Skip to main content

Before we learn how to edit a PDF on mac, here’s some history. PDF stands for “portable document format” and is a file type meant for documents that you can’t modify but can be easily shared and viewed. PDFs can be a very secure way to send information and documents.

As PDFs are standard, both Windows and Mac come with native applications that can view and edit PDFs. This article will cover how to edit PDF on Mac, with special emphasis on simple and easy methods to follow.

What Can You Edit

First off, you can’t edit the actual content in a locked PDF. If you wanted to edit the content of a PDF, you would either need the original file from which the PDF originated, such as a Word document or spreadsheet. You could edit that file and then redownload the new PDF.

Most often, you will not have access to that file. This doesn’t leave you without options. Even the default Mac program to view PDFs comes with tools to alter, annotate, and rearrange PDF files. Sometimes, this is often enough for people wondering how to edit a PDF document on Mac.

How to Annotate a PDF in Preview on Mac

Aside from how to edit PDF on Mac, annotating is the next best thing to do with an Adobe PDF editor. You can leave notes for yourself of things you might want to remember within the PDF file; you can highlight important sections and even sign documents. Preview makes all of these options easy within just a few clicks.

To get started, just double-click any PDF file you want to open. Unless you have a different PDF file reader set as the default, Preview should open automatically. If you want to select which program you want to open your PDF, you can two-finger click on the file and click “Open With” to see an option of programs to read your PDF.

For now, go with Preview if you want to know how to edit a PDF on Mac free.

What Are Your Editing Tools

What do you use when discovering how to edit a PDF on Mac? Once you have Preview open with your PDF, click on the Show Markup Toolbar button to see a selection of annotation tools. The button will look like a pen tip in the middle of a circle.

With the toolbar open, you are given 14 tool options to edit your PDF.

Text Selection

he text selection tool looks like a T with a text cursor next to it. You can use this tool to select or copy text. Some PDF files are protected so that you can’t copy text. However, you can always select the text, which some users may find helpful for reading.

Rectangular Selection

This tool looks like a rectangle made of a dashed line. You can use the tool to create large selections of either text or images to copy.

Redact Selection

The redact tool looks similar to the rectangular selection tool, as it is a rectangle made of dashed lines. The only difference is, the redact tool has a filled box in the middle. When a selection is made using this tool, whatever was selected will be permanently removed from view. This can be good for covering private information.

However, the moment you close your document, the redacted selections will be made permanent. If you need to access the redacted information again, take care to create a copy of the original document before you start using the redaction tool.


The sketch tool looks like a wavy line that is all one thickness and color. When using the sketch tool, you will be sketching a shape with a single line. If the program recognizes a known shape, such as a circle, the program will replace your drawing with that shape. You can revert the shape to your own drawing by using the tool’s menu to revert to the original sketch.


The draw tool looks like a wavy line thicker and darker at one end and thinner and lighter at the other.

Like the sketch tool, you can use the draw tool to draw a shape with a single line. The difference is that draw will take into account how hard you press on the trackpad. The harder you press, the thicker the line will be.

This tool only appears on Macs that have a Force Touch trackpad.


The shapes tool looks like a circle and a square stacked on top of each other. You can use the shapes tool to draw shapes on your PDF. When using the tool, first select the shape you want to draw, then drag it to where you would like it to be on your PDF. The shape you draw may have a couple of different types of handles once it is in place. You can use the Blue handles to change the size of the shape. You can use the Green handles to change the shape of the shape.

Additionally, you can zoom in or highlight your shapes using some additional tools.


The text tool looks like a box with a T in the center. This tool creates a text box on your PDF for you to write notes in it. The text tool does not change the contents of the original PDF, rather places new text over top of it. If you want to change where your text is, you only need to drag it to where you want it.

The text box feature is great for making notes, as well as filling out forms digitally.


The sign tool looks like a signature. This tool adds your signature to documents, which is great for filling out forms digitally. If you already have a signature on file on your Mac, all you need to do is select the tool and then click your signature before dragging it to where you want it. If you need to resize your signature, use the blue handles.

If you don’t already have a signature on file, Preview gives you three different ways to add a new one. You can either draw a new signature with the trackpad, take a picture of your signature using the camera, or use another device.


The note tool looks like a Post-It note. Much like using a Post-It note, you can use the tool to leave notes on your PDF. After selecting the tool, just start typing what you would like to say. You can change the color of the note as well by Control-Clicking it and selecting the color you would like the note to be.

Shape Style

This tool looks like three parallel lines of increasing thicknesses. This tool can be used to change the thickness and types of lines used in your shapes. Additionally,you can use the tool to add a shadow to your shapes.

Border Color

This tool looks like a hollow rectangle made of a thick solid line. You can use it in combination with the shapes tool to change the color of the lines used to make your shapes.

Fill Color

The fill color tool looks like a rectangle with a red line going through it diagonally. You can use it in combination with your shapes tool to change the color used to fill your shapes.

