Since you joined the university, you often have to deal with PDF documents and modify them by adding annotations, highlights and notes. Now that you’ve switched to Mac , however, you don’t have the faintest idea which applications to use to perform the aforementioned operations and therefore you would like some advice on the matter. Don’t worry: if you want, I can give you some “tips” about what to do.

Here is How to Edit a PDF in Mac
Here is How to Edit a PDF in Mac

To find out how to edit a PDF with Mac , all you have to do is read the tips below and choose which software, among those listed, is more for you. Then follow my instructions and I assure you that you won’t have the slightest problem in modifying PDFs from your Apple branded computer.

Here is How to Edit a PDF in Mac

So, can you know what you’re waiting for? Make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading this guide and, more importantly, try to put into practice the directions I’m about to give you. There is nothing left for me to do but wish you good reading and, above all, good work!

Edit a PDF with Mac

Editing a PDF with Mac is a very simple operation to perform. To do this, you can use an included “standard” application in macOS (soon I’ll tell you which one it is), or turn to third-party solutions. Here is everything explained in detail.


If you want to modify PDF and you don’t need to use particularly advanced tools, you can use Preview , the application included in macOS that allows you to easily view and edit both PDFs and images.

To edit a PDF with Preview, the first step you need to take is to open the document by double-clicking on it (or by right-clicking on it and selecting the Open with> Preview items from the context menu, if Preview is not the application set by default for opening PDFs) and activating the toolbar with the editing tools, by clicking on the pencil icon located at the top right. In this way, you will have a wealth of functions to process the contents of the selected PDF file immediately.

By clicking on the buttons with the geometric shapes ( rectangle and circle ) or on the arrows , you can add the latter to the document to indicate (or even camouflage) texts and images. After selecting the tool to use and applying it to the PDF (using the left mouse button), you can adjust its thickness and color using, respectively, the buttons with the three horizontal lines and the color palette found in the toolbar.

The other tools available in Preview are the text box , which allows you to add custom texts to the selected document, comics and even the signature , through which you can electronically sign documents by capturing your own handwritten signature or drawing it using the mouse or trackpad.

Obviously, this signature should not be confused with the digital signature, since the latter has full legal value: find more info on this procedure in my guide on how to sign a digital document.

You point out, moreover, that by selecting with the mouse some portions of text and pressing on the highlighter symbol (in the toolbar at the top right), you can highlight the latter using various colors. You can choose the color of the highlighter by clicking on the button (⌵) located next to the highlighter symbol and then choosing one of the colored dots in the menu that opens. The changes will be saved automatically in the PDF file.


Among the applications that allow you to edit PDF on Mac, it is certainly worth mentioning PDFelement of Wondershare : an all-in-one solution that allows you to view, edit and create PDFs in a very simple way.

It allows you to edit texts and images in PDFs, recognize texts using OCR technology and fill out the forms; add annotations, highlights, signatures, backgrounds and watermarks; convert PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and image files; set passwords, reorganize document pages and much more.

PDFelement is available in a basic version, free, which imprints a watermark on output documents and provides for various limitations (eg the impossibility of converting more than 3 pages per document or saving PDFs treated with OCR technology). To remove the latter, you can subscribe to the Standard version of PDFelement at a cost of 43.99 euros for 3 months or 64.99 euros for 1 year or the Pro version of PDFelement , which costs 54 euros for 3 months or 89.99 euro for 1 year.

Alternatively, you can buy PDFelement Standard for a one-off payment of € 74.99 or PDFelement Pro for a one-off payment of € 119.99. Using this link you can get up to 50% off

The Pro version of PDFelement includes all the functions of the standard one with, in addition, the conversion of PDFs into various file formats; OCR recognition of scanned documents; the creation and modification of modules; creating and adding templates with watermarks; creating and adding templates with multiple backgrounds; adding headers and footers and more.

If you want to download PDFelement for free on your Mac, open the Mac App Store . If the store does not open automatically, press the appropriate button. Then click on the Get / Install button and start downloading and installing PDFelement, entering the Apple ID password or using the Touch ID.

