MacBooks are a premium line of laptops from Apple, which are some of the best for productivity. Apple has something for everyone, with Mac users ranging from businesses to students to working professionals. These laptops are the best for being productive and completing some work.
When being productive, you will encounter emails and many different file types, the most prominent one being PDF documents. Today, PDFs are everywhere, from a document like your résume to a pdf form when you apply for a job.
1. Why Do We Need to Edit a PDF on Mac?
A PDF document might sometimes require your signature, or you may need to add comments or a speech bubble on what steps need to be taken; at other times, students might need to hide personal details in their Identity Card, or maybe Zach simply does not like that his name is spelled as Zack.
No matter what the situation, editing these documents is a task everyone encounters on a very frequent basis. But it has always been quite confusing to edit a PDF on Mac.
2. How to Edit a PDF on Mac?
When you edit a PDF on Mac, choose an editor that can allow you to:
- Edit the text of a pdf and add new text boxes.
- Add basic shapes. Add our signatures on important documents.
- Rotate and Crop the PDFs
- Highlight, Underline and Strikethrough text.
- Convert between different file types, like word, ppt, excel, etc.
- Split and Merge PDFs
- Compress PDFs
- Add watermarks
- Lock or Repair PDFs
- OCR – Optical Character Recognition (Read a scanned PDF)
So, as a mac user, I would like to mention some editor tools and third-party pdf editors (free and paid) that I frequently use to edit a PDF on Mac.
Mac operating system has a built-in Preview app, a default Mac file management application. It is more than sufficient for a normal user to make minor edits when they wish to edit a PDF on Mac.
It has various editing tools that can perform basic edits, like adding a shape, adding a text box, strikethrough text, underlining/highlighting, and other markup tools.
Apple has always provided premium features to its consumer, and Preview is one of them. As an inbuilt app, it does a phenomenal job of editing PDFs.
With the update of macOS Monterey (macOS 12), a really useful feature called OCR was also added to the Preview app.
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, which allows the Preview app to read through scanned pdf documents, enabling users to edit those PDFs too (for example, you can highlight the text on a scanned pdf and copy-paste it).
2.1(i) Let’s learn how to edit a PDF on Mac using the preview app:
- Double-click on the PDF file you wish to edit on your Mac.
- Select “Tools” from the menu bar.
- Then select “Annotate.”
- You will now be provided with a list of options to select per your preference on how to edit the document.
- To add a signature, you can draw it on your trackpad (use a pen with a thicker tip) or directly sign on a page and show it to your camera.
With the 2018 macOS Mojave software update, Apple added another cool feature called QuickView, which can be used interestingly as a PDF viewer and edit a PDF on Mac.
With QuickView, you can select a document or a pdf file and hit the spacebar to see a document preview without actually opening it.
2.1(ii) Now, let’s edit a PDF on Mac using QuickView:
- Select the pdf file you want to edit and hit the spacebar.
- A preview of the PDF file will be available.
- Choose the pencil icon from the markup toolbar at the top.
- You are now provided with a list of different markup tools like a drawing tool, a shapes icon to add shapes, a text tool that can add a text box, a highlight button to highlight text, a signature icon, etc.
- You can also rotate pages, crop a pdf file or fill out a form provided in the pdf format.
- To add a signature, click create signature icon and either draw a signature or upload it through the camera.
- After making the signature, click on done, then drag and drop the signature where you want to place it.
You can edit any document or file using QuickView; you can even edit images.
2.2 Adobe Acrobat DC/Pro:
Adobe Acrobat is a PDF editor licensed by Adobe. It is one of the best PDF editors for all operating systems, not just for editing a PDF on Mac.
It contains a lot of useful free editing tools to edit pdfs, while some other premium tools can be accessed by purchasing the pro version of Adobe Acrobat.
Its iOS and Android apps also have many PDF editing tools that are very useful for editing a Mac. Adobe Acrobat can be used to add a text style, add signatures, add comments and speech bubbles, highlight or strikethrough a text block, etc.
Adobe Acrobat DC is a good choice for a PDF editor. Though a minor lack of features for the free version and a huge sum for the premium subscription can be a bit frustrating, in reality, almost everything you need is included in the free version.
LibreOffice is an office suite that has tools that can edit a PDF on Mac. It can be used to edit or add text and images, and while it cannot add a signature, that can be easily handled by uploading a photo of the same on the pdf file.
Libre Office is free and one of the best free MS Office alternatives. It can also save a word file or other files in PDF format. It is a decent and free alternative to Google workspace or Microsoft office.
2.4 WPS Office:
It is another office suite similar to LibreOffice and has various tools to edit a PDF on Mac. It is also another alternative to Microsoft Office and Google workspace.
It is developed by Kingsoft, a Chinese software company based in Zhuhai, and it can work on macOS, Android, Linux, iOS, and HarmonyOS. It also has a premium plan enhancing its productivity, and the features WPS Office offers.
