6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 10, 2011 6:21 AM by hotwheels 22
Marlinespike Level 4 (1,880 points)



I have a new scanner and it generates large TIFF and PDF files. I know I can use Eric Meyer's Reduce File Size (75%) quartz filter script ( http://meyerweb.com/eric/thoughts/2010/02/25/better-pdf-file-size-reduction-in-o s-x/ ) in Preview to re-save the files greatly reduced in size but it's rather tedious to have to do this manually.


Can anyone suggest an easier way or how I can automate this?


The things that jump to mind (and I know are over my head as my following story will show) would be an applescript or automator generated script. I thought this is one of those things that folder scripts would be good for and I have failed miserably to set one up using Automator.


I went into Automator and chose folder action and then applying the quartz filter to a pdf. It asked me if I wanted to apply the action to a copy and leave the originals untouched and I said yes and chose the same folder that I was attaching the action to. I then chose the Reduce File Size (75%) for the filter. It ran and reduced the file and left the reduced file in the folder with the action but the original vanished.


I deleted the folder and tried again, but now the folder action dialog comes up blank and I have to manually select the Reduce File Size (75%) from a drop down list. Also, it left the original in the folder with the action and no filter was applied. So I made a different folder called "originals" and pointed the add a copy step to it, and now it puts the reduced copy there and the original vanishes.


I am totally lost. It seems like the actions change each time I try to do something and I can't figure out where these automator folder actions are being stored.


I would be THRILLED if I could drop the scans into a folder "apply Reduce File Size (75%)" and have reduced files go to a folder "reduced pdfs" and originals go to an "origin pdfs". Is it possible to get automator to do this?


I have the interest but not the mental bandwidth to learn how to write an applescript to do this.


Is there some other easy way that I'm overlooking?


I will greatly appreciate any and all help.

MBP 13 2.53gHZ/4mb RAM, PB G4 12, 1gHZ/768 mb RAM, OS X.3.9, Mac OS X (10.6.7), Touch 2 gen, Shuffle 1 gen, Nano 2 gen, PM7300/200 416 mb RAM OS
  • oz81dog Level 1 (0 points)

    I would like to be able to do the exact same thing here...I have tons of PDF's that are huge with their images saved as TIFF's, and I'd like to apply that quartz filter to convert their images to JPEG internally to the PDF.


    Anyone have any luck with this?

  • oz81dog Level 1 (0 points)

    OK. I was over thinking the heck out of this and it was so easy I thought I would post the answer in case anyone else wanted to do this.


    To set this up I first added the quartz filter, detailed here:



    Once that was there I opened up Automater, chose Folder Action. Next scroll down to "Apply Quartz Filter to PDF Document" and drag it over. I hit "don't add" for the creation of duplicates, select the filter from the drop down, select the folder you want to use at the top (you have to scroll up a bit there, it's a bug) then choose file save...


    done. There I was learning how to write it in apple script! once again mac os x makes complicated things so simple that I look right past the solution and go straight to the hard way!

  • hotwheels 22 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi. Thanks for the post here and for the tool.


    I'm about to run a search for pdf's by size using WhatSize but I don't think I can drag and drop from WhatSize onto this folder. Also, I don't think Spotlight will let me sort by size.


    Will the utility in this post let me drag and drop from Spotlight and leave the pdf's in place but only downsized? Is there a way to do this by size?


    Should I move them all to a single folder using Spotlight or a utility called Papers?


    I am assuming that I will be able to get this installed in the next couple of days but I'd love to get a heads up or two on how to handle this when I do.


    Thanks for any help with this issue.

  • hotwheels 22 Level 1 (0 points)



    I am missing a step here.


    Is there some need to hit run or something within automator? Am I supposed to get a file in the folder I choose? Do I then drag and drop a pdf over the folder or the file to get the file reduced with the filter?


    I am new to mac and my 100 - 900 MB pdf's are kicking my butt...


    Anybody know how to get this going?


  • oz81dog Level 1 (0 points)

    hotwheels 22 wrote:




    I am missing a step here.


    Is there some need to hit run or something within automator? Am I supposed to get a file in the folder I choose? Do I then drag and drop a pdf over the folder or the file to get the file reduced with the filter?


    I am new to mac and my 100 - 900 MB pdf's are kicking my butt...


    Anybody know how to get this going?



    Let's see. How far did you get? Did you create the Quartz filter using ColorSync?


    Next step is to open Automater and double click folder action.


    Drag the action "Apply Quartz Filter to PDF Documents" over to the right hand side and drop it. You will get prompted to add or not add a copy function. If you want to have it back things up hit add, if you just want them compressed hit "don't add".


    In the Filter drop down select the quartz filter you created in the ColorSync Utility.


    Now scroll up on the right hand side (it's a bug in Automator). At the very top you'll see a drop down to choose the folder that the folder action is going to be applied to. Select your folder.


    Hit Save on the File menu. Call your folder action something logical, like Compress PDFs and hit save. You can now quit automator.


    Now that this is done you can drag PDFs into the folder you assigned the action to and it will compress the images in them to JPEG, reducing the size of your PDFs. It will not prompt you or give you any feedback that the magic has happened but it will happen. You might want to make sure your settings are right by working with copies rather than originals, but whatever.

  • hotwheels 22 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi. Thank you!


    I've been trying to get two of these going and it looks like I missed some steps with this one. Part of the problem is that I have not used Automator before but also that I don't understand the quartz filter deal. I guess I am manipulating variables here that I have not really dealt with on windows in some way (even though i have done image editing and printing to pdf's etc)?


    Anyway, this set of filters I was able to drag and drop in a print folder https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1292868?start=0&tstart=0 and they work - but in some cases when running the 150 Average Compression I have found I totally trashed the images in a number of pdf's which I now need to recover.


    On this "automated" quartz filter - can I didn't realize I actually need to create a quartz filter in ColorSync (again I guess color sync is letting me do things I did not do in windows so i don't really understand what I am doing in there).


    Anwyay, the point here on this thread is that /once/ I create a quartz filter I then select it to Automate it, is that it? Can I select one of the filters that I already downloaded? I see, I select one of these filters after telling it I am going to look for a filter by dragging and dropping this? Then can you just walk me through the next steps?

    I couldn't figure out where the filter goes after that because I thought I was choosing a folder to drag and drop files over I guess...

    I can take another run at this with a little push if it is possible.


    - Jon