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If you need to edit, annotate or convert PDFs on your Mac, we’ve looked at the best PDF editors and readers for Mac of 2022.

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.

We’ve therefore looked at the best PDF editors and viewers for Mac that make it easy to open, edit and convert PDF documents on macOS including on Ventura, Monterey, Catalina, Big Sur and the latest M1 and M2 Macs.

In our research, we found by far the best PDF editor for Mac is Adobe Acrobat Pro which is no surprise as Adobe originally invented the PDF format.

It’s also the best PDF editor for Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs too as it works natively without the need for Rosetta in macOS.

It also works natively on the latest version of macOS Ventura.

What Is PDF Editor & Reader Software?

Most PDF software for Mac allow you to not only view PDFs but edit, annotate, convert and do pretty much anything you can with other document formats.

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

Some of the most common uses of PDF editing software are to:

Does Apple Have a PDF Editing Software?

The only Apple software that can open and edit PDFs are Preview in macOS and Apple Books.

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

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

Is There A Free PDF Editor Or Reader For Mac?

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 edit PDFs other than to fill in forms.

To edit PDFs on a Mac you need to upgrade to Adobe Acrobat Pro.

You also have to download and install Adobe Reader first whereas Preview is free in macOS.

Preview is very basic and only suitable for reading PDFs, adding passwords and filling in forms.

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.

There’s also 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.

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.

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With this in mind, here are the best PDF editors for Mac of 2022 in order of ranking.

1. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

best pdf editor mac - adobe acrobat pro

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

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 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 including editing.

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

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC also works natively on Apple Silicon M1/M2 Macs which means it is optimized for the latest generation of Macs.

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 will still allow you to edit tables.

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.

Acrobat Pro DC is part of Adobe’s amazing Creative Cloud group of products and if you’re a student or educator, you should seriously consider an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription as Adobe is offering 60% off Creative Cloud.

For this, you not only get Adobe Acrobat Reader Pro DC but also all of Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite including Photoshop, InDesign and Adobe Premiere.

On its own Adobe Acrobat Pro costs $19.99 per month but there are special business pricing plans for teams.

There is also Adobe Acrobat Standard DC which is slightly cheaper at $12.99 per month but there is no Mac version of the Standard version – it’s Windows only.

You can also buy Acrobat Pro as a onetime purchase but only for the older version of Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 which doesn’t integrate with Adobe Document Cloud or receive updates.

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

You can check out our full review of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC for more.

Pricing: $19.99/m or 60% off Creative Cloud

Pros:

  • Allows you to do pretty much anything to a PDF
  • Adobe invented the PDF format
  • Powerful Microsoft Office conversions preserve formatting
  • Generous student discounts on the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite
  • Works on M1/M2 Macs
  • Works on the latest version of macOS Ventura

Cons:

  • Acrobat Standard version not available for Mac

2. pdfFiller

pdf editor mac - pdffiller

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

pdfFiller is 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.

pdfFiller is also idea for 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 M1/M2 Macs
  • 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

3. ABBYY 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.

FineReader PDF 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.

FineReader PDF offers different solutions for enterprises and individuals. Home users can currently get 15% off FineReader PDF For Mac for a limited period.

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

Pricing: $85 with 15% discount

Pros:

  • Converts to edit PDF, Word, Excel and more
  • Maintains formatting of the original document
  • Works on mobile devices
  • Works on M1/M2 Macs natively

Cons:

  • Updates to new versions of macOS are slow

4. Kdan PDF Reader

kdan pdf reader

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Adobe Acrobat Pro, then Kdan PDF Reader may be for you.

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

Kdan PDF is very good at smooth page scrolling and allows you to shift the page background to day, night or sepia to reduce eye strain. You can also use a slideshow mode to present PDFs.

Kdan PDF Reader is suitable for fillable and non-interactive PDF forms such as tax declarations and allows you to sign contracts and agreements with electronic signatures.

You can edit text in PDFs although the text editor in the Mac version is still only in beta version and changing the text font and size of the original text may not work well.

Kdan PDF Reader also allows you to convert a PDF file to an editable format in Microsoft Office, Text, HTML, RTF, ePUB or MOBI format.

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

However, Kdan PDF Reader lacks many essential PDF management features such as the ability to print custom pages and limited text editing in the Mac version.

Kdan PDF Reader also tends to move other things around the page randomly if you try to adjust the formatting and 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:

  • Lots of PDF management tools
  • Easy to use
  • Converts to various formats

Cons:

  • Text editing limited in the Mac version
  • Formatting can be messy after conversion

5. PDF Reader Pro

pdf reader pro mac

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

PDF Reader Pro supports Annotation, Editing, Form filling, Converting, Creating, Signing, Bookmarking and Protecting PDFs.

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

PDF Reader Pro can also convert PDFs to Word and other Microsoft Office formats but 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 including complex tables and bullet points.

PDF Reader Pro can also 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.

Pricing: $59.99 Premium / $79.99 Permanent License

Pros:

  • Edits, converts and signs PDFs
  • Slick interface
  • Supports 50 languages

Cons:

  • Costs more for MS Office export support

6. FoxIt PDF Editor

foxit pdf reader

FoxIt PDF Reader is a multi platform PDF editor and viewer that can form fill and sign PDFs across desktop, mobile and web.

If you just want to reading 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.

Pricing: $182.85 Standard / $228.85 Pro

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • High up-front cost

About The Author

Author

MacHow2 is devoted to helping you get the most of of your Mac. We're passionate about all things Mac whether it's helping users with software recommendations or solving technical problems. If you've got any comments about this article, get involved by leaving a comment below. You can also contact us directly using the contact form at the top of the site. Please note that in the interests of transparency, MacHow2 may sometimes receive compensation from link clicks or vendors.

3 Responses

  1. Hamish

    What is your preferred method of creating PDFs – from Office, Pages etc?

    Printing to PDF? Sometimes web links embedded in Word documents don’t work using this approach.

    Exporting to PDF – web links work this way.

    Years ago there was Adobe PDF distiller but I don’t that that is a think any more.

    What do you propose?

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      Usually selecting the “Print to PDF” option is the best method. Adobe Distiller is now part of Adobe Acrobat DC so for creating PDFs of any kind, it’s still your best option.

      Reply
  2. fewerjunk

    I really appreciate your pros and cons. Here’s what I tried. Converting a document created from another document into LibreOffice. Converted to a PDF. Then another document based on user input created as a PDF online. The document I created from scratch in LibreOffice converted into a PDF then back into a document converted just fine – including graphics. The document created from user input online displayed fine as a PDF, but, no matter what I tried, what software I tried, I got gibberish. I went to Adobe’s online conversion site from PDF to word. Two documents, both worked – with graphics.

    Something suggests to me that Adobe is protecting its investment. Encryption is one thing. This suggests to me that perhaps it’s not just a matter of encryption (or not) since there were no passwords involved.

    Reply

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