If you’re in the market for a PDF editor for your Mac computer, don’t proceed without reading this article. We’ve reviewed and compared the 10 best PDF editors for Mac as of 2020 to give you some real insight into what each product offers and how it differs from the rest. The key is to know what you’re looking for and zero in on the product that offers the best combination of features, pricing, and functionality. With that at the forefront, let’s explore the PDF editor stars of 2020 for macOS.
Whether you’re using an iMac, a MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air or any other Mac computer, PDFelement for Mac can help you create, edit, review, comment on, convert, and do a lot more with PDF documents. In addition, you can manage and optimize PDF files and pages, and even protect them with passwords and sign them.
PDFelement for Mac is a powerful platform that makes it easy for the user to execute practically any action on a PDF file – one at a time or in large batches. It’s fast, responsive, and allows you to do complex tasks like creating interactive forms, as well as simple ones like filling and signing forms digitally.
With this tool at your disposal, you can easily extract data from forms, merge and split PDFs, and even combine multiple file types and compose a single PDF from them. One of the core features is the exhaustive list of annotation tools that are made available to you, making it a breeze to quickly review and comment on a PDF document and share it so your colleague can make the changes you need. Whether it’s simply highlighting text, adding sticky notes, or putting a stamp on all pages, PDFelement for Mac lets you do it quickly and efficiently.
One of the most highly acclaimed features of this software is the ability to use OCR to convert scanned, image-based text files into completely editable and searchable PDFs. You can also preserve your PDFs by converting them into the PDF/A format, the globally accepted standard for document archives. Not only does it let you do all of this in a flash, but you can then convert your work-related documents into a wide range of different file types so they can be edited in their native applications.
High-quality PDF conversion to and from multiple formats
Intuitive UI delivers an optimal experience
Exhaustive support for various font families
Robust security features to secure your files for storage or sharing
Advanced OCR is fast and accurate
Free version is a fully capable PDF software application
License for the premium version is $99 per annum
macOS 10.10 (OS X Yosemite) and later (full support for macOS 10.15 Catalina)
Windows versions available as Standard or Professional (Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP)
Min. 1Ghz Processor
RAM of 512MB or more
Min. 500 MB space on the HDD
#2 Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a premium utility for editing, converting, creating, annotating, signing, and securing PDF files. It is integrated with Adobe’s Document Cloud service, which allows collaborators to access documents from any location and any supported device. Some unique features include Send & Track for getting signatures from several people, and the ability to compare similar documents and get a quick view of the differences.
Consistent formatting and layout during conversion or creation
File compression feature makes it easy to share PDFs
Ideal tool to archive documents
The software reverts to a basic reader after the free trial period – no editing or other tasks possible except form-filling
The interface is a little less cluttered after Pro DC’s latest version came out but it’s still too many functions that the average user doesn’t require
$14.99 a month
$450 for a one-time license fee
macOS 10.10 or higher
Windows Server 2008 R2 (64 bit), 2012 (64 bit), 2012 R2 (64 bit)†, 2016 (64 bit), or 2019 (64 bit); Windows 7 SP1 (32 bit and 64 bit), Windows 8, 8.1 (32 bit and 64 bit)†, or Windows 10 (32 bit and 64 bit)
1024×768 screen resolution (minimum)
At least 4.5GB of HDD space
At least 1GB RAM
Chrome, IE, Firefox browser
At least 1.65GHz processor
#3 PDF Expert
PDF Expert from Readdle is a clean-looking Mac app that lets you edit, annotate, convert, and manage PDFs in its user-focused interface. You can merge and split documents, fill forms and sign them, and edit all PDF elements like images, text, and even links. It’s pretty fast and you can work with multiple files at the same time, making it an efficient tool.
Appealing interface with little or no clutter
Convenient search function to find your local PDFs
Font detection is quite accurate
OCR capability is absent
macOS 10.10 or later
#4 iSkySoft PDF Editor Pro
This is a great business tool that lets you do all the necessary tasks with PDFs, including editing, converting to and from PDF, applying copyright watermarks, and combining multiple files into a single PDF. It is trusted by large companies and offers advanced functionality like using OCR to make scanned PDFs searchable or editable. Password encryption is well-designed, making it the perfect tool for secure sharing.
