How to Open and Edit a PDF on Mac

Say your team is creating a brochure for a business or charity event and it involves several writers and artists to produce the finished product. The first-draught PDF is coming along great, but there are numerous copy and imagery edits you need to make before it’s ready to go.


Your trusty Mac is standing at the ready. But now you’re thinking, ‘How do I edit a PDF on a Mac?’

What you’ll learn.



Quick List: How to Edit a PDF on a Macbook or Mac


Here’s the easy way to edit a PDF on a Mac in a few, quick steps:


  1. Edit Online. Visit the Adobe Acrobat PDF editor online.
  2. Choose your PDF. Click Select File or Drag your file into the dropzone.
  3. Edit your PDF. Once the file uploads you can edit your PDF.
  4. Save your work. After you’re done editing you can Save or Share your changes.


In Detail: How to Edit a PDF File on a Mac Step by Step


With Adobe Acrobat online services, you can add edits to PDF files on your Mac. Quickly and easily communicate to collaborators what needs adding, deleting or changing.


From any web browser, go to Acrobat online services and follow these steps:


1. Click the Select a File button. 

File setting on Adode Acrobat Reader on a Mac device

2. Choose a file from your internal storage, cloud storage or Google Drive or drag and drop it from your desktop into the drop zone.

Selecting files from desktop on Adobe Acrobat Reader on a Mac device

3. After the file uploads, sign in with your Adobe log in.


4. Use the tools to add text, highlight, draw and more.

Edit PDF tool selected on Adobe Acrobat Reader on a Mac device

5. Go to the Share menu to share the document with others via email or a link. Alternatively, you can download and save any changes.



How to Open a PDF on a Mac. 


Unsure of how to open a PDF, to begin with? This section can help with that.


If you want to edit, use drop-down menus or sign PDFs, it’s best to open the file with software designed for PDFs, like Adobe Acrobat. If you have Adobe Acrobat install, you can simply double-click your PDF and Acrobat will open it automatically. If it doesn’t, you can control-click your PDF and then select Open with>Adobe Acrobat. 


On Mac computers, the default application for viewing PDFs is Preview. While this might allow you to read PDFs on a Mac, you’ll only be able to view them and won’t have access to any dynamic or interactive elements.


If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat, you can read PDFs in three simple steps:


  1. Select the PDF and click File > Get Info.
  2. Choose Preview.
  3. Click Open.


How to Edit PDF Text on a Mac.


In the Preview app, you can add new text to a PDF. You can’t, however, edit the existing text.


To add new text to a PDF while using the Preview app:


  1. Select Tools.
  2. Select Annotate.
  3. Tap the text icon.
  4. Place your cursor on the PDF where you want to add new text.
  5. Type the text.


Use the text icon to change the font, size and style of the text. You can also change the text colour by clicking the colour box in the upper-right corner and choosing a shade from the drop-down colour palette.


How to Edit Images in a PDF on a Mac.


Using the Preview app, you can annotate, rotate, crop and adjust the size of an image by selecting your desired function from the toolbar.


To crop a photo, follow these steps:

  1. Select the area of the image you wish to crop by clicking the image and dragging your cursor. A dotted line will appear and form a box.
  2. Continue dragging your cursor until the part of the image you want to remain is within the dotted lines.
  3. In the menu, select Tools.
  4. Select Crop.
  5. If you make a mistake, simply click Edit and Undo to start again.


How to Edit PDFs on a Mac using Acrobat Pro.


With Adobe Acrobat Pro on your Mac, you can create PDFs from scratch, leave annotations and feedback, work with images and make fillable forms. You can also keep PDFs even more secure with password protection and redaction tools.


To make Acrobat the default PDF viewer on your Mac, simply follow these steps:

  1. Download Acrobat onto your computer.
  2. Right-click on a PDF file anywhere on your Mac — desktop, downloads or another folder.
  3. Select Get Info.
  4. Select Open With.
  5. Set Acrobat as the default application.


Now, each time you open a PDF, it will automatically open in Acrobat with all of your favourite tools at your fingertips.


Whichever option you choose — Mac Preview, Acrobat online or Acrobat Pro — as your PDF editor, you can easily open and edit PDFs on your Mac. Each has its own advantages. It’s important to explore your options and pick the best tool for you. Choose a tool that allows you the flexibility to make changes, collaborate and share PDFs with ease. Learn more about using Adobe Acrobat with your Mac.




Here are some frequently asked questions about opening and editing a PDF on a Mac


Why can’t I edit a PDF on my Mac?


When opening a PDF on a Mac, the default application is Preview. This will only allow you to view the PDF and you won’t be able to make any edits.


How do I make a PDF writable on a Mac?


To edit a PDF file on a Mac, simply open it using software like Adobe Acrobat. You can do this by control-clicking your PDF file and selecting Open with>Adobe Acrobat if you have the software install. From here, you can add text, but you won’t be able to amend the existing text.



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