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pdf reader for mac

Best PDF Editors For Mac of 2024

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If you need to edit, annotate or convert PDFs on your Mac, we’ve looked at the best tools for editing PDFs on a Mac in 2024.

The PDF format is one of the most widely used and shared document formats on the internet but it’s not always easy to work with.

That’s because not all applications can open and edit the PDF format on a Mac.

In our extensive testing and reviewing, we found by far the best software for editing PDFs on a Mac is still Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

The PDF format was invented by Adobe so its no surprise that its still the most powerful tool on the market.

However, we found there are some very good alternatives to Acrobat Pro DC available including some excellent one off purchase PDF editing software.

There are even some free PDF editing software for Mac that while not as powerful, do allow basic editing of PDFs if you need a quick and easy solution.

With this in mind, here are the best apps for editing PDFs on a Mac in order of ranking.

1. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

adobe acrobat pro

Adobe invented the PDF format so it’s no surprise we found Adobe Acrobat Pro DC the best and most powerful PDF editor for Mac on the market.

The app is the more advanced version of Adobe Acrobat Reader For Mac (sometimes referred to as “Adobe For Mac”) as it lets you do pretty much anything with PDFs.

It works on both Mac and Windows PCs and allows you to create, edit and convert PDFs better than any other PDF software.

Whatever the document, Adobe Acrobat can turn it into a PDF simply by taking a photo and uploading it to Acrobat Pro DC.

This includes Microsoft Office documents including Excel and yet it will still allow you to edit tables in the PDF itself.

Alternatively, Adobe Acrobat will convert a PDF into a Microsoft Office document including PDF to Excel and PDF to Microsoft Word but still preserve the formatting better than any other PDF conversion tool.

In fact the format preservation in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is easily the best in any PDF editor and is one of the things that separates it from other PDF tools which often struggle to do this.

There is also Adobe Acrobat Standard DC which is slightly cheaper but note that there is no Mac version of Adobe Acrobat Standard.

You can try a free trial of Adobe Acrobat Pro to judge it for yourself.

Read our full review of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC for more.

Pricing: $19.99/m subscription or included for free in Creative Cloud (60% off for students). One-time purchase of Acrobat Pro also available.

Pros:

  • Allows you to do pretty much anything to a PDF
  • Available as a one time purchase too
  • Adobe invented the PDF format
  • Powerful Microsoft Office conversions preserve formatting
  • Generous student discounts on the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite
  • Works natively on Apple Silicon Macs

Cons:

  • Acrobat Standard version not available for Mac

2. FineReader PDF For Mac

finereader pdf mac

FineReader PDF For Mac (formerly ABBYY FineReader Pro For Mac) is the best alternative to Adobe Acrobat Pro and an incredibly powerful PDF editing and management tool.

ABBYY have been in the PDF business longer than most and the Windows version of FineReader PDF is probably the most widely used PDF software outside of Adobe’s Acrobat Pro DC.

The latest version uses AI technology to digitize, retrieve, edit, protect, share and collaborate on PDF documents. The AI engine has been recently updated to also offer some of the best OCR document scanning on the market.

FineReader PDF can also be used on mobile devices to take a picture of a document and then instantly convert it to PDF in the cloud.

Home users can currently get FineReader PDF For Mac for $69.00 per year.

There’s a free trial available too to test it first.

You can also read our full ABBYY FineReader PDF For Mac review for more.

Pricing: $69 with 15% discount

Pros:

  • Converts to edit PDF, Word, Excel and more
  • Maintains formatting of the original document
  • Works on mobile devices
  • Works on Apple Silicon Macs natively

Cons:

  • Updates for new versions of macOS are slow

3. PDF Expert

pdf expert

The great thing about PDF Expert is it’s made exclusively for Apple devices so it looks and works great on Mac, iPad and iPhones.

The other bonus is that that PDF Expert offers a lifetime license for $139.99 so you can use it for an unlimited time as long as it remains compatible with the latest versions of macOS.

The one time purchase of PDF Expert offers all the same features as the subscription version, minus mobile access and updates. The lack of update support means that eventually it will stop working with new releases of macOS but you should get many years of use out of it.

The app has a very clean interface that looks like it was made for macOS and iOS.

