PDF is an abbreviation that stands for Portable Document Format. It’s a versatile file format created by Adobe that gives people an easy, reliable way to present and exchange documents – regardless of the software, hardware, or operating systems being used by anyone who views the document. 

The PDF format is now an open standard, maintained by the International Organ zation for Standardization (ISO). PDF docs can contain links and buttons, form fields, audio, video, and business logic. How to edit a PDF on Mac. They can be signed electronically and can easily be viewed on Windows or MacOS using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software. 

Below we will take you through the steps needed to open and edit PDFs on your Mac. By the end, we’re sure you won’t be turning to any other software, although if you do want to take PDF handling to the next level, you may be interested in the best PDF editors. Before we do, let’s summarize what you can do already:

  • Add text to a PDF on Mac
  • Add a signature to a PDF on Mac
  • Add shapes to a PDF on a Mac
  • Rearrange pages of a PDF on a Mac

Edit a PDF using Quick Look

Find a PDF that you want to edit and press the spacebar on your keyboard..

This will open Quick Look and allow you to see the PDF. To begin editing a PDF, click the pencil icon.

You will now be presented with a bar of editing tools.

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Edit a PDF using Preview

You can follow the steps above and select Preview from the Quick Look window.

You can also find a PDF that you want to edit and double click it. This should automatically open Preview unless there is another PDF viewer installed on your Mac.

If Preview is not opening, right-click the PDF and go to Open With > Preview.

Click the pencil icon and you will be presented with a bar of editing tools.

Add text to a PDF on Mac

Some forms will allow you to move from box to box and tick, but others will require a bit more legwork on your part. Either way, Quick Look and Preview quickly allow you to quickly get the job done.

Click the Text tool. This looks like an A inside a box. (In Preview, you can also go to Tools > Annotate > Text).

You should now see the word “Text” appear on the screen.

This is usually red but you can easily change the color. Click the Aa icon and then click the red box. This will allow you to pick a different color.

You can also change the font – again click Aa but this time use the dropdown font menu to pick the font you want to use.

The Aa menu also lets you resize the text. Look for the box showing a number (and the abbreviation “pt” for “point”). Then click the up and down arrows next to the number (or enter a number in the box).

There are also options to bold, italicize or underline text. Just click B, I or U.

Once you have chosen a text color and size, you can start to type.

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You can then click inside the text box (the cursor will turn into a hand) and move the text wherever you would like it to go.

You can mark boxes using an X. You will need to keep clicking the Text tool to add more text.

When you are finished, click Done in Quick Look or go to File > Save in Preview.

Add a signature to a PDF on Mac 

You can also sign a form when using Quick Look or Preview. It’s very easy to do and you can store a signature for future use.

  1. When you’re ready to sign, click the signature icon in the toolbar.
  2. You have three options.

    Click Trackpad and you can use your finger or a stylus to write your signature on your Mac’s trackpad.

    Click Camera and you can sign your name on a piece of paper and hold it in front of your Mac’s camera to be scanned.

    Click iPhone or iPad and, so long as your iPhone or iPad is signed into the same account as your Mac you will be prompted to use either device’s screen to write your signature. edit a PDF on Mac

  3. Select Done when you’re finished to save your signature. You can also click Clear to start over.
  4. You can then click the Signature icon to select the signature and drag it into position. You can click Create Signature if you want to add more signatures (perhaps you have different signatures for different purposes).

Add shapes to a PDF on a Mac

You may want to add shapes because you’d like to highlight something on a form. You may want to draw an arrow to ensure something doesn’t get missed. Whatever your reason, you can easily create and add shapes to a PDF document in Quick Look and Preview.

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  1. Click the Shapes icon in the toolbar.
  2. Select a shape from the dropdown menu, whether a square, curved-corner square, circle, speech bubble, star or hexagon. You will also see a line and an arrow. After doing so, the shape will appear on the screen.
  3. You can then use the color tool to change the appearance of the shape. edit a PDF on Mac
  4. You can also alter the border color of the shape – click the outline color tool and make your choice.
  5. The shapes can be dragged around the PDF and placed in position. If you are using an arrow, click the dots at either end to lengthen and shorten it. Drag the dot next to the arrow head to alter where it is pointing (drag the dot in the centre to create a bendy arrow).
  6. You can also use the magnifying option in the Shapes menu. Click it and you are able to make any text beneath it appear larger – it’s a great way to draw attention to a section (a green dot allows you to alter the level of magnification).

Rearrange pages of a PDF on a Mac 

If you’d like to change the order of a PDF document’s pages, you need to use Preview.

  1. Click the View Menu icon next to the name of the PDF document and select Thumbnails.
  2. The pages of the PDF will be shown down the left side of the Preview window. You can rearrange them by clicking a thumbnail page and dragging it up and down. edit a PDF on Mac
  3. You can also remove a page: just click on a thumbnail and press Delete on the keyboard.

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