The best programs to edit PDF on Mac

PDF is a widely used file format, not only on a professional level. Most manuals, for example, are made in PDF. And there's a reason for that: whoever made it wanted the view to be exactly as they created it no matter what device would read it.

But there are instances when you might want to add notes, underline text, copy a paragraph, reduce the size so you can share, read, and perhaps archive it without it eating up all your available storage. If you work very often with PDF documents, then you should invest in buying Adobe Acrobat DC for Mac. But if this file format only comes into your hands once in a while, you can do very well with various free tools that do their job very well without making you spend a dime.

Apple Preview

It must be said that Apple has included the Preview application in its operating system that not only allows you to open and read a PDF file, but also to make some changes. You can highlight words and phrases in various colors, insert geometric shapes, arrows and comics, or insert custom text, or even add a handwritten signature in the file. There are also tools to rotate one or more pages at once. The changes, unless you have made a backup copy, will be saved to the original file. It's a lite tool, but one that will satisfy only a fraction of a user's potential needs. It is, all in all, an advanced viewer. That's why there's some free Mac software out there - not a lot of it, actually - for editing many other aspects of a PDF file.


Open source, easy to use, free and in Italian: Skim is probably one of the best PDF viewers for Mac out there. But calling it just a "viewer" is a bit reductive in light of the functions it brings in dowry. Skim also allows you to add and edit notes, and search for them using SpotLight and export them in text format, and also capture screenshots. There are also colorful markers, underlines, slashes, circles and squares, freehand doodles, bookmarks, magnification and cropping tools, convenient full-screen reading, and browsing via the table of contents or thumbnails. You can also make slideshows, use and save passwords to lock the document, and much more.

Free PDF Compressor

Here is a completely free Mac software for personal, but non-commercial use. It is a PDF document program that allows you to effectively reduce the size of files in this format. It's simple to use: select an existing PDF file, press the "Compress" button and it will begin the compression process, page by page, which you can keep an eye on thanks to a handy progress bar. Why should you need Free PDF Compressor? For various reasons. Some PDF files are large, especially those that contain many images, open slowly, take up valuable space and also take a long time to transfer and share. E non tutti, inoltre, dispongono di caselle di posta capienti da accogliere allegati troppo voluminosi La compressione, ovviamente, riduce leggermente la qualità del documento originale, ma offre anche il vantaggio di poterlo scaricare e leggere più agevolmente sui dispositivi portatili. Free PDF Compressor supporta cinque diverse impostazioni di compressione:

  • Schermo – bassa risoluzione, qualità ottimizzata per la sola visualizzazione a schermo, immagini a 72 DPI
  • eBook – risoluzione media, bassa qualità, immagini a 150 DPI
  • Stampante – alta qualità, immagini a 300 DPI
  • Prestampa – alta qualità, colori originali, immagini a 300 DPI
  • Predefinito – una vasta gamma di utilizzi, file di output più grande

Cinque impostazioni di compressione per tutte le possibili necessità: da file molto “leggeri" da leggere sui video dei cellulari fino a quelli di “prestampa" usati nel settore dell’editoria professionale.

PDF Reader Pro Free - All-in-One PDF Office

More than a software, the most appropriate term for PDF Reader Pro Free is a complete PDF management suite. First of all, there are numerous annotation options: you can highlight, underline, cross out, insert lines, circles, and freehand, as well as adding notes and comments that you can access easily and instantly. The "editing" section couldn't be more complete: it allows us to merge multiple files into one document, add a file - or even just a series of specific files - into an existing document, split a PDF file into multiple documents and specify the interval between them, rotate one or more texts, delete individual pages or crop them. PDF Reader Pro Free obviously also allows you to convert PDF to iWork, Microsoft Word, text, JPG, PNG and HTML files, as well as the main, if not all, reading modes: full screen, single page, landscape or portrait orientation, continuous and page break. The program also supports forms - so various types of checkboxes, combo and checkboxes, as well as bookmarks. There is also the Text-to-Speech feature that reads PDF aloud to you thanks to a speech synthesis system. What else to tell you about PDF Reader Pro Free? That it also comes with features to reduce PDF file size, set a password and permission to write, edit or print the file. Finally, there is also a handy toolbar that offers you quick access to the most used functions. And, last but not least, it's in Italian and it's free.


It's not exactly a tool specifically dedicated to PDF files, but it has always been known as an excellent open source productivity suite and a free alternative to Microsoft Office. LibreOffice, among its numerous options, also offers the one to manage and edit PDF files, as if they were Word documents. The suite lets you export PDF files - in a simple and fast way - in a "standard" format set up for fast sending not only by Writer, but also by Calc, Impress and Draw, with some small differences due to the difference of the various programs in the suite. If you're in a hurry, just choose the Export directly as PDF command, but in this case you won't be able to choose a page range, image compression, or other options that are, instead, present in the PDF Options dialog. To list all the options LibreOffice offers would take more than a book, but to summarize, within the five pages that make up the PDF Options area - General, Initial View, User Interface, Links, and Security - there is really everything, such as various types of image compression and exporting all elements in the document, or different ways of displaying them on screen. But what's important is that you can work on a PDF in LibreOffice as if it were a regular document.