PDF Expert can edit PDFs, images and links as well as convert PDF documents to Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

It also supports OCR scanning and signing of documents plus text to speech.

Most recently PDF Expert has been updated to work natively with Apple Silicon Macs so it’s very fast an responsive on M-series Macs.

You can try PDF Expert for free to test it for yourself.

You can also check out our full PDF Expert review for more.

Pricing: $139.99 lifetime license or $79.99 per year

Pros:

  • Made specifically for Apple devices
  • Lifetime license plan available
  • Clean macOS style interface
  • Integrated with macOS Sidecar
  • Works seamlessly with iPads and iPhones
  • Native Apple Silicon version

Cons:

  • Lifetime license version doesn’t support mobile integration
  • Not cross platform, macOS and iOS only

4. pdfFiller

pdf editor mac - pdffiller

pdfFiller is an incredibly easy way to create, edit and manage PDF documents online.

The app is made by the creators of airSlate which is an all in-one document management and e-signing solution aimed at small businesses.

pdfFiller is an online PDF software that allows you to simply upload and edit or read PDF documents instantly.

You can upload any document in PDF format but it also supports DOC, DOCX, RTF, PPT, JPEG, PNG and TXT formats.

Its ideal for anyone that needs to edit PDF contracts, questionnaires, tax forms or application forms. You can edit any of the original content, highlight, blackout and erase text anywhere on a PDF.

You can instantly share PDFs including via text message, fax, USPS mail and even notarize them online.

If you want to create a PDF for collecting data and payments on your Mac, pdfFiller also has a huge library of fillable forms that you can customize and send to recipients on any device.

The app is also aimed at those that serve both US and European customers as it complies with both US and EU security and privacy standards including GDPR and HIPAA.

pdfFiller is free to try for 30 days with a long 180 day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.

You can also read our full pdfFiller review for more.

Pricing: Starts at $8 per month

Pros:

  • Edits any kind of PDF
  • Lots of templates to create your own PDF forms and contracts
  • Integrated with eSigning and document management software airSlate
  • Works on all Macs including Apple Silicon
  • Complies with highest security standards both in the USA and Europe
  • 180 day money back guarantee

Cons:

  • eSigning in pdfFiller not as widely accepted as Adobe Acrobat DC

5. Foxit PDF Editor

foxit pdf reader

Foxit PDF Editor is a multi-platform PDF editing and and viewing software that can form fill or sign PDFs across desktop, mobile and web.

If you just want to read and print a PDF Foxit makes it easy.

If you need to create PDF forms for filling in, PDF Foxit uses the more advanced Acroforms and XFA (XML Form Architecture) for form filling.

Foxit PDF Reader is suitable for individuals but also offers a powerful enterprise solution to integrate with cloud storage services and popular enterprise CMS software.

You can easily collaborate on PDFs with Foxit PDF Reader as well as add images, videos, and file attachments.

You can also protect and sign PDFs in Foxit PDF Reader in your own handwriting or use eSignature to verify the status of digital signatures.

Foxit PDF has some of the strongest security protocols in any PDF software on Mac we’ve seen too thanks to Trust Manager/Safe Mode, ASLR & DEP, Disable JavaScript and Security Warning Dialogs.

You can try a free trial of Foxit PDF Editor to test it for yourself.

You can also read our full review of Foxit PDF Editor for more.

Pricing: $79 Standard / $149 Pro

Pros:

  • Powerful PDF security features
  • Excellent for creating PDF forms
  • Integrated with cloud storage solutions

Cons:

  • High up-front cost

6. Nitro PDF Pro

nitro pro pdf mac

Nitro PDF Pro is a powerful PDF editor with a familiar Microsoft Office style ribbon style interface.

The software can edit, combine and convert documents to PDF including from Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

You can also eSign documents with Nitro PDF Pro although this costs extra and requires a subscription compared to the main product which you can purchase with a perpetual license.

The app also has an excellent integrated OCR scanner which can turn any document into a searchable PDF file in minutes.

Nitro PDF Pro is available in two versions from the Mac App Store.

The Pro version offers all PDF editing features for a one off payment of $139.99. Confusingly however, Nitro PDF Pro is $179.99 if you purchase directly from the Nitro website.

