How to edit a PDF on Mac for free

Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
October 25, 2022
7 minutes to read

PDF is a widely used format for documents that you can open on any platform, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, or iOS. However, when you need to edit a PDF file on Mac, add text to PDF, delete a page in PDF, things might get complicated for Mac users. In this article, we will explain how to edit a PDF on Mac for free, without using any Adobe applications. Edit PDF on Mac


  1. What is a PDF file?
  2. How to edit a PDF file on Mac for free.
  3. How to annotate a PDF on Mac.
  4. How to delete a page in PDF on Mac.
  5. How to rearrange pages in PDF on Mac.
  6. How to merge PDF documents on Mac.
  7. FAQ.

A tip for the Mac users who have a large number of documents on Mac

Working regularly with documents and files on a Mac can lead to the accumulation of many duplicate files. Duplicates can be a result of accidental copies, downloading the same file twice, or moving the copies of the files to other folders on Mac and then forgetting about them. Since duplicate files can have different names, you might not even be aware that they exist on your Mac. Fortunately, you can check your Mac for duplicates with a free application called Duplicate File Finder.

Duplicate File Finder finds duplicates of any type of file on Mac (duplicate pictures, videos, music, documents, and so on) and also helps you to organize your duplicates by merging similar folders. Download it for free from the App Store and check your Mac for duplicates.


Duplicate File Finder

Free Download

What is a PDF file?

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a special format of electronic documents that can be opened on any operating system. All you need to open PDF files is a document viewer on your device that supports the PDF format.

The PDF format is usually used for various forms of documentation including user manuals, electronic books, application forms, and scanned documents.

There are lots of third-party applications (free and paid) for Mac that allow opening and editing PDF files. You can also use a default Apple application called Preview to open, draw on a PDF, annotate a PDF file or add something else to the PDF using the editing mode. Read on to learn how to edit a PDF on Mac.

How to edit a PDF file on Mac for free

With the default Apple application called Preview, you can edit PDF on Mac absolutely for free. The Preview app has a wide range of editing options that might be enough if you just want to annotate your PDF and make some little changes, like deleting a single page or adding some text, notes, shapes, etc.

How to edit a PDF on Mac with Preview:

  1. Right-click your PDF and select to open it with Preview. context menu for a PDF file on Mac
  2. Click on the Markup icon located in the upper right corner of the PDF page.
  3. It will open the toolbar with PDF editing options. a PDF file in Preview mode on Mac with the editing icon highlighted
  4. Make the necessary changes to a PDF. Use the appropriate tools to add notes, sign the documents, type text on PDF, draw elements, and so on. a PDF file showing some editing tools in the Preview app
  5. Once you’ve finished editing your PDF, click to close it and confirm saving changes. confirmation window to save edits in a PDF on Mac

If you need to save the original PDF file as well, do the following:

  1. In the menu bar, click Edit.
  2. Select Export as PDF. Preview menu with the Export as PDF option highlighted
  3. In the window that appears, choose a folder where you want to save the edited PDF and then click on Save.
  4. Close the original PDF file without saving the changes. You will have to click on Revert Changes.

After these steps, you will have both the original and edited PDF files on your Mac.

Another method to keep your original PDF file is to create a copy and then edit the duplicate file. You can create a duplicate in the Preview menu → File → Duplicate.

How to annotate a PDF on Mac with Preview:

With the Preview app, you can also easily annotate any PDF. For this, do the following:

  1. Open a PDF file with Preview.
  2. Click on the Highlight and Notes icon in the top bar.
  3. Select one of the options you need: underline text, highlight text, or strikethrough text. You can also choose a color for the highlighted text. macleaner pro user guide
  4. Another way to enable annotating and editing tools for your PDF file is to go to the Preview menu → click ToolsAnnotate → and select the needed option. Here, you can also select some more options for editing and annotating a PDF on Mac:

    • Select text
    • Redact text
    • Select text with a Rectangular Selection
    • Add Bookmark

How to delete a page in PDF on Mac

The Preview app on Mac allows you also to delete single pages in a PDF file. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Open a PDF with Preview.
  2. Go to the Menu bar, click on View, and select Contact Sheet. Preview menu bar showing the Contact Sheet option
  3. You will see all pages of your PDF files as a sheet. Select the page you want to delete. To select multiple pages just press and hold the Shift key. The Contact Sheet mode of a PDF file showing all pages
  4. Go to the menu bar → click on Edit → select Delete.Preview menu showing the option to delete a page in PDF

The selected pages will be deleted from your PDF file. Do note that there is no confirmation window when deleting a page from a PDF document, so be careful not to delete an important page. If you delete something by mistake, press Command+Z to undo the action. Even if you can’t undo the action, don’t worry: you can revert changes in your PDF.

How to rearrange pages in PDF on Mac

  1. Open a PDF with Preview.
  2. In the Preview menu, click View → select Contact Sheet. This will give you an overview of all the pages in the PDF document.
  3. Select a page and drag it to move and reorder pages.
The Contact Sheet mode of a PDF file showing all pages

Another method to rearrange pages in PDF is the following:

  1. In the Preview app, click to show the Thumbnails.
  2. Select a page in the sidebar and drag it to move. rearranging pages in PDF thumbnails

How to merge PDF files on Mac

The default Apple Preview can also be perfect for merging PDF files and combining multiple documents or single pages from the files into one PDF file.

Here is how to merge PDF documents:

  1. Open a PDF file with Preview.
  2. Make Thumbnails visible in the document’s sidebar.
  3. In Finder, select another PDF file that you want to combine.
  4. Drag and drop it to the Thumbnail sidebar after the page where you want it to start.
  5. Close a PDF and save the changes.

If you want to merge a single or multiple pages from another PDF document, do the following:

  1. Open both PDF documents with Preview.
  2. Make the Thumbnails sidebar visible in both PDF documents.
  3. Drag and drop the pages from one document’s sidebar to another sidebar.
  4. Save changes and close PDF.


With the built-in Apple Preview app, you can edit a PDF on Mac absolutely free of charge. For most users, its editing and annotation tools are sufficient for making necessary changes. If you regularly work with PDF files at a more professional level, then we recommend using third-party applications designed to edit a PDF on Mac. Also, don’t forget to regularly clean up your Mac and remove any unneeded duplicate PDF files. You can easily accomplish this by installing the free application Duplicate File Finder.



Do Macs have a PDF editor?
How can I edit a PDF on a Mac without Adobe?
How do I delete part of a PDF?
Scroll to Top