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Tom Briant

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

I've been a poor correspondent

I apologize for not keeping this blog current. I’ve had other projects this past two weeks. But now I’m BACK. (Insert favorite AC/DC song here)

Weekend discounts on Apple's personal computer family continue this month, as Apple works with partners like big-box retailer Best Buy to push sales of Macs in the face of weak global demand, and a bearish outlook for the consumer PC business in general. “

  • So if you want to buy a new Mac, Apple and Best Buy and Amazon would love your business. Details here at Appleinsider. I don’t know if Mom would love a new Mac as opposed to diamond earrings or a new car; but to each his own.
  • Now to Apple OS news. The two Apple OS’s, iOS for the portable devices and OS X for the laptop & desktops & Mac Pros (have faith, they will be upgraded) are due for another refresh this year. Already, the Apple news sites report that iOS 7 & OS X 10.9 are up and about. Infant versions are accessing your favorite Web sites, testing them out.
  • Now the question is: which one comes out first The reports are that the boffins (to use a Britishism) who actually write the code are working on iOS 7 first, with OS X 10.9 to come out later. Folks, relax. Remember that Apple makes a lot more profit from iOS than from OS X. I love OS X myself and look forward to OS X 10.9; but the accountant in me says you gotta push the more profitable OS out the door first.
  • //change of topic//
  • Now that I’ve dealt with the gossip, what can you do with your Mac?
  • I’m always astonished at individual’s level of computer ignorance. As a long-time Mac and Windows user, you get in the mode of “well, of course, everyone knows this stuff” and they don’t. So let me reintroduce you to some Mac basics.
  • Now first of all, do you need a 3rd party app to print out PDFs from a Mac? In most instances, NO.
  • If you want to create a PDF from a Mac OS X application, you go to the Print menu.
  • Click on the Print menu and you get a Print dialog box:
  • ⁃        
  • PastedGraphic1-2013-05-11-15-24.png

Note the PDF button in the lower left-hand corner. You create PDFs instead of printing reams of paper for, say, a bank statement you need to look at for one entry.

Let’s look at the PDF menu from Microsoft Word:


You see several workflows. You see “Open PDF in Preview” and “Save as PDF”. You see “Save as PostScript” and “Fax PDF…” Below that you see several workflows that program I’ve installed have added to this menu.

Below that you see “Edit Menu…”

Let me explain these workflows as best as possible.

First, “Open PDF in Preview” Say you’ve opened a bank statement in your Web browser and you’re not sure if you want to print it out or even save it as a PDF. This workflow, “Open PDF in Preview,” print a temporary PDF out and opens it up in Preview.

From here, you can save the PDF, print it out, or do some tricks to it using Quartz filters. You didn’t know about Quartz filters? Let me introduce you…


You see the File Save Dialog Box for the Preview program. You see the name Preview has chosen to save the PDF as (But you can change the name). You see the list of file folders to save it. You see the format to save it in, which is PDF.

And you see Quartz Filter. What is Quartz Filter? Well, Quartz Filters are effects that you can apply to files as you save them.


You see above the set of Quartz Filters that Apple supplies with OS X. Most are self-explanatory. I believe “Create Generic PDFX-3 Document” is for publishing purposes.

“Reduce file size” is the one I’m interested in right now. This Quartz Filter can dramatically shrink a PDF.

Recently, I had a client who wanted to send a PDF to a friend. This PDF contained several large screen captures. Well, the PDF at this stage weighed in at over 20 megabytes! His e-mail service choked on a file this large.

When I opened the file in Preview and saved it using the “Reduce File Size” Quartz Filter, the file shrank to 1.3 megabytes in size. The file easily transmitted over e-mail to the client’s friend.

Finally, let’s test the Reduce File Size Quartz Filter right now. Here’s the file the client sent me to compress. It’s 22.1 megabytes in size.

Now it’s been shrunk down to 1.1 megabytes in size!


Test it yourself with a fat PDF.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

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