Lightweight PDF: Reduce the file size of PDFs

Shrink PDF with Lightweight PDF

Today there is another tip like "tested for years and found to be good!". The Mac app that I would like to recommend to you is called Lightweight PDF and is available for free in the Mac App Store. Don't worry: In this case, free actually means permanently free and also free of advertising. You don't even have the opportunity to donate anything. Although I would really like to do that, since the app has often successfully calculated PDF files smaller for me.

But well, the developers seem to earn their money with software that can be used to do surveys and the Lightweight PDF tool seems to run invisibly alongside, since it doesn't even run on your website is called.

With the free Mac tool Lightweight PDF, PDF files can be reduced locally.

With the free Mac tool Lightweight PDF, PDF files can be reduced locally.

Minimalistic user interface

When you start the app, only a small window opens into which you can drag and drop your PDF file (s). The software then immediately starts converting and within a fraction of a second (my files were always max. 30 MB in size) a message appears that not only informs you that the work is finished, but also shows how many percent smaller the PDF has become is.

Drag and drop the PDF files into the program, which starts working immediately after releasing the mouse button.

Drag and drop the PDF files into the program, which starts working immediately after releasing the mouse button.

How many MB can I save?

In my experience, the values ​​for savings are between 30 and 70 percent. In exceptional cases it went up to 80 to 90 percent, but the tool mainly achieves this if you have embedded image data that is much too large in the PDF.

Storage space savings in the region of 60% are not uncommon with the Mac tool. So far, however, I have not been able to discover any loss of quality in the PDFs.

Storage space savings in the region of 60% are not uncommon with the Mac tool. So far, however, I have not been able to discover any loss of quality in the PDFs.

Criticism of Lightweight PDF

If you read the description of the app in the store, you will find three 5-star ratings and two 1-star ratings. I am always particularly interested in them, because this is where the points of criticism people have with the tool often appear.

In one case there was a bad rating because Lightweight PDF apparently did not save any space. The only way I can explain this is that the files were not edited, because over the years I haven't had a single file that hasn't gotten smaller.

The second point of criticism is that the software replaces the original file with the reduced version - without warning. This is useful in most cases, as it means you don't have more files than before, but it can of course be bad if you don't want to change the original. In that case I always make a duplicate with CMD + D before I throw the PDF into the tool. You just have to know.

A small note from me: Sometimes - when you drag a lot of files or a large file with several hundred megabytes - onto Lightweight PDF, the software sometimes crashes.

The last update of the software was only a month ago, so you can assume that the developers will take care of the tool.

Conclusion: offline, free and effective

I can only call the app an insider tip. It's small, free, and very effective at shrinking PDF files. I recently had a folder with scans (from my ScanSnap iX500) for mortgage lending. Since the documents should all be uploaded to the bank online, I dragged the entire folder onto Lightweight PDF and within seconds, over 100 PDFs were reduced.

One more important note: the software does not send any data through the Internet, but calculates everything locally. This is extremely important to me personally, as the PDFs usually contain very private correspondence.

If you are interested in the software, you will find it here in the App Store or via this box:

[appbox app store id1450640351]

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5 comments

  1. Walter Hoevel says:

    Is there an app for iPhone and / or iPad with which you can reduce the size of clamped documents that have been saved as pdf in iCloud via the file program. Multi-page receipts that I scan with the SE's 12MP camera are quickly 30-40MB in size. I only failed yesterday when sending to DHL at their max. 12MB and had to send screenshots of the mail.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Walter! I took a look. For iOS (iPad and iPhone) there is the app "PDFOptim". It's not free, but it should shrink your PDF for your purposes and is really effective at it according to the reviewers. Would be great if you could give a quick feedback on whether it worked.

      • Hey, bought the app and tried it out. Great, the PDF reduced from 27MB to 3MB.
        Great, I've missed something like that so far. Thanks again.
        Walter

        • sir appleot says:

          With pleasure! Another reader has had different experiences. He wrote me that none of his PDFs had been scaled down. I will add another app as an alternative shortly.

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