open, view and edit in various ways the documents belonging to the type in question , even by compressing them. It is paid (with prices starting from 18.29 euros / month), but you can try it for free for 7 days.
  • PDF Toolkit +– it is a small (but very powerful!) Specific tool for macOS that allows you to merge, split and compress PDFs in a very simple and fast way. It costs € 1.99.

Online services to compress a PDF file with Mac

You do not want or can not download new programs and, consequently, would you like me to indicate online services through which you can compress a PDF file with Mac directly from the browser window? I’ll settle you immediately! You will find listed below the ones that in my opinion are the best in the category. Put them to the test immediately.

PDF Candy

The first among the web services to be able to compress a PDF file with Mac that I want to suggest you to consider is PDF Candy . It is an online tool that allows you to intervene on PDFs in various ways, therefore not only by compressing them, but also by converting them, dividing them, lightening them, unlocking them, etc. However, it does not allow you to upload files with a weight greater than 500 MB. To circumvent this limitation and unlock other additional functions, it is necessary to subscribe to a paid subscription (at the basic cost of 6 euros / month). It should also be noted that the privacy of users is protected, as the documents uploaded to its servers are automatically deleted within a few hours of uploading.

To use it, go to the relevant web page , click on the Add file button and select the PDF you want to act on. Alternatively, drag the file directly into the browser window. You can also download the PDF from your Google Drive or Dropbox account by clicking on the appropriate icons.

Once the upload process is complete, select the degree of compression you prefer from one of the options in the appropriate drop-down menu located at the bottom center. Then, click on the Compress button located at the bottom right and wait for the procedure to be completed.

In the new web page that will be shown to you, you will find indicated how much the PDF could be compressed and you can download the output document by clicking on the Download file button . You can also decide to save the compressed PDF obtained on Google Drive or Dropbox , by selecting the icon of the cloud storage service you are interested in.


iLovePDF is another online tool to which you can decide to appeal to perform the compression of your PDF on Mac. It is free and very easy to use and provides its users with numerous tools through which to make changes of various kinds to PDFs, including the possibility to compress them. Its upload limit is 200MB, but it only allows you to upload one file at a time. To get around these limitations and to unlock other extra functions, you can subscribe to one of the paid plans (with costs starting from 6 euros / month). As far as privacy is concerned, the documents uploaded to the service’s servers are automatically removed a few hours after the upload.

To use iLovePDF, connected to the home page of the service and click on the Select PDF file button to select the PDF you want to act on or drag the file directly into the browser window. Eventually you can select the document to “lighten” also from your Dropbox or Google Drive account , simply by clicking on the relative buttons.

Then wait for the file upload procedure to start and complete and indicate the level of compression to be applied to it, by pressing the Maximum compression , Recommended compression or Less compression buttons on the right. Next, click on the Compress PDF button .

Then wait for the PDF to be processed and automatically downloaded to your computer. If the file download does not start automatically, proceed manually by clicking on the Download optimized PDF button . Alternatively, click on the Dropbox or Google Drive button to save the compressed file directly to your account of the cloud storage service you generally use.

Other online services to compress a PDF file on Mac

If you are looking for other online services through which you can compress a PDF file on Mac, take a look at the ones I have included in the list below. I am sure that eventually you will be able to find something that will satisfy you.

  • Online2PDF– totally free service that allows you to edit PDF files by decreasing their weight, merging them, rotating them etc. The limits set for the upload are sufficiently wide: you can upload up to 20 documents at a time for a total weight of 150 MB (but each uploaded file cannot exceed 100 MB). Furthermore, users’ privacy is protected, as files are removed within 24 hours of uploading.
  • PDF2Go– is an additional web service to compress PDF documents and perform various other conversion and transformation operations to and from the aforementioned format. It is very simple to use and allows you to upload files with a maximum size of 50MB. To get around this limit and unlock other functions, you need to create an account and / or subscribe to the paid plan (at a cost of € 5.50 / month). User privacy is protected, as files are removed from the company’s servers within hours of being uploaded.
  • PDF Compressor– completely free online service for compressing PDFs without affecting the resolution of the files, very easy to use and which protects the privacy of users by eliminating the documents that are uploaded to its servers 1 hour after upload. It does not set limits to tighten you in terms of maximum weight of the documents on which to act and you can upload a maximum of 20 files at a time.
by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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