Control PDF Export Quality using Preview


I had a PDF of a pictures which was too large to submit to a server, so I tried to export it from Preview on the Mac to shrink it down. I knew that if you go to

File -> Export…

instead of 

File -> Export as PDF…

you can add the Quartz filter “Reduce File Size” which will compress the PDF. The good news was it did an excellent job reducing the file size. From 12MB to 44 kB, wow! Cant say it doesnt deliver what if offers. The bad news was, the pictures in the document were so compressed as to be unusuable. And there's no way to control the quality of the export.

After some looking around, I came across this. (It should bring you to the comment I’m interested in, but it might not. Skip the article, it’s a comment by a user named “dow.” He pointed out a Github repository with additional Quartz Filters, created by Josh Carr, that gives you much more control over the quality of PDF exports. Just download a .zip of the repository, and copy the .qfilter files from the .zip file to /Library/PDF Services. I suggest reading the contents of the file though first. And that’s it.

Next time you try to export a PDF (again, from the “Export…” window, not the “Export as PDF…” window) you’ll get a list of options as shown above. The selection I made took my 12 MB PDF and shrunk it to 1.5 MB. The pictures were compressed, but far more useful. What a great find!