How to Edit a PDF on Your Mac: A Beginner’s Guide

You have PDFs on your Mac that you need to change. You may need to highlight or add notes, merge some of them, or do any number of other edits. If you haven’t edited PDFs on your Mac before, it can be difficult knowing where to start. This is where we come in.

This guide explains common PDF edits, how to do them on your Mac, and the best programs for them. We hope this guide helps you and that you can safely edit PDFs on your Mac!

Frequent changes to PDFs

There are some fundamental changes you probably need to make to PDFs to make them usable or more useful to you. Let’s go over what they are and how to make them.

Highlight text

Highlighting text is pretty straightforward in most PDF reading and editing programs. Usually, all you have to do is click and drag your cursor to select the text you want to highlight and press a highlight button, possibly in a markup or editing menu.

In PDFs where the text is not selectable, you can access a highlighter tool that allows you to click and draw on the text that you want to highlight. Many PDF editors also have pen tools that you can use to underline or strikeout text in a document.

Adding signatures

Another important change you may need to make to a PDF is adding a signature. You can sign PDF contracts with a pen tool, but some PDF editing programs allow you to insert a scan of a signature instead. Many also save your signature so you can apply it to a PDF when needed.

Add comments

You may also need to add comments on a PDF file, especially if you are collaborating on a document. This can involve an elaborate arrangement of text boxes, but most PDF editing programs allow you to type comments in boxes that get smaller or larger as you click.

Just find that Add a comment or note Option in your PDF software to add a comment field to your PDF page. Enter your comment, then click outside the box to zoom out. You can sometimes click and drag the comment to move it where you want on the page!

Merge and rearrange PDFs

The last big PDF edits most people have to do is merging PDFs and reordering pages in a PDF.

Rearranging pages is often as easy as clicking and dragging pages in the thumbnail view of a PDF file. Once the pages are in the order you want, you can click Save on computer , and let the arrangement solidify.

Merging PDFs can also be as easy as clicking and dragging pages from the thumbnail of one PDF file to another. Other PDF editors require you to paste files into one another in order to merge them.

You may also need to export the merged or reordered PDFs as new PDFs to complete your changes. But even with that extra step, you can see that editing on your Mac is really easy – especially with the right PDF editing software.

Best PDF editors for macOS

You always want the best app possible to get any task done on your computer, and editing a PDF is no different. Below are some of our favorite PDF editing apps when working in macOS!


When it comes to free PDF editors for your Mac, previews are pretty hard to beat. Pre-installed on Mac computers, Preview allows you to annotate PDFs in a variety of ways, rearrange your pages, and merge PDFs.

It’s not the most advanced software out there, and filling in text boxes added to a PDF in another program often doesn’t work as well in the preview, but it’s a great simple PDF reader and editor that does worth mastering it if all you need to do is edit PDFs every now and then.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

If you want to create smart PDFs – PDFs derived from both images and text editors that you can customize with text and signature fields to fill in – you should check out Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

thanks to the CloudSystems by Adobe, working with Acrobat Pro DC is easy, giving you email review options that allow users to click a link and add comments on virtually any device.

At $ 14.99 per month, it could be too expensive if you don’t create and send PDFs all the time. But if you are, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is one of the best PDF editors and creators out there.

Download: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC for Mac OS (Subscription required, free trial available)

PDF candy

Another free option, PDF Candy, is a PDF editor that runs in your web browser. This is great if you want to avoid downloading tons of software on your Mac, but it does mean that PDF Candy has some limitations.

Once you are on PDF Candy’s website, you need to select the tool you want to use and then upload your PDF to make the changes. This means that if you want to resize a PDF and annotate it too, you will upload a PDF more than once.

But PDF Candy is great for merging and rearranging PDFs, as well as converting PDFs to Word or RTF files. For some quick and specific PDF edits, we think PDF Candy is a wonderful tool and very intuitive to use.

Visit: PDF candy (For free)

PDF expert

Changing the text and images in a PDF file often requires converting the PDF file to another format. PDF Expert eliminates the need to convert by allowing you to change text and images directly in a PDF.

It even recognizes the font, size, and color of text you change so everything you add or change matches what is around it. That’s a lot less editing for you!

To use PDF Expert, you need to purchase a license for $ 79.99. However, this license is valid for up to three Macs. And for all of the machining performance you get, we think it is ultimately worth the price.

Download: PDF expert for Mac OS ($ 79.99)


If you need a PDF editor that can annotate, rearrange, and sign PDFs, and also perform optical character recognition that converts text in images into editable text, PDFpenPro might be of interest to you.

PDFpenPro can also automatically generate fillable form fields and help you easily redact personal information in PDFs before sharing it with others.

It’s an expensive program for $ 129.95. But for the incredible PDF editing capabilities and knowing this is a one-time purchase, it might be worth it in the right circumstances or in the right industry.

Download: PDFpenPro for Mac OS ($ 129.95)

Edit PDFs on your Mac like a pro

Editing PDFs can be intimidating, but the right PDF editors make it a pretty straightforward process. As long as you can find the tools you need or know what buttons to hit, you can merge, annotate, highlight, and modify PDFs to your heart’s content!

We hope that our suggestions will help you find the best PDF editor for your needs and help you start your PDF edits safely and conveniently.

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