Best Ways to Edit a PDF on Windows and Mac

The PDF (Portable Document Format) enjoys a high level of popularity in the digital space. Its many features and multiplatform compatibility make it a preferred choice for sharing documents. Additionally, PDF files help reduce paper waste if used wisely.

There might be many reasons why you might want to edit a PDF file. Perhaps you want to use a PDF template, create digital notes, add signatures to PDF forms, or create a photobook using PDF pages. In this post, we show you the different approaches you can take to edit a PDF file on your Windows or Mac system.

Why Should You Choose an Online PDF Editor?

In today’s world of digital technologies, there is absolutely nothing that you won’t find online. There are many benefits to using cloud-based PDF editors in comparison to downloading an application. First and foremost, since these editors are online, they can be accessed from any device with an internet browser and not just your Windows and Mac systems.

Secondly, many online PDF editor tools are freemium and offer features you can use without spending, such as converting JPGs to PDFs like here. Another quality of such editors is that you don’t have to download any applications, as they utilize the power of cloud storage to get the work done. So, you don’t just save yourself the hassle of setting up software on your Windows or Mac computer, but you also save your computer’s precious resources.

Using online PDF editors is a pretty straightforward process. These sites are carefully designed and have an easy-to-navigate user interface that helps you get straight down to business. Additionally, you’ll find many helpful tools in addition to editing tools, such as PDF converters, PDF password tools, PDF compressors, and more.

Here’s a step-by-step look at how you can edit your PDF files on a site like these:

  1. The obvious first step is to click on your favorite browser in your Mac or Windows system and type the URL in the address bar.
  2. Once the page opens up, you will see a range of PDF tools to choose from. For our example, we will assume you want to edit your PDF file by adding text to it, which is one of the most common edits people make.
  3. You can choose the “Edit Tool” option, or select “Write” by clicking on “More” in the top menu bar.
  4. Once you’ve selected the tool you want to use, the tool’s page will open where you can upload your PDF file by dragging and dropping it or browsing through your computer’s file system.
  5. A minimalistic PDF editor will open with your file in the main editing window and the file’s page thumbnails in the preview window on the right.
  6. You can select the page you want to add the text to from the thumbnail pane, and it will become the active page.
  7. In the menu bar of the editor, click on the text tool. This will present you with a draggable text box that you can move around on the active page.
  8. When you’re happy with the text box position, you can choose the font size, font color, as well as formatting, and start typing.
  9. On completing the editing, you simply have to click the “Download” button on the bottom left, and your edited PDF will be downloaded to your system.

Can I Edit PDF Files In Microsoft Word?

Microsoft Word is one of the most popular text-processing applications that almost everybody uses. If you want to edit your PDF files as if they were Word documents, then we are happy to let you know that it’s possible!

The Word application can be used effectively to edit PDF files that are mostly text. Since Word will convert a PDF file into its default .docx format, any complex elements might not be formatted as they are in the original PDF. PDF files with unique characters, images, and other such elements, are not recommended to be edited using text processors.

Getting started with editing a PDF file on Word is easy:

  1. Open the Word application on your system, followed by selecting the PDF file you want to edit.
  2. Word will notify you using a dialog box that some components of the PDF file might not be formatted as they are after conversion. Click on the “Ok” button to proceed.
  3. Word will then convert your PDF file into an editable Word document, which you can edit as you would any other Word-compatible document.

An interesting thing about this approach is that you can save your PDF files in Word format. This allows you to make any future edits without having to repeat the whole process. If you want to convert the file to a PDF again, you just need to export the file into the Portable Document Format.

Edit PDF Files Using a Mac System’s Native Tools

If you’re a Mac user, you can take advantage of the Preview app, which is the default application for viewing PDF files. On some macOS, you might have the Quick Looks application, which works similarly to the Preview app.

Both apps are native to the macOS, so they don’t necessarily require any additional downloads to use. However, you cannot expect the full range of PDF editing tools with this application that you might find in dedicated PDF viewing and editing software.

  1. To get started with editing a PDF file with the Preview app, you need to open the file. Clicking on the PDF file should be enough for it.
  2. Next, you want to check if the Markup Toolbar is visible. If you cannot find it, then you’ll have to click on the Show Markup Toolbar button to turn it visible. From the toolbar, you can access a range of different markup tools to edit your PDF file.
  3. Let’s take the example of adding text to the file. To do this, you’ll have to select the Text tool from the toolbar. If you have a Touch Bar on your device, then markup tools can be accessed through it as well.
  4. Once you’ve clicked on the Text tool, a text box will appear on the document. Position the text box where you need it and adjust the font, and you can start typing.
  5. Preview files can be saved in two ways:
    1. The first method is to choose File > Print, and then select ‘Save as PDF’ to flatten the added text and other edits.
    2. However, if you want to keep the PDF file in an editable format, then use File > Save, File > Export, or File > Export to PDF to do so.

Edit PDF Files with the Well-Known Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a household name for anyone that deals with a load of PDF files on a daily basis. Of the many downloadable applications to edit PDFs, Adobe has mastered every possible tool you might need.

While the basic version of the application is useful for simple PDF viewing and editing, the advanced version offers many features, such as being able to convert scanned documents into editable PDF files. However, premium features will cost you.

Adobe Acrobat is worth the investment if you’ll be using it regularly. The application not only allows you to add text, convert files, add password protection and more, but with its premium version, you can create searchable files of just about any language, redact sensitive information, and use other enhanced features.

More Ways to Edit PDF Files on Windows and Mac

Since online editing tools are cloud-based services, you can use them to edit PDF files in a café, school, or just about any place with a good internet connection. On the other hand, the offline availability of downloadable PDF editors makes them worth the spend.

Furthermore, did you know image editors can be used to edit PDF files? Image manipulation tools like Microsoft Paint, Photoshop, Canva, and other such applications are also capable of editing PDF files on your Windows and Mac. These tools might be a better choice if you want to edit images within your PDF documents, though they also offer text tools.

The creative use of image editors can be helpful when you want to create colorful and fun PDF files, for example, for creating a wedding photo book, or posters for events. In particular, editors like Photoshop and GIMP allow you to open different pages as different layers, so these might be a better choice for big, multipage PDFs.

Overall, every PDF editing tool offers its own set of pros and cons. If you have complex requirements, you might need to use a variety of services to achieve the intended results. Try some different editors, and find the best way that works for you!