When the download is complete, start PDFelement and select the PDF document to edit. Therefore, choose whether to buy one of the full versions of the program, whether to try the full version of the software for free or to use the free one (in the latter case, just close the box you see in the center of the screen).

The PDFelement interface is extremely intuitive. On the left are the buttons to access the main tools included in the program: Comments , with highlighter, shapes, arrows, text boxes and other tools to add items to the PDF; Text , with the tools to modify the text present in the document; Image , to add and edit images;

Link , to add and modify links; Module , with the tools to compile and create forms; Edit , to blacken and permanently remove the confidential content and Tools, to access functions such as OCR text recognition; adding / editing background, watermark and header / footer; the cutout pages; conversion to PDF and more.

At the top there are the commands related to the selected instruments, while on the right there are the buttons to organize the pages , view the thumbnails , manage the bookmarks , perform a search , adjust the display mode and set the zoom .

For more information on PDFelement, consult the official website of the program , where you will find everything you need to know.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

If you want to modify PDF files on Mac using third-party solutions, you can also turn to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC , the “official” software for viewing and editing PDFs. Besides being available for macOS, it is also usable by Windows users and is quite simple to use.

It allows to highlight and underline PDF and also includes advanced functions to convert PDF to other formats (eg .docx), divide them and so on: these, however, are reserved for subscribers of the Pro version of the application, which provides for the subscription a subscription that starts at € 18.29 / month (after a free 7-day trial). More info here .

To download Adobe Reader, connected to its website and presses the yellow Download button , which is located on the right. To download completed, open the package AcroRdrDC_xxxxxxxxxx_MUI.dmg, start the file in .pkg format contained within it, presses the Continue button (for two consecutive times), then the Install button , type the Mac administration password and presses the button Install software . Once the program has been installed, press the Close and Move buttons .

After installing and starting up Adobe Reader, you can finally edit your PDF files in the latter. To do this, double-click the icon of the PDF document you want to open with the program (if it is not opened automatically with Adobe Reader, click on the Open … item from the File menu at the top left of the program (in the menu bar of macOS) and select the document you are interested in. Then use the cards that make up the software interface to modify the PDF.

Home – contains the list of recently viewed files allowing you to open them rather quickly.
Tools – contains the complete list of program features and tools, many of which are only available in the paid version of the software. To add highlights, notes and more, I recommend using the Comments tool .

[Document name] tab – indicates the file currently open in Adobe Reader with all the tools necessary for its consultation. By clicking on it, you can access the toolbar containing some of the most used tools, such as the button to print the file, send it via e-mail , etc.
When you have finished editing a PDF with Adobe Reader, remember to save the changes by clicking on the floppy disk icon at the top left (or select the Save as … item from the File menu , if you want to save a modified copy of the document) .


If Adobe Reader seems too limited, you can give LibreOffice a chance : an excellent free and open source productivity suite that, among its many features, also includes the one that allows you to edit PDF files by alternating text, adding new ones new, inserting annotations, images and much more.

To download LibreOffice on your Mac, connected to this page , presses on the button Download the xxx version and then click on the Translated user interface button , so as to download in one go both the program installation package and the translation package of its interface.

At the end of the download, open the LibreOffice_xx_MacOS_x86-64.dmg package , drag LibreOffice to the MacOS Applications folder, right-click on the program icon and select Open from the menu that opens twice in a row, so as to “bypass” the restrictions applied by Apple to software coming from non-certified developers (an operation that is only necessary when it is first started).

Now, close the program by pressing the cmd + q keys simultaneously or by selecting the Exit LibreOffice item from the LibreOffice menu at the top left. Then open the LibreOffice_xx_MacOS_x86-64_langpack_it.dmg package you downloaded earlier, right-click on the executable LibreOffice Language Pack , select the Open item from the menu that opens, press the Open and Install buttons , select the item / Applications / LibreOffice .app from the window that opens and click again on the Install button . For more information onhow to download LibreOffice , consult the guide I linked to you.

After installing and starting the program, you need to import the PDF file into the program by pressing the Open file button located on the sidebar on the left of the LibreOffice main window and you’re done. Once you open the PDF, you can edit the text, insert new text boxes, add images, etc. using the tools included in the program. To save the changes made, select the item Export in PDF format from the File menu of LibreOffice and you’re done.

