15 Best Free PDF Editor for Mac [Incl. M1/M2] 2024

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Bianca Huang
February 05, 2024 Preview 216.3K Preview 6
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With a good PDF editor you can directly edit PDF files without converting it to a document format first. There are even free PDF editors that can help you easily add text, replace images, compress PDF files, rotate pages, sign PDF files, etc. 

Here we have done the testing and collect a list of 15 free PDF Editor for Mac users. Including both offline and online PDF Editors. We take an in-depth look at each PDF Editors, from editing functions, whether there is watermark after saving the file and list all pros and cons, please read on and find the free Mac PDF editor that suits you needs the best.

 

Part 1. Is There a 100% Free PDF Editor?

Yes, of course. There are some 100% free PDF editors on the software market. Whether you want to edit PDF online or offline, there is always one for you.

For users who need to handle PDF tasks for a short time, we have found some PDF editor which offer their function completely free for sometime or we introduce some built-in tools like preview and how we can use it as a free PDF editor, we also list some online site which can edit PDF files without watermark and a subscription fee.

Though free Mac PDF editors has some non-negligible drawbacks meanwhile. For all I know, for PDF editor that offer you to use it for free like 7days or 3 days will ask for a subscription afterwards and free online PDF editors are not particularly safe. Plus, there are some limitations such as file size, function permission and download limit. Moreover, some free Mac PDF editors are not fluid, thus the program might get stuck or lag.

 

Part 2. Best Free PDF Editor for Mac—Offline Freeware

If you are looking for a free PDF editor, we recommend you try with an offline app first, as offline tools always gives better result and are more safe, as you didn’t have to upload your files.

#1 Cisdem PDFMaster 

Summary: A free lightweight PDF reader and editor with AI build in.

When one ask for a recommendation of a good PDF editor, many people think of Adobe acrobat, PDF Expert, Nuance PDF, etc. But those software options are too expensive, and using them is quite complicated...

The software I recommend is PDFMaster. It is the app that have received many recommendations and awards from review sites. It offers its full function for free for 7 days. 

Cisdem PDFMaster is a comprehensive PDF toolkit which comes with a variety of PDF managing and editing features, including PDF reading, annotation, editing, PDF format conversion, creation, form filling, signing, OCR, scanning, and more. It supports multiple platforms, including MacOS, iOS, Android, and Windows.

Compared to traditional software, PDF Reader Pro is lightweight, easy to use and has a very fast response time.

For it’s PDF editing functions, it supports directly edit text and images, you can add annotations like comment, highlight, cross out, underline, etc. If you have sensitive information in the PDF file, you can also use it to password protect PDF, redact PDF, add watermark, etc.

It also helps one easily convert PDF to Word / Excel / PPT / RTF / CSV / HTML / Images. With build in OCR functionality one can easily take words from images and scanned PDF files. You can also create PDF files, fill out PDF files and make a fillable PDF easily.

For page handling, you can easily use it to split or combine PDF files, if you need compress PDF for mailing, it also comes with 5 PDF compressing mode.

What’s more, The newest version now comes with support for AI, you can summarize your PDF, rewrite it and translate your PDF. Also, what it best at is PDF reading, it has many reading modes, I especially like the night reading mode, and split screen reading mode.

Available System: macOS 10.13 or later

Software Size: 112 MB

Latest version: 6.0.0 released on March 27, 2024

#2 Foxit Reader for Mac

Summary: A free, lightweight PDF edior for Mac computers. Have enough tools for PDF annotating, PDF signing and form-filling.

Foxit Reader is a fast and lightweight free PDF editor for Mac users. It has a typewriter which help you fill PDF forms, type text on PDF files and it offers a whole set of PDF annotating functions like highlight, adding note box, underline, add bookmarks & comments, search and protect PDFs. You can also sign PDF files with this tool, the only downside is that the text you type in will be in blue color, and it's not changeable. 

The old version of this app support print and create PDF files, but since the new update in july this app removes the two functions. 

Available System: macOS 10.15 or later

Software Size: 318.4 MB

Latest version: 12.1.1 released on July 25, 2023

best free pdf editor mac foxitreader

#2 Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Summary: Free PDF editor that supports comment, annotate, sign and print PDF files. Store files in cloud and support PDF form filling.

In the huge market of PDF editors, Adobe’s position is unshakable. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC as a basic program in the Adobe family, is available on desktop and mobile devices. This freeware enables to view, print, fill PDF forms, annotate, sign and share PDF documents. Users can find the most annotating tools in the “comment” bar. It has tools for highlight, underline, strike-through, add text box,stamp, etc. and one very good feaature of this app is you can access and store files in cloud. 

The size of the installation package is the largest of the software mentioned in this article, which may also be a consideration for some users.

Available System: macOS 10.15.0 or later

Software Size: 310.8 MB

Latest version: 23.008.20470 released on Jan 16, 2024

best free pdf editor mac acrobat reader

#3 Preview

Summary: Add text box, sticky notes, sign PDF files and use OCR with tools already on your Mac.