Text Style

The text style tool looks like “Aa.” You can use it with all of your tools to use text, such as note and text. The text style tool allows you to change the font, style, or color of your text.


The annotate tool looks either like an iPhone, an iPad, or a markdown tool button with an arrow. The annotate tool lets you use a secondary device, such as an iPad or iPhone, to sketch or draw directly onto your PDF using either your finger or an Apple Pencil. In this way, annotation is one of the more versatile tools when exploring how to edit PDF on Mac.

How to Rearrange and Edit a PDF on Mac

Rearranging is vital when learning how to edit a PDF file on Mac. Using Preview, you can treat a PDF just like a stack of papers in front of you. You can rearrange them, take out pages, or even add new ones. Preview lets you drag and drop pages inside the thumbnails bar. To rearrange your pages, simply drag and drop pages in the order you want inside the thumbnails bar.

To add pages to your PDF, drag another PDF file into the thumbnail bar, and the pages will be automatically added. You can also drag in other file types to varying effects.

To delete pages from your PDF, you can either click on the page you wish to delete and hit the delete button, or you can drag the page out onto the desktop.

Do take note that once you close your PDF, all changes you made will be made permanent. So you may wish to keep a second copy of your PDF(s) in the original order just in case.

How to Use Sizle to Edit a PDF

If you’re looking for how to edit a PDF document online, Sizle is one of the safest and easiest systems to use. Uploading and converting a file is effortless, as is collaboration via a team. The editing process itself is intuitive, and, best of all, free.

Uploading and Importing

Like any online PDF editor, uploading your files to Sizle is a necessary step. Sizle makes it easy to upload from your computer’s Documents or another online service such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

However, your document does not need to be in PDF form to start the process.

Once you have your file, you can then use Sizle as a PDF converter. Sizle easily converts any kind of file, including Word documents, JPG files, or Powerpoint files into PDFs. It can even convert PNG files and GIF files. Once this is complete, you can begin editing.

How to Edit a PDF

After converting your document, you can use the menu toolbar to begin the edit PDF process. Sizle’s toolbar provides more than 25 tools to annotate and edit.

Similar to the Adobe PDF editor, the Sizle editor supports:

  • Annotation
  • Signatures
  • Shapes
  • Lines
  • Text
  • Search
  • Images


Sharing your PDF securely is easy before and after completion with Sizle. If you want someone to help you edit PDF online, you can collaborate with any member of your team. Sizle uses an interactive chat to make communication and suggestions a breeze.

Once your PDF is complete, you can choose to download it or share it. Both options require only the click of a button through the available menu, making your workflow as uncomplicated as possible. These easy and useful steps make Sizle the best free PDF editor available today.

FAQ: How to Edit PDF on Mac

1. What is a PDF, and how can I edit it on a Mac?

PDF stands for “portable document format,” primarily designed for non-editable documents. Both Windows and Mac have native applications to view and edit PDFs. This FAQ focuses on editing PDFs on Mac, offering simple methods.

2. What can I edit in a PDF on Mac?

You cannot edit the actual content of a locked PDF without the original file. However, Mac’s Preview tool allows you to annotate, alter, and rearrange PDFs, which often suffices for basic editing needs.

3. How do I annotate a PDF in Preview on Mac?

To annotate a PDF in Preview, double-click the PDF file. Click on “Show Markup Toolbar” to access annotation tools. You can highlight, add notes, sign documents, and more.

4. What editing tools does Preview in Mac offer for PDFs?

Preview provides various tools, including Text Selection, Rectangular Selection, Redact Selection, Sketch, Draw, Shapes, Text, Sign, Note, Shape Style, Border Color, Fill Color, and Text Style, for editing and annotating PDFs.

5. How can I rearrange and edit a PDF on Mac using Preview?

In Preview, you can rearrange pages by dragging and dropping them in the thumbnails bar. To add pages, drag another PDF file into the thumbnail bar. To delete pages, select and delete or drag them out. Remember, changes become permanent upon closing the PDF.

6. How can I use Sizle to edit a PDF online?

Sizle is a user-friendly online tool for editing PDFs. Start by uploading your file from your computer or cloud services. Sizle can convert various file types into PDFs.

7. What editing features does Sizle offer for PDFs?

Sizle offers more than 25 tools for annotating and editing PDFs, including annotations, signatures, shapes, lines, text, search, images, and sharing features.

8. How can I share and collaborate on PDFs using Sizle?

Sizle allows secure sharing and collaboration. You can collaborate with team members via an interactive chat. After completing your edits, easily download or share the PDF with a single click.


Editing a PDF on Mac is simple if you understand the tools provided. Though Mac Preview has certain limitations for editing, other tools can provide additional functionality in areas that the Mac Preview tool lacks. Once you’ve finished editing a document, share it for free using a tool like Sizle.

Jeremy from

We write regular document sharing tutorials, tips to help you be more productive.