WPS Office has Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS applications and can work cross-platform between them.
iLovePdf, a third-party software, is another free PDF editor that effectively edits a PDF on Mac. I have been using iLovePdf for quite some time now, and it has never let me down. Whatever you throw at it, iLovePdf has a solution.
Its markup toolbar has various tools that can be used to merge PDF files, split a single PDF file into multiple pages, rearrange pages, delete pages, add notes and text boxes, edit text, add more pages, convert between multiple files (PDF to word, excel to PDF, ppt to PDF, etc.), convert images to PDF, lock or repair a PDF file, add watermarks, etc.
It is the most versatile PDF editor and has an app for various platforms, though you need to buy the premium plan for cross-platform access (Rs. 200/month), which will also remove ads. You can access it at https://www.ilovepdf.com/.
Smallpdf is a paid pdf editor, which is also very effective when editing a PDF on Mac. Smallpdf allows us to make two edits to any PDF for free and then requires a subscription purchase. It has a 7-day free trial period, after which it charges USD 9/mo for personal pro and USD 7/mo for teams.
It also includes all the features needed to edit PDFs, like text boxes, signature, merge and split, compress, conversion between different types, etc.
It has a mobile and an iOS app and effectively edits PDFs on these platforms.
Skim is an open-source PDF editor tool mainly focused on reading PDFs, keeping students as a target audience.
It has very basic functionality, like viewing PDFs, highlighting and underlining text, and adding notes and bookmark pages, all of which are essential for students who are studying from these PDFs and do not essentially need to edit them anymore heavily.
A student who wants a PDF reader with basic editing functionality should look into it.
2.8 PDFelement Pro:
PDFelement is a paid PDF editor that is good for people looking for pro features without burning holes in their pockets. It costs USD 49.99/6 months, USD 79.99/year, or USD 129.99/lifetime. It also has a trial version to help users choose if they like it; however, the PDFs will be watermarked.
It has all the features one needs to edit a PDF on Mac, like comments, editing images, adding a signature, OCR, etc. You can create a new pdf file from the beginning or convert other files like word or ppt into a pdf.
You can also download PDF Reader, an iOS app (not available on Mac) from the company Wondershare. , It offers very basic functionality, somewhat similar to Skim. However, it is completely free.
Another paid editor tool to edit a PDF on Mac is web-based (you can sign in with your Apple ID) and includes an iOS app.
It can be used to copy-paste and edit text or images. It can be used to collaborate with a team and includes encryption options for safety. An electronically verified signature can also be added.
Document conversion is also possible, converting different document types into PDFs. It also includes a 30-day free trial.
2.10 FineReader Pro
FineReader Pro is another paid editor to edit a PDF on Mac. It is available on the Apple store and has a lifetime access plan; it also includes a free trial.
As expected of a PDF editor on this list, FineReader Pro also has all the professional features like language support of 180 languages, conversion between different document types, and a Mac-like interface. Arguably, the best feature of FineReader is its outstanding OCR capabilities.
2.11 Other PDF editors worth mentioning:
- Sejda PDF Desktop Pro
- Foxit PhantomPDF
- SodaPDF Online
- PDF Candy
I see that I have mentioned a ton of PDF editors, and now you might be in a dilemma as to which one to choose. As the author, let me help you by putting in my personal choices and use cases:
- Preview: For reading PDFs and very basic or quick editing
- Adobe Acrobat DC: For basic editings, like doodling or adding texts/signatures
- iLovePdf: For almost everything else, merging PDFs, splitting them, converting between different file types, etc.
- Smallpdf: For compressing PDFs
- WPS Office: Free office suite for file management, a worthy replacement for Microsoft office.
- LibreOffice: Best free Microsoft Office/Google Workspace alternative
- PDFelement Pro: Budget-friendly pro PDF editor
- Adobe Acrobat Pro: Best-in-class PDF editor
3. Should we pay to edit PDFs? Or are the free options enough?
If you are a student or someone who needs to make some basic edits to your PDF documents, like adding a signature, adding a text box to mention your friend’s name on your birthday invitation list whom you completely forgot about, adding shapes and styles to your PDF, simply doodling some stuff, converting different files into PDFs and vice versa then free PDF editors are good enough and up to the task.
PDF editors like iLovePdf, Adobe Acrobat DC, and Preview make editing PDF files on a mac enjoyable for free and hassle-less.
Also, if your work requires reading PDFs more than editing, there are also dedicated PDF readers designed specifically for this purpose.
However, suppose you are a professional whose work requires extreme OCR, electronically verified signature, cross-platform access, or editing images in PDFs. In that case, buying a premium subscription for one of these editors of your choice is recommended.
Whatever choice you make, numerous choices are possible, and all of them are equally good when it comes to getting work done.
Did you like our choice of the best PDF editors for a Mac? Do leave a comment to let us know your views and suggestions, and share this with your friends who are still confused about finding a good PDF editor. Also, click here to find out if you can play Valorant on a MacBook.