How to edit a pdf on mac

Last Updated: Mar 7, 2024 by

PDFs are a popular file format for sharing documents, but what happens when you need to make changes to a PDF on your Mac? Luckily, there are several tools and methods available for editing PDFs on a Mac. In this article, we’ll explore the different ways you can edit a PDF on your Mac and provide tips for choosing the best tool for your needs.

Why Edit a PDF on Mac?

PDFs are a versatile file format that can be opened on any device and maintain their formatting. However, sometimes you may need to make changes to a PDF, such as correcting a typo, adding a signature, or updating information. In these cases, it’s helpful to have a tool that allows you to edit the PDF directly on your Mac.

Benefits of Using a PDF Editor

Using a PDF editor on your Mac can save you time and effort. Instead of having to recreate a document from scratch, you can simply make the necessary changes to the existing PDF. This is especially useful for documents with complex formatting or multiple pages.

Additionally, using a PDF editor allows you to make changes to a PDF without having to convert it to another file format. This means you can maintain the original quality and formatting of the document.

Methods for Editing a PDF on Mac

There are several methods for editing a PDF on a Mac, each with its own benefits and limitations. Let’s explore the different options available.

Using Preview

Preview is the default PDF viewer on Mac and also has basic editing capabilities. To edit a PDF in Preview, simply open the PDF in the app and click on the “Show Markup Toolbar” button in the toolbar. This will reveal a set of editing tools, including the ability to add text, shapes, and signatures.

While Preview is a convenient option for basic edits, it does have limitations. For example, you cannot edit existing text in a PDF or rearrange pages. Additionally, any changes made in Preview will not be saved if you close the document, so it’s important to save a copy of the edited PDF.

Using Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a popular PDF editor that offers more advanced features than Preview. It allows you to edit text, images, and pages in a PDF, as well as add annotations, comments, and signatures. You can also convert PDFs to other file formats and combine multiple PDFs into one document.

However, Adobe Acrobat is a paid software and may not be a feasible option for those who only need to edit PDFs occasionally. Additionally, the interface can be overwhelming for beginners and may take some time to learn.

Using Online PDF Editors

There are also several online PDF editors available that allow you to edit PDFs without downloading any software. These tools are often free and offer basic editing features, such as adding text, images, and signatures. Some popular options include Smallpdf, PDFescape, and PDF Buddy.

While online PDF editors are convenient and accessible, they may not be the best option for sensitive documents as they require you to upload the PDF to a third-party server. Additionally, they may have limitations on the size or number of PDFs you can edit for free.

Using Third-Party Mac Apps

There are also several third-party apps available for Mac that specialize in PDF editing. These apps offer a range of features and pricing options, so it’s important to research and choose the one that best fits your needs.

Some popular options include PDF Expert, PDFpen, and PDFelement. These apps offer advanced editing features, such as OCR (optical character recognition) for editing scanned documents, as well as the ability to redact sensitive information and add watermarks.

Tips for Choosing the Best PDF Editor for Mac

With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best PDF editor for your needs. Here are some tips to help you make the right decision:

Consider Your Budget

If you only need to edit PDFs occasionally, a free or low-cost option may be the best choice. However, if you frequently work with PDFs and require advanced features, investing in a paid software may be worth it in the long run.

Evaluate Your Editing Needs

Think about the types of edits you need to make to your PDFs. If you only need to add text or signatures, a basic editor like Preview or an online tool may suffice. However, if you need to make more complex changes, such as editing existing text or rearranging pages, a more advanced editor like Adobe Acrobat or a third-party app may be necessary.

Consider Security and Privacy

If you’re working with sensitive documents, it’s important to consider the security and privacy of the PDF editor you choose. Online tools may not be the best option as they require you to upload your document to a third-party server. In this case, a desktop app or a tool with built-in encryption and security features may be a better choice.


Editing a PDF on a Mac is a common task that can be accomplished using various methods and tools. Whether you need to make simple changes or more complex edits, there is a PDF editor available for your needs and budget. Consider your editing needs, budget, and security concerns when choosing the best PDF editor for your Mac. With the right tool, you can easily make changes to your PDFs and save time and effort in the process.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.