Robust security features
Advanced functions like OCR
Known issues with file size optimization
Expensive for smaller businesses and individual users
macOS 10.10 Yosemite and above
PDFpen is a great tool for light editing, annotations, and other basic PDF tasks. OCR has been integrated into the product, but it might not be as reliable as some of the other tools like PDFelement or Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Form-filling is quite good, as is the ability to sign and share documents. It’s also great for exporting images from a PDF file or converting PDF into other file formats.
PDFpen is a solid tool to modify existing pages of a PDF document and export it in various formats. The OCR tool makes it useful for converting scanned documents (text-based) into editable text PDFs.
Multiple format options to export documents and images
OCR function is quite good on purely text-based documents
Menu and tools are a little confusing at first
macOS X (Yosemite) and higher
#6 Foxit PhantomPDF Mac
This is quite a robust tool with all the basic and a few advanced tools you’d expect from a PDF editor for Mac-based environments. You can do basic text editing, add branding elements like watermarks, headers, and footers, do OCR directly from scanning hardware, export to Word, and annotate documents. It is also easy to install organization-wide without the need for individual user input.
OCR is fairly accurate for clear scans
Ability to work with large PDF files
No comprehensive toolset for forms management
Expensive considering the limited advanced features (e.g. no exhaustive batch processes as with tools like PDFelement or Acrobat Pro DC)
Starts at $13.99 for the subscription plan
Windows versions available in Standard and Pro flavors
Skim is a relatively unknown PDF editor since it is an open-source tool, but it offers all the basic tools for PDF editing, creation, bookmarking, and so on. It has quite a few commenting and annotation tools and form management capabilities. It also offers password protection for documents and is primarily designed for scientific purposes. For example, you can take a screenshot of your annotations for a scientific paper and save it for reference or share it. You can also read and convert any notes in the document.
There’s a mode for doing presentations
Great tool for reviewing and marking up
No advanced features like OCR or comprehensive conversion from PDF
Very basic UI and feature set
Open-source, so it’s free
Supports older Mac versions like 10.6
#8 Mac Preview App
The native Preview app in Mac is not what you would call a PDF editor, technically speaking, because you can’t edit existing content like text and images. However, it’s a great annotation tool with lots of highlighting and markup elements like text, speech bubbles, and even hand-drawn signatures captured from your trackpad. You can also create bookmarks, take a screenshot of your notes, mask content, and do other actions. Technically, you can’t edit existing text; however, it’s possible to simply add a white box on the text and write over it with the text tool.
Free to use and included as a native application
Perfect for reviewing and commenting
No editing of existing content
Limited formats for exporting PDF
Free, comes with all macOS hardware
Native Mac App
#9 FineReader Pro for Mac
Although this is not strictly a PDF editor, it has enough advanced features to qualify for this list. Developed by ABBYY, a specialist in business intelligence tools, FineReader offers a great OCR experience and batch conversion tools as its key functions. Coupled with a standard PDF editor, this will make a good addition to your document management arsenal.
Advanced OCR capability that supports 180 languages
Export to several formats
Convert scanned documents to editable PDFs that can be indexed; also supports PDF/A for ISO-standard archiving
No PDF editing features
No annotating or form handling
$119.99 – one-time license fee
macOS 10.10 and higher
#10 Soda PDF
Soda PDF is a basic PDF editor with creating, converting, annotating, form creation, and security features. There’s a 14-day free trial, after which you’ll be prompted to purchase the license. The good part is that once you have a license, you can use Soda PDF Anywhere, the online version, which can be used on an iPhone, iPad, or any other device that has an Internet connection and a supported browser installed.
Good layout makes for easier readability of PDF documents
Online tool makes it easy to transition from one device to another
No OCR or other advanced features
No Pro version for macOS devices
$48 to $120 per year based on plan chosen
macOS 10.10 and higher