How to Fix the PowerPoint to PDF Export on Mac

Why is my PDF larger than the PPTX file? How do you convert a PowerPoint into a PDF on a Mac while keeping the size down? Let’s talk about the phenomenon that Mac users may have experienced with PDFs turning out to be larger than the PPT that created them in the first place.

We’ll answer:

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

So, when you export a PowerPoint presentation (.pptx) to a PDF, the document size turns out to be even bigger than your PPTX file. For bigger presentations, this becomes a problem in cases where you need to send the PDF over email, but the email can’t handle the load.

How to Export PPT to PDF in PowerPoint on a Mac?

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

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

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

The original PowerPoint presentation we used for this example is 21,9 MB, while the PDF document that came out at the end is 7 MB bigger.

And that’s not even a big PowerPoint presentation! Imagine if the (.pptx) was 200 MB?

Why is the PDF bigger than the PPT?

PowerPoint and PDFs don’t always play well together. The most popular reason is the image & video sizes you’ve added to your presentation.

Also, since PowerPoint is not a native macOS application, it does have its limitations when it comes to certain functionalities when you’re using it on your 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 sizes inside your presentation, but we highly recommend to carefully test the results before using or sending the PDF so you make sure that the image quality isn’t too damaged by the compression.

How to Convert PPT to PDF while Losing Weight?

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 go around this issue is to use Adobe Acrobat’s website to convert your PowerPoint to PDF with their online tool.

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:

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.

That’s almost 4 times better! 🎉

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

However, if you noticed, the font in the PDF that comes out of Adobe’s converter switched back to the default Calibri. So in case you’re using custom fonts in your presentation, here’s another solution that’s just for you!

How to Export PDF from PowerPoint Online

You can upload your presentation to the online version of PowerPoint in case you own an Office 365 subscription. Here’s how to do it so the final PDF uses your custom fonts:

First, open your PowerPoint presentation and embed your custom fonts.

You can do this on the Mac by first going to PowerPoint’s Preferences.

To open the Font Embedding settings click on the Save option in the Output and Sharing section.

Enable the checkbox saying Embed fonts in the file and then select the second option Embed all characters.

Don’t forget to Save your presentation in PowerPoint!

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

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

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

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 sacrificing any quality.

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.

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 filesize 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!

So that’s how to fix the big PDF file sizes when exporting from PowerPoint on a Mac. A lot of people asked us this question and had issues with that so, there you have it! Let us know if you had any difficulties with those solutions or if you have any other presentation related questions!

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