Best 2019 PDF Editors for Mac

Best 2019 PDF Editors for Mac

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n the era of full digitalization, when all business goes online, one can’t spend a day without opening a PDF file. All in all, this format is one of the most popular ones - it is free, interactive, and preserves the original formatting. No one will do something to your layouts, fonts, images and so on.
Adobe developed PDF in the 90s, still, it was copyrighted, and became an open format in late 2008. This means that people can now use the format for free without mentioning Adobe in every PDF.
You might agree that using PDFs is convenient. But what app do you use for working with such files? Let’s take a look at the best PDF readers and editors for Mac. This is my own TOP list, you can disagree with what I’m saying now. 

Let’s go!


How to Choose a PDF Editor for Mac

Many apps can open PDFs and even modify and edit them. The only problem that when it comes to Mac apps, each of them has its own function - whether it is editing, modifying or just opening. Having all of them might be costly!

One more trick is that you can’t just open Google and search ‘free PDF editor for Mac’, as there are a lot of apps with malware and viruses. I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing that. The best option is to get apps from the App Store or from official sites of developers.
Luckily, you have this guide below, so let’s see which apps can be fully trusted.


Apple Preview - PDF Reader

This application is a built-in software on your Mac. It can view any images and PDF documents. It’s free and accessible to everyone who has a Mac or a MacBook.
I can’t call it an app for PDF editing, though, it performs simple tasks people need daily - searching for specific text in documents, writing comments, signing contracts, and so on.

You can configure this software:

  1. Run Apple Preview from Launchpad or Dock.
  2. Find ‘View’ in the menu.
  3. Set zoom, scroll, and use the toolbar as you need.

Here’s how to modify PDFs in Apple Preview:

  1. Go to ‘Tools’ in the menu.
  2. Select ‘Annotate’.
  3. Choose from notes, signatures, shapes and other options. 

Don’t forget to save the file while editing - do that with the key combination Cmd+S. Also, you can export your file by navigating to ‘File’ and then ‘Export’.

The first and foremost advantage of Apple Preview is its integration to every MacOS. So, working with it is as natural as working with the Mac itself.


Adobe Acrobat Reader and Its Benefits for Mac

This app was one of the first and widespread apps after Apple Preview. I can say that it’s a solid expert software for reading and editing PDF documents on Mac. Still, the only downside of this app is its price. You have to pay $25 monthly, but this price is reduced in case you’re buying an annual subscription - then the cost will be only $15 per month.
The initial version of Adobe Acrobat Reader seems very similar to Apple Preview, as its functions are the same. To open more of them, you have to sign up for a free Pro trial and pay for the subscription once the trial ends.

Anyway, even if you decide to keep its free version, you’ll be able to fulfill your user needs:

  1. Install the app to your Mac. You can get it from the adobe.com website.
  2. Open a PDF file.
  3. Go to the ‘Tools’ bar in the menu on the top.
  4. Choose what you need and select specific tools once you are back in the PDF document.

If you select what needs upgrading to the Pro version, Acrobat Reader will offer this on the website, so you could open access to these tools.

So, I can honestly state that Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac is a full toolkit. It is much more powerful than Apple Preview, though, all these tools are paid and the app itself may work a bit slower, as it was not originally designed for MacOS.

Still, is Acrobat Reader from Adobe is the most powerful PDF editor? Let’s find out…


PDFpen - Full-fledged Editor for PDF files on Mac

This app is more straightforward and lets you edit your PDF documents:

  • Add text and pictures,
  • Fix typos,
  • Convert sensitive information,
  • Fill out various forms.

Also, PDFpen features optical character recognition (OCR) feature. This means you can open scanned documents with it and import them to Microsoft Word or other text editors.

How to use PDFpen:

  1. Open a PDF file.
  2. In the menu bar, find the icon which can switch between shapes and text.
  3. Use any tools to enhance your PDF file. Access them from the ‘Tools’ menu.

I’d like to note that highlighting is the most commonly used feature in PDF editors on Mac. PDFpen greatly deals with this task. Choose a color and select the tool in the bar. Then, hold and hover the cursor over the text you want to highlight.

Here’s how OCR works in PDFpen (you won’t need any AI knowledge - this just works!):

  1. Navigate to ‘File’, click ‘Open’ (or use the key combination Cmd+O).
  2. Select your file or image.
  3. Check the applying languages.
  4. Turn the file to OCR document or OCR page.
  5. Edit the image and export it once you’re done!


How to Use Professional PDF Search

When working with tons of PDFs on a daily basis, some of them inevitably get lost somewhere in the tabs. Just imagine hundreds of pages opened, so finding a piece of text might be a problem.
PDF Search is the app which can solve this issue - your excellent assistant in finding something among piles of texts.

When you open PDF Search for the first time, it will index your folders with PDF documents, this may take some time, but later, you won’t have any problems with searching for text, phrases, pages, etc.
Put what you need to the search bar, press ‘Enter’ and you won't have to wait long for instant results!

To draw a bottom line, I’d like to note that options of free PDF editors can seem infinite, but not all of them are the best fit for each user. Some of them perform well while reading, some are suitable for editing, and some - for searching.
Decide what you need and choose any of the above-mentioned applications - they all are great and safe for your Mac.