If you want to go deeper into the topic and get more information on how to write to PDF files , take a look at the guide I linked to you: I’m sure this reading will be useful too.

PDF Toolkit

If you need to make changes to a PDF document with Mac, you should also try PDF Toolkit + : it is an application available for 2.29 euros on the Mac App Store that allows you to merge and divide PDF files, extract texts and images from them, compress them to reduce their weight and much more. The program is completely translated into Italian and is extremely intuitive, so it will only take a few minutes to fully understand how it works.

To use it, go to this page , click on the View button in the Mac App Store to open the Mac App Store. Then press the blue button indicating the price of the application and the green button Buy the app (you may be asked to confirm the purchase with the Apple ID password or using the Touch ID ).

After installing and starting PDF Toolkit +, you need to select the application tab for the function you want to use (eg Concatenate to merge multiple files, Split / extract pages to split a PDF into multiple parts or extrapolate pages, Text / images for extract texts or images from PDF or Compress to reduce the size of the documents) and drag with the mouse the files to be modified in the program window, on the left side.

Once this simple operation, you must set the parameters you want to use to merge, split or compress PDF selected, press the button through which to start processing files (eg. Extract! , Convert! , Etc.) and it’s done.

Edit a PDF in Word with Mac

Do you need to edit a PDF in Word with Mac ? There are various tools that can be useful for this purpose. One of the best is SmallPDF : a free online service that offers the possibility of converting various types of files to and from the PDF format and also includes multiple functions to edit uploaded documents.

I recommend the use, as it takes into account the privacy of users by automatically removing all files uploaded to the server. His only “neo”, if we can define it this way, concerns the fact that it allows to process at most two files per hour.

To break down this limit and take advantage of some advanced features of SmallPDF, you need to subscribe to one of the subscription plans, which start at 5 euros / month ( more info here ).

To use SmallPDF, simply connect to this page and drag the PDF document to be converted into Word into the browser window you are using (eg Safari or Google Chrome ). If you want, you can also click on the Choose File link in the center of the page and select which document to load on the platform or press on the buttons From Google Drive or From Dropbox , if you want to upload a file saved on Google Drive or Dropbox.

After uploading the PDF file you wish to convert to Word, all you have to do is wait for the conversion to complete (it may take a while, especially if it is a rather “heavy” file) and press the Download button. the File to get the converted file in the .docx format . Simpler than that?

If you would like further information on how to convert PDF to Word and learn about other solutions suitable for the purpose, I suggest you read the guide that I have just linked to you: I am sure that this reading will also be of great help.

Edit a secure PDF with Mac

If it is your intention to modify a PDF protected with Mac , know that it is not always a simple undertaking to carry out: if the document in question is protected by the so-called owner password , which prevents printing and modifying an encrypted PDF, it could be relatively easy to remove. The speech changes significantly if the document is protected by the so-called user password , which prevents the PDF from being opened and viewed.

To unlock a document protected by owner password you can use Small PDF, the service I told you about in the previous chapter. All you have to do is connect to this page of the service , drag the document into the box Drag the protected document here , put the check mark next to the item I swear that I am authorized to modify this file and remove its protections that appears in the box on right and first press the Unlock PDF button and then Download file to download the unlocked PDF.

Alternatively, you can use ad hoc software for this purpose, such as the very famous QPDF that I told you about in depth in aother guide .

In the case of documents protected with user passwords, on the other hand, you can try to force the opening of the same through programs of the caliber of PDF Crack , but I assure you nothing. Given the complexity of the procedure.

If you are able to “unlock” a PDF by discovering the owner password or even the user password that protects it, you can then modify it in a rather simple way using specific applications, such as those I mentioned in the previous chapters of the tutorial .

Please note: before going on to edit a PDF document that was password protected, think again, because if the author of the document did not give you permission to modify it, applying changes against his will could be a crime. I take no responsibility for the actions you decide to take, as the information I have just provided has been included in this article for informational purposes only.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here