How to Export PowerPoint as PDF on Mac

Why is my PDF file larger than the PPTX file? How do you export PowerPoint as PDF on Mac while keeping the size down? This may be an issue with bigger presentations which you need to send over email as a PDF, but the email can’t handle the load. 

Let’s talk about this case that Mac users may have experienced when converting a PowerPoint presentation to PDF. 

In this article, we’ll cover: 

Why is the PDF bigger than the PPT on a Mac?
How to export a reasonably sized file from PowerPoint on a Mac?
How to convert & compress large PDFs? 

How to export PowerPoint as PDF on a Mac? 

Here’s what happens. You finished your PowerPoint presentation on the Mac and began the export (File > Export…).

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

As you select the PDF option from  File Format  you might notice that you don’t have the settings to optimise the export for online and print as you do on Windows.  

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

So when you click Export and wait for the process to finish you find the following anomaly:

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

The original PowerPoint presentation we used for this example is 21,9 MB, while the PDF document that came out in the end is 7 MB bigger. And that’s not even a big PowerPoint presentation! Imagine if the .pptx file was 200 MB! 

Why is the PDF bigger than the PPT file on Mac? 

PowerPoint and PDFs don’t always play well together. The most likely reason is the image and video size of the files in your presentation. 

Since PowerPoint is not a MacOS-native application, it does have its limitations when it comes to certain functionalities when you’re using it on Mac. 

According to Microsoft, you can adjust the export size in PowerPoint on Mac by going to  Preferences > General and selecting Medium in the Print Quality (Paper/PDF) Desired Quality setting. This adjusts the image size inside your presentation, but we highly recommend to carefully test the results before using or sending the PDF so you make sure the image quality isn’t damaged by the compression. 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

How to Convert PPT to PDF and keep the size down? 

There are a lot of tools out there to squeeze, convert, and compress PDFs. Some of them are paid, others are free. 

One of the free ways you can work around this issue is to use Adobe Acrobat’s website to convert your PowerPoint to PDF with their online tool. 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

How does it work? Upload the PowerPoint presentation you want to convert to a PDF and the Adobe tool will do a much better job at compressing the file, compared to what PowerPoint will export on your Mac. 

When your PDF is ready, you will be able to download it from here: 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

For example, it did a much better job with our presentation! The previous PDF was 28,9 MB, while Adobe gave us the same weight just about 7,5 MB.

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

That’s almost 4 times better!? 

After your first PDF, Adobe will give you one more for free try, after which you’ll need to wait 24 hours before you can upload a PPT presentation to convert. Or create an account. Luckily, signing up is free, so you can use their online tool as much as you want. 

The disadvantage of using the Adobe converter is it defaults the font to Calibri. So in case, you’re using custom fonts in your presentation, here’s the solution to your problem. 

Export PowerPoint as PDF online 

You can upload your presentation to the online version of PowerPoint in case you’re an Office 365 subscriber. This will solve the font problem you might have had with the Adobe converter. 

Step #1. First, open your PowerPoint presentation and embed your custom fonts. You can do this on the Mac by first going to PowerPoint’s Preferences. 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

Step #2. To open the Font  Embeddingsettings, click on the  Save option in the  Output and Sharing  section. 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

Step #3. Select the checkbox saying Embed fonts in the file and then select the second option,Embed all characters. 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

Step #4. Save  your presentation in PowerPoint. 

Step #5. Now that you have the fonts embedded in your .pptx file, you can go to Office 365, open the web version of PowerPoint, and upload your presentation. 

Step #6. Once you have it open online, you need to select  File. 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

Step #7. Select  Download As  and click the  Download as PDF option. You will get a confirmation message that your presentation is ready to download. 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

We managed to get our PDF down to 1,4 MB! This makes the online version of PowerPoint probably the most effective way to download smaller-sized PDFs from your PowerPoint presentations without compromising on file quality. 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

Should I pay or should I go?

What about the other apps and tools? And should you bother buying one of them to make life easier if you’re exporting PDFs from PowerPoint on your Mac? 

Well, tools like Wondershare’s PDFelement for instance give you control over how much you want your PDF to be reduced in size. This helps you make sure your image quality inside the PDF is still looking great, while you’re also keeping the file as light as possible. 

Screenshot of Microsoft PowerPoint on Mac

So, going for a paid solution really makes sense if your work often requires you to export and send PDFs over and over again, especially if quality matters to you.

PDFelement comes at less than $10 a month with their yearly plan, so it’s really not that much for a solution this important to a lot of people.

PDF Squeezer comes at exactly $9,99 and it’s specifically designed to work on macOS to give you a sophisticated compression process with multiple file size reduction methods.

PDF Expert comes at $79,99 and can be installed on 3 devices and here we’re talking about a full-blown PDF editor, where powerful compression is just one of the features.

Problem solved!

And that’s how you export PowerPoint as PDFs on Mac and fix the enormous PDF file size issue when saving a presentation as a PDF file. Let us know if any of those approaches worked out for you or if you had any difficulties. We’d love to hear from you! 

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