How to Edit a PDF on Mac: Simple Guide

Editing a PDF on a Mac is quite straightforward. You can use the Preview app, which comes pre-installed on macOS, to make simple changes or annotate documents. For more advanced editing, there are various third-party applications available.

Using Preview to Edit PDFs

Preview is a built-in application in macOS and it offers a range of basic editing tools for PDF documents.

Whether you need to add text, highlight sections, or insert a signature, Preview has you covered.

Opening a PDF in Preview

1. Locate your PDF file.
2. Double-click the file to open it in Preview by default.

If it doesn’t open in Preview, you can right-click the file, choose “Open With,” and then select “Preview.”

Adding Annotations

Preview allows you to add annotations such as text, shapes, and notes to your PDF.

To add annotations:

1. Click on the “Toolbox” icon in the toolbar.
2. A dropdown menu will appear with various annotation tools.

Options include text insertion, shapes like rectangles and circles, and even freehand drawing.

Highlighting Text

Highlighting text is a handy way to emphasize important sections of your PDF.

1. Click the “Highlighter” tool in the toolbar.
2. Select the text you want to highlight.

The text will be marked with the chosen highlight color.

Adding Signatures

You can insert your signature into a PDF directly from Preview.

1. Click the “Sign” icon in the toolbar.
2. Choose “Create Signature.”

You can sign using the trackpad, your iPhone, or even scan a paper signature using the built-in camera.

Rearranging Pages

To rearrange pages within a PDF:

1. Open the sidebar to view page thumbnails.
2. Drag and drop the pages to reorder them as needed.

You can also add or delete pages from this view.

Using Professional PDF Editors

For more advanced PDF editing needs, consider using a third-party professional PDF editor.

These applications offer features beyond what Preview provides, such as text editing, form filling, and OCR (Optical Character Recognition).

Advanced Text Editing

Professional PDF editors allow you to edit the actual text within a PDF.

1. Open your PDF in the editor.
2. Use the text tool to click and modify existing text.

You can change fonts, sizes, and even the color of the text.

Filling Out Forms

Some PDFs are interactive forms that require input.

With a professional PDF editor, you can fill out these forms easily.

1. Open the form in the editor.
2. Click on the fields you need to complete and start typing.

The editor will save the changes directly to the PDF.

Applying OCR

If you have a scanned document, OCR can convert the scanned image into editable text.

1. Open the scanned document in a professional PDF editor.
2. Use the OCR tool to analyze the document.

Once processed, the text within the document becomes selectable and editable.

Using Online PDF Editors

If you prefer not to install additional software, several online platforms offer PDF editing capabilities.

These platforms are accessible through your web browser and provide a variety of tools.

Uploading Documents

To get started with an online PDF editor, you typically need to upload your document.

1. Visit the website of the online PDF editor.
2. Click the “Upload” button and select your PDF file.

The document will be uploaded and ready for editing.

Editing Features

Online PDF editors often provide a range of features similar to desktop applications.

These features may include text editing, form filling, and annotation tools.

1. Use the toolbar to select the desired tool.
2. Apply changes directly on the PDF.

Your edits will be saved automatically or via a “Save” button.

Downloading Edited PDFs

Once you’re done editing your PDF:

1. Click the “Download” button on the online platform.
2. Choose a location on your Mac to save the edited PDF.

Your changes will be applied, and the new PDF will be ready for use.

Using Word Processors

Some word processors also offer basic PDF editing capabilities.

Converting your PDF to a format like .docx can allow for easier editing.

Converting PDFs

To convert a PDF to a .docx file:

1. Open the PDF in your word processor.
2. Choose “Save As” or “Export” and select .docx as the format.

The document can then be edited as a standard word processing file.

Editing the Document

Once converted, you can proceed with editing as you would with any regular document.

1. Use text tools to make your changes.
2. Save the file regularly to avoid losing any work.

After completing your edits, you can convert the document back into PDF format if needed.

Table Comparison of Editing Solutions

Feature Preview Professional PDF Editor Online PDF Editor Word Processor
Basic Annotations Yes Yes Yes No
Text Editing No Yes Yes Yes (After Conversion)
Form Filling No Yes Yes No
OCR Support No Yes Varies by Tool No
Rearranging Pages Yes Yes Yes No


Editing a PDF on a Mac can be done using a variety of tools and methods.

For basic tasks, Preview provides all the essentials you need.

For more advanced features, consider using a professional PDF editor or an online platform.

Converting PDFs for editing in word processors is also an option if you prefer handling documents in that format.

Tailoring your choice to your specific needs will help ensure a smooth and effective PDF editing experience on your Mac.