How To Reduce PDF file size using ColorSync in OSX Lion

Here is a quick guide to reduce the file size of a PDF using the built-in (FREE) Preview and ColorSync App’s that come with OSX.

This will work with older versions of OSX (10.3-10.6) as well. In fact it works better there as you don’t need to manually copy the Filter to the core library for it to work (i.e. Part 2) !

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Part 1 

1) Open the Color Sync utility. You can find it in the utilities sub-folder in the  main Applications Folder
2) Click on the “Filters” tab at the top.
3) Now right-click the small triangle (white in grey circle) on the right of the “Reduce File Size”  and select “Duplicate”
4) A “Reduce File Size Copy” should now appear. Expand the sub menus for this profile and increase the image sampling Scale  and image compression, to a higher value.
NB: I suggest making a few duplicates with different increased levels so that you can pick the best settings for your particular needs, and  don’t forget to give these useful names to help easily distinguish them !

Part 2 (OSX Lion 10.7 ONLY)
5) Locate your User Library Folder (Hidden by default in Lion, here is a guide to un hide it), which you can find here “Your Hard drive”>Users>”Your User Name”>Library>Filters
6) Then locate the Filters Folder and copy (cmd+c) the “Reduce file size copy” or what ever name you gave your filter to the root Library>PDF Services folder (cmd+v)

Final Step 

7) Now open up your PDF of interest (or any file for that matter) with Preview. Select “Export” from the file menu
8) Select “PDF as the Format, and then you can select your Modified Filter from the drop down Quartz  Filter menu
9) Choose a new name and place if you like for you new optimized PDF and hit  SAVE.
10) Open your new PDF and check that your happy with the results, and the file size. If not play with the setting and repeat the above steps until you get it right !

Enjoy 🙂

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About Andrew Burgess

Head of the Cell Division Lab and Manager of the Microscope and Flow Facility at the ANZAC Research Institute.

7 responses to “How To Reduce PDF file size using ColorSync in OSX Lion”

  1. Brett says :

    I have located my library, but do not see a filters folder.Any suggestions?

  2. Joseph Laudati says :

    I am in my personal User folder. No filters folder.

  3. Big Sur Poet says :

    Duplicate is not an option in there.

  4. Big Sur Poet says :

    Actually, I found Duplicate but “Reduce File Size Copy” does not appear.

  5. Mattoo says :

    A bit more simple you can do the compression on – check it out.

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