How to Edit PDFs With Preview in Mac OSX Leopard

By Jay White

February 11, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

PDF files are more and more common ways to save documents. They are able to compress large amounts of data into a relatively small file size, create formats where only some of the information is editable, and has some relative security in the editing ability, as the software that is required to edit the body of a PDF is usually very expensive. Preview is a free, simple way to edit PDF documents and photos while using a Mac. It comes standard on all mac computers, and is relatively simple to learn to use. Not only is it great for PDF documents, but also for photo editing. Depending on what you want to do to the PDF, there is a slightly different set of instructions. Here are the basics.

1. Open your .pdf in Preview
You can either open Preview, and drag the icon for your .pdf into the dock, or go through the file menu.

2. Click the edit button to open the toolbar for editing. This gives you all of the tools you will need to just about anything to your .pdf file. If you have used preview in the past to edit an image, you may notice that the editing tools change based on the kind of document that needs editing. Here are the things you can do:
<li>Copy text to paste into a different document by selecting the text selector</li>
<li>Fill in blanks on forms or add a signature with the add text box tool</li>
<li>You can make annotations, editing suggestions and other comments by using the notes feature.</li>
<li>You can also sign documents by using the signature tool.</li>

3. If the PDF is in the fillable form version, you can double click on any of the lines made for filling, and type directly into them without resorting to the editing tools. The same is true for the signature line of these forms in many cases.

4. There are a number of additional PDF related tools that will allow you to insert pictures, boxes, rectangles, text, and do many other things. The help feature in preview can help you in two ways with this. First, it can help describe all of these tools so you understand how they are best used. Second, you can ask help to let you know which tools are needed to complete a specific editing task that you are unsure how to complete.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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