Mar 25

If you’ve ever been given a pdf file that you want to edit, or a pdf form that you need to complete and return electronically, you’ll realise that it’s not obvious how to edit a pdf file in OS X. You can make simple changes to a pdf file using the free built in Preview App that comes free with OS X. Here’s how.

If you double click on any pdf file in OSX it will open in an application called Preview.  Preview has a hidden “Annotations Toolbar’ that will allow you to edit the pdf file.  You can’t change what’s already in the pdf document.  But you can do minor changed like adding your own text and graphics, so this method will allow you to complete a form or make minor additions.

For full pdf editing capabilities (for example adding paragraphs of text, moving pictures around on a page etc) you need to get some fully blown pdf editing software like Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Acrobat Professional. But these cost hundreds of dollars. The good news is that ‘Preview’, the built in OS X pdf reader app, has some basic pdf editing abilities built in.

Here’s how to use the Annotations Toolbar.

CONTINUE READING >

88 Responses to “How to edit a pdf document in OS X”

  1. Wayne says:

    Connie, that means you are looking at the file in the Safari application, not Preview application. Somewhere along the line you must have chosen to open pdf files in Safari instead of Preview.

    You will need to ”ight click’ (control click) on the pdf file and select ‘Open With’ and select ‘Preview’. Then follow instructions as above.

  2. Colleen says:

    In my version of preview I have a button next to the search field in Preview that looks like a pencil – when i click on this it gives me the toolbar.

    Wayne – THANK YOU! This will save me so much printing/scanning

  3. Michael Dodge says:

    This fix does not seem to work on Yosemiti

    • Mach1 says:

      It looks like in Yosemiti one can
      -in Preview toolbar – select ‘View’ -‘Show Markup Toolbar’
      I think this is a fantastic tool!!

  4. Caroline Edge says:

    Hi! This is a great help. My only problem now is that the text that I enter is formatted to appear central whereas i would like it to be left aligned or even justified. Is there a way of doing this?
    Thx!

  5. Edith says:

    The pdf document came up in Preview, but there is no “show annotations” on the toolbar. What now?

  6. Bryan says:

    Echo Edith’s comment above: no “show annotations”

  7. Pauline says:

    Hi ok, fantastic. Did all of the above on preview to add some text to a business card which was sent to me via pdf. I saved it. Happy days, it looks great when I reopen the pdf and is now there but…when i go to upload it to Vistaprint its not showing the edited image only original. What am I doing wrong guys?

  8. Jonathan says:

    I can edit and add. But when I want to print, the document comes as it where originally. How can I print it with the edited text I just did?

    • Wayne says:

      That’s strange it should print with the edited version, Anyone else had this problem?

    • Suhas says:

      Hi, Me too had a Same problem while printing the edited version of pdf, However the solution i figured it out that i exported the said pdf into word and then printed.
      It fixed !

  9. Cathy says:

    Wayne, thanks for this.
    Is it possible to use the editing features in this way, ie, strike through, highlight, etc? Or can we only use comment boxes?

    Also, can u tell me how to print? When I try to print a 4-pg document, it all goes onto one page. I can’t figure out how to print it like a regular 4-page doc.
    Thanks in advance :)

  10. ID says:

    Nice! Helped a lot, saved me about $30 for a minor change

  11. Roman says:

    Super! I did not know the Preview app could do this! The menu option is called “Show Markup Toolbar” in my case.

    Thanks!

  12. Sunny says:

    VERY helpful, thank you so much for posting this simple solution to filling in pdf’s.

  13. Judi says:

    I opened my pdf in Preview. I opened the annotations toolbar, however nothing appears at the bottom of the window so I cannot add the rectangle. Now what?

  14. Abir El Shaban says:

    Thank you! This is really helpful…
    Regards
    Abir

  15. Hoku says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it was the only site that provided helpful information FREE and with visuals so the directions were easier to understand.

  16. Gerry says:

    Thank you so much – this worked great!

  17. Shirah Bell says:

    I find I am not able to edit or annotate PDF documents that I have gotten from scanning pages from paper or books in Preview (on my macbook pro). Can anyone tell me what is happening there, and recommend how to edit/annotate pages in PDF format that have come from my scanner? I would love to use Preview to do this, but if I have to use other (inexpensive) software to do it that also would be OK.
    Thanks very much,
    Shirah

  18. karen says:

    I did all the above and then saved the additions by exporting. now i have opened the document and the comments are unable to be viewed just yellow note squares. How can I revive the comments?

  19. riddly says:

    or download acrobat pro for a load of easy and useful tools…. http://download.cnet.com/Adobe-Acrobat-DC-Pro/3000-18497_4-10769318.html

  20. Kim DeMotte says:

    My white broad borders print out black…wth?

  21. Bud says:

    I have a 2010 MacBook running OSX El Capitan. So I tried your instructions on editing a PDF (Acrobat) and when I clicked 2x on the document, Preview did not open. Am I doing something wrong. HELP.

    • Wayne says:

      It should open, but if it doesn’t, you could try right click and ‘Open with Preview’
      Or you could go into the Applications folder on your computer and find Preview and drag the PDF file onto the preview app icon,
      Or you could choose ‘Open’ from the ‘File’ menu in the Preview application.

  22. Wu Ming says:

    Hi,

    I appreciate your taking the time to put these instructions online. However, they don’t work for me, either– in fact so far all the instructions I’ve found on how online to comment on a .pdf tell me to click on a menu item that does not exist and does not show up when I look at the .pdf in front of me. I have tested all the possibilities in Mac’s Preview and in the .pdf’s toolbars.

    For example, you say that if I go to View in Preview, I will see “Show Annotations Toolbar.” It’s not there.

    I have a 2013 Macbook running Yosemite.

    • Wayne says:

      You are correct, thank you for this.
      It looks like Apple have changed “annotations toolbar” to “markup toolbar” in Yosemite and El Capitan.

  23. Apollonia says:

    Thanks, it was a little tedious, but good.

  24. Dean says:

    I have been filling in a lot of forms in PDF using the preview app. I find it very useful and easy to use. From time to time I have needed to strike through some of the text and now and again I have needed to change my mind on some of the text being struck through. Does anyone know how to undo the strike through? If it cant be done its good to know but if it can be done then that would be better. Thanks for your help in advance.

  25. SusanB says:

    I enter text onto a PDF form for my work using Preview. I save the PDF onto my desktop and it looks fine, the text is seen on the form. I then send the fax to a client using an online fax service and am seeing that the form is appearing blank upon receipt by the client.

    Is there anyway to correct this? I found this online:

    http://kb2.adobe.com/community/publishing/885/cpsid_88564.html

    Thank you!

    • Wayne says:

      wow – if that’s a know problem since 2010 it’s a wonder Apple havn’t addressed it.

      Try ‘print’ the ‘save to pdf’?

      Try opening in Adobe Acrobat Reader and see what you get.

      Try editing in the free version of adobe acrobat reader?

  26. SusanB says:

    Wayne:

    I did use when printing “save to PDF”. Then I used Adobe Reader to open that file and THEN saved it as an Adobe PDF. This seems to have worked!

    Thank you!!!!!

  27. Maria says:

    Love it! Thank you so much.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2013 Wayne Connor. All rights reserved. | Hosted on bluehost.com Click here to find out why.
preloadpreloadpreload
css.php