How to Edit a PDF on Mac, With Photos

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How to Edit a PDF on Mac, With Photos

New Mac operating systems feature a program called Preview. It is specifically designed for viewing and editing photos and PDF files. However, it isn’t perfect and can’t perform some advanced tasks. But you can add text, marks, or notes to an existing PDF file.

Another great feature in Preview is creating a signature and adding it to a PDF file. You create the signature using either the trackpad or an iPhone, or you can even take a picture of a signature on a piece of paper with the computer’s webcam. The biggest drawback is that you cannot edit existing text and instead need to use a program like Adobe Acrobat.

Step 1: Open Preview

You can launch the Preview app on your machine using the Launchpad.


To edit a PDF file, start by opening the Preview application. The easiest way to find it is by opening Launchpad in the Dock and then searching. Another option is to locate Preview in Finder by entering the application list.

Step 2: Find PDF

Finder window is handy for locating a PDF file to edit.


Once you launch Preview, a Finder window will open, which you can use to locate a file. Find the PDF file that you want to edit and select it. Finally, click the “Open” button after selecting the file to open the document in Preview.

Alternatively, you can start by locating the PDF file in Finder and then choose to open it in Preview. This saves little time if Preview is set as the default program.

Step 3: Select Form Filling Button

It’s possible to add text boxes to a PDF file.


Next, choose the Form Filling button, which looks like a pencil. When you click on it there is a menu bar will appear just below the top menu. This menu has basic options like adding shapes, drawing a sketch or even a signature.

Step 4: Choose a Function

Choose whichever option best suits your needs.


Several options have dropdown menus that allow you to customize the selection. For instance, you can make lines thinner or thicker when trying to draw. If you add a signature, you will first need to draw your name and then select the document’s location to add it.

Step 5: Complete Other Fields

You can continue making multiple changes to your PDF if necessary.


For instance, you may need to type in a name and then add a signature. It is a good idea to save multiple document instances between making changes. That way, you can easily go back and make changes if necessary.

Step 6: Export Form

Once completed, click “Export” to save the new file.


The last step is to save the PDF once your changes are complete. Instead of just saving the original document, choose to export it as an entirely new file. Do this by choosing “File” in the top menu bar and then selecting “Export” from the dropdown menu. Lastly, choose the location to save the document and the document type and name.

Sign a PDF on Mac

One of the most common reasons to edit a PDF is to add signatures. This can prevent printing the page, signing in, and then scanning it back to the computer. It is a great time saver; however, not everyone will take this signed document. Always check with the place you are signing the document to ensure that a PDF signed on the computer will suffice.

To sign a PDF on your Mac, open the document in Preview. Do this by either opening Preview and selecting the file, locating it in Finder, and choosing to open it in Preview. Once the document is open, click on the Form Filling Button that looks like a pen facing upward.

You will be asked to create a signature using a Trackpad, iPhone, or even the computer’s webcam. You can take a photo of your signature on a piece of paper with any of them. Click on the signature and drag it wherever you need the signature to appear on the document when done. Feel free to resize it and save it when complete.

Add Notes to a PDF

Although you cannot change a PDF’s text, you can mark it up with text, highlights, and even sticky notes. All of this is accessible in Preview by clicking the Fill and Sign, which looks like a pen pointing upwards. Then, choose the text block, or add a sticky note. You can also select a highlighter or drawing tool and then select its thickness.

Edit PDF with Acrobat

The best way to truly edit a PDF file is with Adobe Acrobat. A full version of Acrobat will give you the most flexibility to edit the document. While Preview allows some basic functionality, like filling out a PDF, Acrobat lets you modify the wording in a document. However, this comes at a high price tag that is likely out of the reach of most users. But, if you need to edit documents or make more advanced changes, you cannot go wrong with a full version of Acrobat.


Editing a PDF file can be really annoying since most computers don’t have a program built in. Fortunately, Preview is included with all Macs for free and gives you basic functionality. However, if you need more features like editing lines of text, it is best to invest in a subscription to Adobe Acrobat or contact the document’s creator.

It is also crucial that you save the document before editing. That way, you can access the original if revisions go wrong. Also, export the finished document so the person you send it to cannot access any of your revisions.

Check out the video below for more information about how to edit a PDF document on a Mac.

How to Edit a PDF on Mac, With Photos FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Can you modify the text of a PDF on Mac?

You could, but you would need another program since it is impossible to modify text in Preview.

Can you delete part of a PDF?

You could simply leave pages out or create a white-colored block over the text.

What else can Preview do?

Preview is also a great program for editing photos.

Can you edit videos in Preview?

No, Preview is designed for editing PDF and photo files. However, Apple does have a great video editor called iMovie and it is free in the App Store.

Can changes to a PDF be undone?

Possibly, that is why it is best to export the document as a new PDF file so there is no access to the file’s revision history.

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