Your Mac comes with Preview, which is adequate for reading and managing PDF files, even doing some baic PDF editing: You can add text box, hight light, strick though, merge PDFs, add sticky notes, underline and sign PDF files and there’s no download required! But if you’ve run the gamut (no pun intended) with what you can do with Preview, you’re probably in need of something a bit more sophisticated.

There is one more feature that I need to high light here is that with macOS Monterey or later, you can use preview as an OCR software which helps you turn scanned PDF files to searchable and editable PDF. 

Available System: Mac

free editor mac preview

#4 LibreOffice

Summary: Office like free PDF editor for Mac 

LibreOffice is a 100% free and exceptional office suite available on Mac. If you think the freeware mentioned above can’t satisfy you to modify the text directly on the PDF file, then this software is perfect for you. It allows you to easily add, delete, modify and replace text like editing a Word document. and you can add images to PDF with app. It doesn't have a PDF sign feature, but you can use it together with preview. 

This free and open-source office suite is tested and used by a large number of users, and takes various suggestions from community users and updates the software. In addition, it is available in 100+ languages.

Available System: macOS 10.12.0 or later

Software Size: 285.6MB

Latest version: 24.2 released on 31 January 2024

best pdf editors free mac libreoffice

#5 Skim

Summary: lightweight PDF reader that provides editing functions like add notes, hightlight, underline.

Skim is a PDF reader and note-taker for OS X. Most of the major features you need are covered by Skim including: adding and editing notes, highlighting important text, adding bookmark, rotating page, making snapshots for easy reference and navigation using table of contents or thumbnails, with visual history. 

Available System: macOS 10.12 or higher

Software Size: 11.7 MB

Latest version: 1.7 released on February 02, 2024

best pdf editor free mac skim

#6 PicoPDF

Summary: Easy to use free PDF editor to edit text, add comments, create fillable PDF forms, etc. 

NCH software covers many types of software, such as video tools, audio tools, image & photo converters, dictation software, business software, etc. PicoPDF is one of the free and useful PDF editors created by NCH. Although it’s hard to see this app on search engines, it does have powerful editing features that let you edit existing text directly, add comments/images/digital signature, create fillable PDF forms, merge multiple files together and export PDF to other formats. 

Available System: macOS 10.9 or higher

Software Size: 5.4 MB

Latest version: 4.2.5 released on 24 May 2023

free editor mac pico

#7 PDFSam Basic

Summary: Open source PDF editor for batch handling PDF files.

Next, I recommend this software to users who need to batch process PDF files often. PDFsam Basic is an open source, multi-platform and free PDF editor that helps Mac users batch merge, split, rotate, extract, insert PDF files. for PDF page handling you can easily edit or re-arrange the order of pages in a PDF file. Every module of this app comes with advanced settings such as specifying the page numbers, creating new bookmarks, output setting and so on.

Available System: macOS 10.9 or higher

Software Size: 92.4 MB

Latest version: 5.2.0 released on November 6, 2023

free editor mac sambasic

#8 PDF Nomad

Summary: Offline free PDF editor that handle scanned PDF with OCR. 

PDF Nomad is the only tool among the 8 free offline PDF editors that includes OCR function. If you need to edit scanned files, don’t miss it. Though it is free, you can use this app to edit all aspects of PDF files, including texts, images, and links. The OCR function is also notable, In just a few seconds, the program automatically recognizes and extracts text from scanned documents. Besides that, it also contains a series of annotation tools like marking up, adding notes/links/shapes/interactive fields/watermarks/bookmarks, organizing pages, etc.

Available System: macOS 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or higher

Software Size: 66 MB

Latest version: 2.4.2 released on 18 Jun 2023

free editor mac nomad

Do you find the best free PDF editor for Mac from the above desktop software? Is there still any user who wants to edit text in PDF without downloading software and for free? We can certainly reach your expectations! Follow me, you can read more about the best free PDF editor for Mac here. 

 

Part 3. Best Free PDF Editor for Mac — Web-based Service

We’d like to present 7 web-based services that enable you to edit and modify the text in PDF freely. Let’s get started!

#1 Soda PDF Online

The interface of Soda PDF Online is dominated by red and white, simple and eye-catching. You are also allowed to edit, convert, create forms, comment, protect and sign PDF files with this free PDF editor. With the ability to batch process files and view two files at the same time, it is an excellent tool for office workers to increase efficiency.

Notes: There were times when I used the page to upload or process files and the server experienced delays. In addition, some advanced features such as E-signature and OCR need to be activated.

best free pdf editor mac sodapdf

 

#2 pdfFiller

pdfFiller is another web-based free PDF Editor for Mac and Windows users to manipulate PDF online. It supports multiple ways to upload PDF files into its server for free editing, such as URL, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive. Users are allowed to view, highlight, sign, add images, search PDF for free.

best pdf editor free mac pdffiller

Notes: pdfFiller offers versatile and free editing tools for users, but the free version has the following limitations.

