The best way to edit PDF files on Mac

We all like a good PDF editor. But while there are plenty of options for PC users, Mac users only have one simple question:

What is the best way to edit PDF on Mac?

Mac users have trouble finding a free PDF editing solution. But with some creativity, there are ways to solve problems.


We can’t move forward without mentioning Preview. This pre-installed program comes with every Mac and is the default PDF editor. It does the most basic things except text editing.

So if all you have to do is rearrange the pages or insert captions (Tools > Note), Preview might be enough.

Edit PDF

To edit a PDF document, you’ll need to access Preview’s editing feature.

  1. Open the PDF file you want to edit.
PDF selected in the All My Files window

Click Edit in Preview.

Highlighted Edit button in Preview window

Select one of the editing options from the toolbar, such as adding text or shapes.

Edit highlighted submenu

Other features

There is a feature that allows users to rearrange the pages in any order they want. This can be done via the sidebar. Those who don’t have the sidebar enabled by default can enable it from View menu.

But what if you really need to edit the text? What can you do? While not an ideal solution, you can create a white box to cover unwanted copy. Then you can simply add your text and place it on top of the box.

Insert signature

You can also add a signature if your Mac has iSight or a trackpad connected to it. The hand-drawing tool can also be used to insert shapes — or signatures — straight into a PDF file.

If you already have a signature saved on your computer, it’s even easier to add it to the PDF.

Click Signal in the Edit toolbar.

Signature button specified in the edit submenu

Select a signature from the drop-down list or add a new signature.

Aseem Kehore's signature on the touchpad window

Position the signature in the required position in the document.

Aseem's signature is selected in the document

Convert PDF

Another possible solution is to convert the PDF file to a DOC version. That way the converted file can be edited in MS Word.

To do this, you may need to consider using a file converter. There are free programs available online that will help you get the job done. After making your edits, you can save the document as a PDF, converting it back to the original file format.

If formatting is not an issue, there are ways to convert PDF to Word for free.

Transform using Preview

  1. Open PDF in preview.
  2. Copy text from the document.
  3. Paste the copy into Microsoft Word.
  4. Make changes to the copy
  5. Go File > Save as and select PDF from the drop-down menu.

Convert with Google Docs

  1. Sign in to your Google Drive account.
  2. Upload a PDF file by dragging the document to the dashboard or by going to New > File upload.
Upload selected file in Google Drive menu

Once the upload is complete, right click on the document and go to Open with > Google Docs.

Open with selected menu Google Docs

Make the necessary edits. Once done, go to File > Download as > PDF Documents.

Download as PDF Document selected in File / Download As

Third-party programs

Mac OS users who need something more powerful have to resort to third-party software. There are many programs to choose from online. Some of them are well established while others, not so much.

If you’re going to go this route, you need to do extensive research to make sure you don’t download and install a stupid app.

Users must also note that no third-party PDF editor is perfect. You may still run into issues like not being able to edit existing text.

Edit PDF files online

There are sites that offer online PDF editing. You just need to upload the file and start making changes. When you download the document to your computer, it is saved as a PDF.

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