01/11/12 14:05:00

Make PDF files smaller. No extra tools required.

NOTICE: The Quartz Filter Action used in this workflow crashes Automator, and Workflowrunner, in OS X Lion (10.7.3). A bug report has been sent to Apple. If you’re on a later version of the OS, this might be fixed. If you’re on OS X 10.7.3 use with caution!

NOTICE 2: The issue has been fixed in OS X 10.7.4.

Many OS X users don’t think they have a use for Automator, because they don’t know exactly what to do with it. They aren’t “inspired” by its “intuitive” user interface and therefore shy away quickly rather than tinker with it for a bit.

Automator is really handy once you get the hang of it. (As shown on Mac OS X Screencasts: What Automator can do for you and Template Folder Maker).
Automator can also reduce the size of PDF files quickly and easily. No need to spend money extra tools.

Your workflow should look similar now1:

Depending on whether you’re building a Service or not, you may want to click Options under Quartz Filter and Compress Images and enable “Show this action when the workflow runs”. This makes a dialog pop up when you run the service, allowing you to change settings. (This can come in very handy!) Please remove the “Get Specified Finder Items” action, you only need this for testing purposes. (Leave it in there if you’re building a workflow)

This workflow is now complete. Just save it and whenever you need to shrink a PDF drop it in Get Specified Finder Items and click Run. Make sure to adjust the settings for Quartz Filter (for scanned images maybe Black & White?) and Compress Images (JPEG, medium quality).

You can also download this action (as workflow!) right here.

  1. To rename an action, right click on the top and choose Rename.