Working with Mac OS

Find out how to edit a PDF file on Mac or MacBook

Although theoretically they are visualization files, it is also possible to edit PDF files. A Mac is a good computer to carry out this task.

A PDF file is usually compatible with any type of interface or operating system, so it is often used.

In fact, many books, guides, and manuals are often created in PDF files. They usually include text and images (although they can also contain videos and audio clips).

The PDF format is built “inside the Mac operating system, so you can preview it, open it and even edit your PDF without having to install programs or applications.

When you open a PDF with the Mac OS X previewer, you can also enjoy various tools and utilities hidden in plain sight. Here we discover some of them.

1. Create a PDF on Mac using the print option

It’s easy to create PDF documents on Mac OS X, it’s so easy that it can even be done through the print menu:

  1. Open the document you want to convert to PDF.
  2. Choose the option ‘File> Print’.
  3. Click on ‘PDF’ at the bottom left of the print menu and choose the option ‘Save as PDF’.
  4. Choose a name for the PDF in the section ‘Save as’.
  5. Choose the folder where you want to save your PDF.
  6. Click on ‘Keep’.
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Easy right? You can find the PDF you just saved in the folder you have selected. Click on it to preview it.

If you are interested in the process in reverse, that is, convert a PDF to Word and other formats, Do click in the link.

2. Quick PDF Preview on Mac Os X

You can preview any PDF document in ‘Finder’ pressing the space key. Tapping the space bar on Mac OS X will open Quick Look with the document you want to view.

If the PDF has more than one window, you can swipe down to go from one page to another.

There is a button ‘To open’ in the upper right corner in case you want to open the file, and another button that allows you to share, if you want to send the PDF by email or messages to another person.

3. Choose to view the PDF in the Mac OS X previewer or in Adobe Acrobat

PDF files are usually opened in the Mac OS X previewer by default. Although we love this Mac tool, sometimes a particular PDF may work a little better in Adobe Acrobat, (especially if there are links and videos in the PDF).

You can download Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Adobe page and use it to view PDF files.

Once downloaded you will only have to drag the PDF file to the Adobe icon in the ‘Dock’ so that it opens with Adobe instead of with the default Mac program.

You can also make Adobe the default program for opening PDF files:

  1. Locate the PDF file in Finder and click once to select it (don’t open it).
  2. Choose ‘File> Get Info’, or press ‘Command + I’.
  3. Click on the section ‘To open with’ and choose the Adobe Reader option.
  4. To finish, click on ‘Change everything…’.
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From now on, every time you double-click to open a PDF file, it will open with Adobe Reader instead of the Mac OS X preview.

4. Underline, highlight and mark text in Preview


You can highlight or underline PDF text in preview mode. Click on the pen icon on the top menu bar, click and drag across the text you want to underline.

If the original file is locked, then the preview mode will create a duplicate for you to edit (an alert will appear).

There are different colors for the underline, in addition to the option of “strikethrough”.

5. Rotate the PDF in Preview

You can rotate your PDF document by clicking the button ‘Rotate’, right next to the underline. When you click, the document will rotate 90 degrees clockwise.

6. Annotate your PDFs in Preview

You can write notes in your PDFs in the preview mode of Mac OS X. To do this go to the tab ‘Display’, and select the option ‘Show markup toolbar’.

A bar will appear with many more editing options: text, rectangular selection, oval, lines, text notes and signature.

7. Add arrows to your PDF

You can use the ‘Line’ tool in the edit bar to add arrows to your PDF. These arrows can be very useful for highlighting important parts of your PDF.

  1. Open the PDF in preview mode.
  2. Click on ‘View> Show Markup Toolbar’.
  3. Click on the line icon.
  4. Click on the icon with three horizontal lines to choose the shape of the line.
  5. Click the part of the PDF where you want the arrow to start and drag in the direction you want it to end.

Besides arrows, you can use shapes like ovals or rectangles to draw on your PDF file.

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8. Add text to a PDF in Preview

You can add text to your PDF files in preview mode. That extra text can be very useful to annotate topics that you consider important in the PDF document.

  1. 1. Click ‘Show markup toolbar’.
  2. Click the icon ‘Text’.
  3. Use the color, font and size icons to choose how you want the text to be added to be.
  4. Click on the PDF and type.

9. Add notes to a PDF in Preview

You can add notes to a PDF document. This differs from the previous point because the text will not be part of the article itself, but will be comments and annotations that will be left in the margin of the file.

Click on the option ‘Show markup toolbar’ and select ‘Notes’. Click on the part of the PDF where you want to add the note and just type.

The notes that you leave in the preview mode will also be seen if you open the PDF with other applications or programs such as Adobe Reader.

10. Add a signature to your PDF in preview

You can use your MacBook’s iSight camera to scan the signature and add it to your PDF document.

Sign on an A4 size sheet of paper and click ‘Preferences> Signatures> Create signature’. You can scan the signature with your MacBook camera, and it will be added to your PDF documents.

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