  • Users can only upload PDF file up to 25MB
  • The maximum page can reach 150 pages
  • Watermark will be attached to the signature

 

#3 Sejda Online

Sejda Web provides almost everything you need to work with PDF files. Features include the ability to edit, add links, annotate, convert, built forms, compress, insert images and signatures, even split and merge PDF files. I like the color scheme of its interface, simple and fresh. The toolbar has a floating window design, always hovering at the top of the page.

best pdf editor free mac sejda

Notes: The maximum file size is 50MB or 200 pages, and only 10 files can be uploaded by every user. Furthermore, the system will remove the first file when you upload the 11th PDF document.

#4 DeftPDF

DeftPDF is a free website that provides simple and secure PDF tools to edit PDF, translate PDF to 100+ languages, fill & sign, rotate pages, add header & footer, merge & compress, convert & create, protect and unlock PDF files. If you want to create a PDF file but have no ideas in mind, this online editor also provides you with thousands of free templates to meet your unique business needs.
free editor mac deft

Limited Plan:

  • 1 template per day
  • Many tools don’t support batch processing in the free version
  • Maximum file size: 50MB

 

#5 PDF Candy

PDF Candy is a well-known free online website created by the Icecream Apps team for 7 years. All tools can be tried without signing up, and all the files can be uploaded from Dropbox, Google Drive or drag-n-drop. The website provides about 40+ tools, including accurate OCR, reliable editor, fast compressor, rich converter and other popular tools. However, be noted that with this free online version you can only perform one task per hour. 
free editor mac candy

Thoughtful notes:

Pay attention that only 1 file(s) are allowed to be added to this task simultaneously.

 

#6 PDFSimpli

PDFSimpli is another excellent PDF editor that lets you easily edit and change text, convert PDF and keep formatting 100% intact, insert e-signature, highlight text and annotate PDF. The main characteristics of this platform include that you can use thousands of editable templates and forms efficiently and productively.
free editor mac simpli

Notes:

Some accounts can only be allowed to process 5 files per month.

Best Free PDF Editor for Mac Comparison Chart

  PDF Editor Beginer Friendly PDF Editing Features
1 PDFMaster Yes View, edit, convert, create, sign, annotate, highlight, merge, split, compress, encrypt, decrypt, extract image
2 Foxit Reader for Mac Yes View, highlight, add bookmarks & comments, search and protect PDFs
3 LibreOffice No View, create, edit, draw, annotate, convert, insert, measure and print
4 Adobe Acrobat Reader DC No View, print, sign, annotate, highlight, draw, and share PDF with others
5 Preview Yes Read, split, merge, highlights,annotate, encrypt, compress and export to several editable formats
6 Skim Yes Read, highlight, crop, draw, add text note, rotate, add bookmark
7 PicoPDF No  Edit, insert, sign, merge, compress, encrypt, highlight, redact, link, organize PDF
8 PDFSam Basic No  Extract, split, insert pages, merge, and rotate PDFs
9 PDF Nomad No  Annotate, crop, add notes, watermark, OCR, resize, rotate, split PDF
10 pdfFiller Yes View, edit, highlight, sign, add images/note/date, search PDF
11 Soda PDF Online No View, edit, convert, comment, manipulate page, merge and protect
12 Sejda Yes Edit, add text, annotate, sign, split, merge, convert, compress, protect
13 DeftPDF No Edit, crop, split, resize, combine, fill & sign, protect, unlock, repair, translate, convert
14 PDF Candy Yes Edit, convert, merge, compress, rearrange, split, OCR, unlock, protect, extract
15 PDFSimpli Yes Edit, rotate, sign, convert, compress, merge & split, form

 

Final Words

Free PDF editor for mac is a real work, but most of the PDF editor have some limit in functions, or some may stopped upgrading. If you need some of the additional features that come with the product and/or have a business operation that handles a lot of PDF documents, Cisdem PDF Master for Mac is the best choice. Try the most trusted and remarkable PDF editor — Cisdem PDFMaster, and you might never download other editors.

Free Download macOS 10.13 or later Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7

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Bianca Huang
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Bianca is a senior tech editor and strategist at Cisdem with Over 10 years of experience on PDF related solutions which covers all document editing, annotating, converting and managing etc.

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Comments (6) Leave a Reply

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  • Jennifer

    I tried many free PDF editors to handle my PDF tasks. But as you said, users like me who need to edit files for a long time do need a paid editor. I will try the software you mentioned at the end.

    1 years ago commonReply

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  • ITnurtureden

    good

    7 years ago commonReply

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  • waqar

    PDFManagerUltimate tops PDFExpert in PDF conversion, that' what I need.

    7 years ago commonReply

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  • Brett

    I think this is a real great post.Much thanks again. Will read on...

    7 years ago commonReply

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  • Patch

    You've got it in one. Con'udlt have put it better.

    8 years ago commonReply

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  • Skevin725

    What the free PDF editor can do is limited, I am more willing to try paid PDF editor. It takes me more function.

    8 years ago commonReply

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