There’s also Nitro PDF Essentials which is available exclusively for Mac for a slightly lower one off payment of $119.99 but doesn’t include form building, OCR or PDF conversion tools.  Again, this costs slightly more on the Nitro website at $129.99.

You can also buy Nitro PDF cloud plans which are subscription only but include e-signing and can be used in any browser.

You can see a full comparison of all the Nitro PDF products here.

You can also try a 14 day free trial of Nitro PDF Pro for Mac.

Pricing: Nitro PDF Pro $139.99 one off payment / Nitro PDF Essentials $119.99 one off payment or Nitro PDF and eSign subscriptions starting at $14.99/month

Pros:

  • Microsoft Office style interface
  • Converts PDFs to other formats
  • Easy to use
  • Subscription and one time pricing available

Cons:

  • eSigning costs extra and requires subscription
  • Confusing pricing structure across products

7. Kofax Power PDF

kofax pdf editor one time purchase

Kofax Power PDF is simple and easy to use PDF editor that’s available both on subscription and as a one off purchase for both Mac and Windows.

It has an interface similar to Microsoft Office products so it will be familiar to anyone that’s used MS Office.

Kofax Power PDF doesn’t give you as much power to manage and edit PDFs like Adobe Acrobat Pro does but it’s enough for annotating pages, reordering pages and converting PDFs to other formats.

It also works across all platforms and the interface has recently been updated with a fresh look for macOS Ventura.

The security measures in Kofax Power PDF are also some of the best in any PDF editor including support for encrypted passwords and permissions as well as the ability to securely redact sensitive data.

You can also e-sign documents with Kofax Power PDF although for legally binding signature tracking you need to pay extra for the integrated SignDoc solution.

There’s also a free Kofax PDF mobile editing app which allows you to perform basic edits of PDFs and sign documents anywhere.

You can try Kofax Power PDF for free to test it first.

Pricing: $129 perpetual license

Pros:

  • Works on both Windows and Mac
  • Easy to use
  • Simple, clean interface
  • Secure redacting of sensitive data
  • One off purchase available

Cons:

  • Lacks advanced PDF editing tools
  • Mac version lacks some of Windows features

8. Soda PDF

pdf editor mac - soda pdf

Soda PDF is an online PDF editor which also has a desktop app for Mac users. The app works surprisingly fast online and is very responsive for a Cloud app.

The Mac desktop app allows you to do a certain amount of editing and PDF document management offline although some features are only available in the Cloud version.

Soda PDF is easy to use and allows you to view, edit and convert from different formats into PDF in the Standard version.

It also includes other tools such as OCR, digital signing, annotations and form building.

There’s also a tool to import documents you’ve edited and manged in Adobe Acrobat.

There are Soda PDF plans for both individuals and enterprises.

Unlike many PDF tools, the Soda PDF free trial doesn’t require any information from you and opens instantly in your browser. To save anything, you need to create an account however with your email address.

You can try Soda PDF for free to test it yourself.

Pricing: Starts at $10.00/month

Pros:

  • Very quick for an online app
  • Mac desktop app available
  • Free trial doesn’t require any information

Cons:

  • Not all features available in desktop mode
  • Advanced tools only in Pro subscription

9. Kdan PDF Reader Pro

kdan pdf reader pro mac

Kdan PDF Reader Pro is a PDF editor and reader that lets you view, edit, convert, and sign PDF documents on Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows.

It’s a more advanced version of Kdan PDF Reader which offers the ability to shift the page background to day, night or sepia to reduce eye strain.

Kdan PDF Pro allows you to fill-in forms and edit non-interactive PDF forms such as tax declarations and allows you to sign contracts and agreements with electronic signatures.

The app can also scan PDFs with OCR technology so that you can edit and search text in any PDF.

You can also convert a PDF file to an editable format in Microsoft Office, Text, HTML, RTF, ePUB or MOBI format.

The software does a good job of preserving tables, formatting and tables although you may find yourself having to make manual adjustments in more complex layouts.

You can also convert PDFs to slideshow mode to present PDFs with Kdan PDF Reader Pro.

