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How to Edit a PDF with Preview on Mac

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2024-04-07 11:22:53 • Filed to: Edit PDFs on Mac • Proven solutions

A handy PDF editor is already installed on a Mac - Preview. It is simple to review and manage your PDF files with the Preview app. Markup your document, merge files, and sign PDF forms effortlessly.  We'll learn how to edit PDF with Preview on Mac in this article.

Tip: You can't edit PDF text in Preview. If you want to edit PDF files like Word, you can try a full-featured alternative to Preview - PDFelement for Mac.

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Preview PDF Editor: Key Features Overview

Preview is the default viewer on macOS for various file types, including PDFs and image files. In addition to viewing files, Preview also allows users to annotate, highlight, and add text to PDFs, which make it a free PDF editor for making simple modifications on macOS.

What Preview PDF Editor Can Do

  • Edit PDF on Mac: You can add text to PDF with Preview on Mac. Also, you can edit images in PDF by rotating, cropping, and resizing.
  • Convert PDF on Mac: Save PDF files to Word, JPG, TXT and other file formats.
  • Annotate PDF on Mac: Its annotation tools can add arrows, circles, rectangles to PDFs. Or you can draw on PDFs using its stroke tool.
  • Fill and sign PDF on Mac: Easily fill out PDF forms and add digital signature.
  • Add, delete, or move PDF pages: You can rearrange pages in a PDF file by adding, deleting or moving the pages.

What Preview PDF Editor Can't Do

  • Edit the existing text in PDF on Mac.
  • Add links to PDF.
  • Make PDF document editable with OCR.
  • Create fillable PDF forms on Mac.
  • Reduce PDF file size.
  • Create new PDF file.

If you needs advanced editing features such as editing existing text or create fillable form, you should get a professional PDF editor such as PDFelement for Mac.

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How to Use Preview to Edit PDF on Mac

Here is a complete guide to editing PDF documents in Preview on Mac.

View PDF in Preview

The Preview icon can be easily located via the docking station Dock or Finder. Click on the icon to load a PDF file to be edited. Just drag and drop the file and open it with the app.

Edit PDF in Preview

Different edit functions can now be completed. To copy any text from a PDF file:

  • Click within the PDF and select the text. Use "CTRL + Click" or "Command + C" to copy text and transfer it to the clipboard.
  • Alternatively, you can also select the texts and click "Copy" under the "Edit" menu.
  • Paste to another document as required.

copy text from pdf in preview on mac

Add text to PDF: The text tool (The "T" button) enables you to drag the pointer to a suitable location on the document and create a text box. Select the "A" button to open the font options.

add text to pdf in preview on mac

Edit image in PDF: Auto edit functions are enabled with graphics. For example, rotation issues are automatically resolved in Mac versions like Yosemite 10.10.5. To rotate an image on PDF, you can also choose "Rotate Left" or "Rotate Right" Under the "Tools" menu.

rotate pdf in preview on mac

Annotate PDF in Preview

Annotations are created within the PDF with the help of Notes.

  • Click the "Notes" button.
  • Click on the location within the PDF where a note must appear.
  • You can also drag your mouse to create the required annotation.

add notes to pdf in preview on mac

To view all created annotations, click on "View > Highlights and Notes". All the annotations are now visible within a Preview window.

annotate pdf in preview on mac

Add Shapes to PDF in Preview

Use the "Shape" tool to insert an oval shape, box, or line within the document. Tools appear on the right allowing you to change and fill color and varying thickness.

markup pdf in preview on mac

The "Text Selection" option under the "Tools" menu allows you to select objects and images other than text including annotations and shapes included within the PDF.

edit text in preview on mac

Fill &Sign PDF in Preview

In case forms are created in PDF format, simply double-click the required form field and enter data. An alternative is to add an editable text box over the field.

edit pdf forms in preview on mac

A valuable feature is the option to create a digital image as a signature on the PDF document. Simple process to create a signature:

  • Click the "Signature" button on the toolbar and choose "Create Signature".
  • Sign on a clear sheet of paper and position it in front of your Mac camera.
  • Keep shifting until the signature appears at the desired location on the screen.
  • Click "Accept". Your signature is created and saved.
  • Click "Edit" again within Preview.
  • Click Signature and select the signature image.
  • Drag the pointer to the desired position and drop it. Size and location can be modified as needed.
  • To manage signatures, you can go to "Tools > Annotate > Signature > Manage Signature".

sign pdf in preview on mac

Convert PDF in Preview

After editing, select "Export" to save a file in the desired format at other locations. For instance, export the PDF as a.PNG file to the desktop.

convert pdf in preview on mac


How to Edit PDF Using Preview Alternative on Mac

Below are the steps for how you can edit PDF documents with the Preview alternative.

Step 1. Open PDF

Launch PDFelement on your Mac and to import the PDF file, click on the "File" in the top bar of Mac and select Open. Or you can directly click the  "Open File"  or "Open" button on the Home window. Now, select the file that you want to import and hit the "Open". You can also open other documents and it will automatically convert the documents to PDF format for you.

edit pdf on mac

Step 2. Edit PDF on Mac

Now, if you want to edit the text in a PDF file, click the "Text" button on the left menu. Then go to the specific location in the file and double tap on it. Similarly, if you want to add new text, choose the "Add Text" button.

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edit a pdf on mac

Step 3. Annotate PDF on Mac

If you are filling out a form or want to highlight the text, add sticky notes, or add a stamp or signature on a page, click on the "Markup" option and it will open a new tab on the screen. Now, you can use different tools to annotate the document that you want.

edit a pdf on mac

Step 4. Convert PDF on Mac

Once you have edited the document, click on the "File" and select "Save" to save the document in PDF format. However, if you want to save a document other than the PDF document, click on "File" > "Export To" and select the appropriate format for the output document.

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edit pdf on mac 10.14

PDFelement is an all-in-one PDF editor and the best alternative for Preview on a Mac, including macOS 11. The main features of the versatile editor are:

  • Edit text, images, and pages on PDF to make changes as you want.
  • Introduce annotations over any part of PDF including highlights, freehand drawings, sticky notes, shapes, text boxes, and stamps.
  • Convert and create from or to PDF without losing the original layouts.
  • The OCR allows you to convert scanned PDFs into editable text. Work with multiple languages within the scanned PDF.
  • Protect PDFs with passwords and grant permissions for different functions including Edit, Print, Extract, and Copy.
  • Ready-made PDF form templates are available that can be easily edited to create customized PDF forms.
  • Digital signatures are encrypted as per industry standards.

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Free Download or Buy PDFelement right now!

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Audrey Goodwin

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