XDA Basics: How to edit or combine PDF files on a Mac

XDA Basics: How to edit or combine PDF files on a Mac

Apple revealed the new MacBook Pro 2021 during its Unleashed Mac event last month. If you own a MacBook Pro, make sure to protect it with a case. macOS is a great operating system for productivity, especially handling documents. However, dealing with PDF files isn’t as straightforward as a Pages document. So here’s how to edit or combine PDF files on a Mac.

How to edit or combine PDF files on a Mac

macOS gives users the option to do some PDF editing without needing to download additional, third-party software. While there are some limitations on what a user can edit, the built-in editor still offers decent functionality. Whatever you plan to do with your PDF file, there are common first steps:

  • Open the Finder app from your Dock.
  • Navigate to the PDF file(s) you want to edit or combine.
  • Double click on the PDF file you want to deal with to open it in the Preview app.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Click on the Markup icon to show its toolbar. It’s the first icon, to the left of the search bar.

How to redact text in a PDF file on a Mac

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Tap the third icon on the Markup Toolbar.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Click, hold, and move the cursor across the text you would like to redact, like you’d usually select text.
  • Once you quit the PDF documents, the changes will be saved, and the text will remain redacted.

How to sketch or draw in a PDF file on a Mac

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Tap on the fourth or fifth icons on the Markup Toolbar to sketch or draw respectively.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Click, hold, and move your cursor around the PDF.
  • A sketch allows you to draw then optionally transform your doodle into an accurate geometrical shape, such as a circle.
  • Drawing allows you to just doodle freestyle.

How to insert shapes and arrows in a PDF file on a Mac

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Click on the sixth icon on the Markup Toolbar, which is a drop down menu.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Choose the shape or arrow you want to insert.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Drag and resize it as you see fit.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • You could even insert a magnification circle to bring a certain part of the PDF to the spotlight.

How to add text to a PDF file on a Mac

Adding text can come in handy when filling out a PDF form. Here’s how to do it:

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Click on the seventh icon on the Markup Toolbar.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Type the text you want to add in the text field that appears.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Drag it anywhere you want to place it.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • You can even change the font size, type, and color using the button at the very end of the Markup Toolbar.

How to sign a PDF file on a Mac

macOS offers three different ways to sign a PDF. To do so:

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Tap the eighth icon on the Markup Toolbar.
  • Choose:

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

    • Trackpad if you want to trace your signature on the Mac’s trackpad.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

    • Camera if you want to scan your signature from a white piece of paper, using your Mac’s webcam.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

    • iPhone if you want to use your iPhone’s touch screen to sign.
  • Hit done.
  • Click on it in the signature drop down menu.
  • Drag it to the respective signature place.

How to add a sticky note to a PDF file on a Mac

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Tap the ninth icon on the Markup Toolbar.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • A floating sticky note will appear. Type what you’d like to add.
  • Click anywhere to get it minimized.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Drag the minimized note to where you see fit.

How to rearrange the pages of a PDF file on a Mac

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • In the sidebar, drag the page thumbnail you want to relocate to the desired location inside the actual sidebar.

How to merge two PDF files on Mac

  • Open both PDF files you want to merge into one.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Select all or individual page thumbnails from one PDF’s sidebar.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Drop them in the sidebar of the second PDF file.

edit and merge pdf files on macOS

  • Rearrange them as you see fit, if necessary.
  • Voila! Your two PDF files will be merged into the one you’ve dropped into. You can then delete the one you’ve dragged from if you want to keep one PDF only.

macOS offers plenty of tools to edit PDF files without needing any additional software. While it doesn’t support all kinds of editing, it’s enough for most basic needs users tend to come across during their daily lives.

Do you use any third-party software to edit PDF files on your Mac? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached via [email protected] or the provided social links.