100 Things Every Mac User Should Know

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Mac essentials: PDFs

We all use PDFs all the time. But do you really know how do so as efficiently as possible? Here are the four things every Mac user should be able to do with PDF files.

Remove, Reorder, or Combine Pages of a PDF

In addition to adding annotations, Preview also enables you to remove or reorder pages or combine multiple documents into one. First make sure the sidebar is showing (if not, choose View -> Sidebar -> Show Sidebar or press Command-Shift-D) and that it's displaying thumbnails (if not, choose View -> Sidebar -> Thumbnails). To delete a page, select its thumbnail in the sidebar and press Delete. To reorder pages, drag them up or down in the sidebar. To add pages from another PDF, open the second PDF and drag the thumbnails of the page(s) you want to insert from the second document into the first.—Joe Kissell

Annotate a PDF

With a PDF open in Preview, click the Annotate button, and choose View -> Show Annotations Toolbar (or press Command-Shift-A). A new toolbar will appear at the bottom of the window, with these options:
  • Shape: Click the arrow, oval, or rectangle icon; then click and drag to draw the shape. Use the color and line thickness menus to change its appearance.
  • Text Box: Click the Text icon; then click and drag to draw a text box, and type to fill it with text. Click the Show Font Panel icon to change the font, size, style, or color of the text.
  • Note: Click the Note icon and then click the place where you want the note. To move the note, drag the icon.
  • LinkClick the Link icon; then click and drag to define the link area. In the Annotations palette, open the Link Type menu. Choose URL or Link Within PDF.
  • Highlight, Strikethrough, or Underline: Click Highlight, Strikethrough, or Underline, and then drag across text to apply the style. Repeat to remove the styling.

Customize the PDF Menu

By default, you see a couple of options in the PDF menu of the Print dialog box when you choose File -> Print in almost any app—Save To Web Receipts, for example. Depending on the applications you have installed, there may be others. You can also create your own options, enabling you to save PDFs to specific folders. To do so, create an alias of the folder where you want to save PDFs and then drag the alias to your Library/PDF Services folder.—Joe Kissell

Shrink a PDF

PDF files containing graphics can get pretty big—sometimes too big if you're short on disk space or you're sending them by e-mail. To compress a PDF, open it in Preview and then choose File -> Save As. Choose Reduce File Size from the Quartz Filter menu, and save the file under a new name. Shrinkage varies depending on the graphics in the file.—Kirk McElhearn

Senior Contributor Joe Kissell is the senior editor of TidBits and the author of Mac Security Bible (Wiley, 2010). Senior Contributor Kirk McElhearn writes about more than just Macs on his blog, Kirkville. His most recent book is Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ (TidBits Publishing, 2010).

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