Be aware that Kdan PDF Reader Pro sometimes tends to move text boxes and images around the page randomly if you try to adjust the formatting which can be quite frustrating to work with at times.

The standard version of Kdan PDF Reader starts at $89.99 with OCR and editing features available in the Pro version for $119.99.

Pricing: $89.99 Standard / $119.99 Pro

Pros:

  • PDF viewing modes to reduce eye strain
  • Easy to use
  • Converts to various formats
  • PDF presentation mode
  • Supports eSigning

Cons:

  • Formatting can be messy after conversions

10. PDF Reader Pro

pdf reader pro for mac interface

PDF Reader Pro is a popular PDF editor with plenty of tools to edit and manage PDFs.

It supports annotation, PDF editing, form filling, converting, creating, signing, bookmarking and protecting PDFs.

It also supports merging and combining multiple documents, splitting PDFs into multiple files and inserting pages from another PDF

If you struggle with long periods reading PDFs, the app also supports day, night and sepia reading modes to reduce eye strain.

You can convert PDFs to Word and other Microsoft Office formats although this costs extra on top of the $59.99 for the basic version.

PDF Reader Pro does a surprisingly good job of preserving the formatting of documents when converting including complex tables and bullet points.

It can also be used to scan and convert 50 different languages and batch convert multiple documents.

PDF Reader Pro costs $59.99 for the Premium version which includes OCR scanning but for Office export you’ll need to pay $79.99 for a permanent license.

However, you can currently get 50% off PDF Reader Pro for $29.97 from StackSocial.

You can also try PDF Reader Pro for free to test it for yourself.

Pricing: $59.99 Premium / $79.99 Permanent License

Pros:

  • Edits, converts and signs PDFs
  • Slick interface
  • Supports over 90 languages
  • Day, night and sepia modes

Cons:

  • Costs more for MS Office export support

What We Looked For In These PDF Editors

All PDF editing tools allow you to not only view PDFs but edit, annotate, convert and do pretty much anything you can with other document formats.

This is what makes them different from PDF readers such as Adobe Reader which can only view PDFs and allow basic PDF editing such as filling in forms.

For businesses, PDF editing apps can boost productivity by improving and streamlining your document management workflow.

We looked for Mac compatible PDF editors that support the most common uses including:

Is There an Apple PDF Editing Software?

The only Apple software that can open and edit PDFs on a Mac are Preview in macOS and to a more limited extent, Apple Books.

Preview can do basic tasks like filling-in PDF forms, signing documents, password protecting PDFs and combining PDFs but it can’t natively edit PDF documents.

Apple Books is only useful for reading and organizing PDFs on a Mac so not really suitable as a PDF editor.

For more on this, check out our guide on how to edit a PDF on a Mac.

Are There Any Free PDF Editing Apps For Macs?

If you just want to open, read or fill in PDF forms for free on a Mac, you can use either Adobe Acrobat Reader or macOS Preview for free.

However, neither Adobe Acrobat Reader or Preview allow you to to fully edit PDFs other than to fill in forms and do basic edits.

The Safari web browser also allows you to open PDFs in your browser window but does not allow you to do anything else to it.

You can also try using Skim which is a basic open source free PDF reader and note taking software for Mac which is mainly designed for annotating scientific papers but can be used with any PDF document.

To fully edit PDFs on a Mac using you need to use a full PDF editor.

The PDF software reviewed here offer far more control and power over what you can do with a PDF on your Mac compared to free PDF software and and work on all versions of macOS including M1 and M2 chip Macs.

For more, check out our look at the best free PDF editors for Mac.

Are These PDF Editors Secure?

All of the PDF editors reviewed here use strong encryption to protect your data both offline and online.

Many of them are Cloud based and encrypt data transfers back and forth so that your PDFs can’t be accessed or read if they were intercepted.

However, because you are uploading files to servers in the Cloud, there’s always going to be a risk that your data could be compromised if there was a hack.

Are There Any One Time Purchase PDF Editors For Mac?

One problem with a lot of PDF software is that they require an annual or monthly subscription but there are some PDF editors that are one time purchase only with a perpetual license.

The best of these is easily Adobe Acrobat’s one time purchase version but there are others available.

For more on this check out our guide to the best one time purchase PDF editors.

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