Best Programs to Read and Edit PDF Files on Mac

Why are PDF Files so Great…

PDF documents (also known as ‘Portable Document Format’ if you want to be really fancy) are one of the most popular ways to save files on both Microsoft Window and Apple Mac computers. One of the main reasons PDF files are the preferred choice is because they can save documents in a like for like way. For example if your document contains images, trendy graphics, swish typography and even hyperlinks (clickable web addresses), a PDF file will save it and keep the same format.


How to Read a PDF

Originally created by Adobe back in 1991, PDF files are now widely used on all types and brands of computers. So no matter if you created a PDF file on a Mac machine, a Windows user will still have no problem downloading and reading. You do however need a special program or application to read a PDF file on your machine. Your computer should come with an application already pre-installed, but if for some reasons it doesn’t, the app is not working or you have accidently┬ádeleted it during a vigorous hard drive clean, then you can download a new one from the web…

The web is inundated with so many different types of PDF readers and editors. But which one comes out on top and most importantly which good programs are free? Depending on your needs, such as editing (editing a PDF can sometimes be tricky), you might decide on a paid application.


Firstly lets look at the ‘FREE’ options and their pros and cons:


I’m an avid fan of Mac’s default application ‘Preview’. It is a fantastic free and easy way to read PDF’s, although the option for in-depth editing is unfortunately currently not available with this free App.

how to read a pdf on mac


  • Great for viewing/reading PDF’s for free!
  • Automatically installed on your Mac so no download needed. (If you have accidently deleted it then you can get a copy from Apples App store).
  • Also View images – edit size, rotate annotate etc
  • It’s Free!


  • Limited editing features like the paid programs
  • Mostly used as read and view
  • Lets have a little more in-depth look into Mac’s default PDF viewer Preview.

Preview opens PDF’s, Images and many other types of documents. It will allow for minimal editing which can be quite effective depending on your needs.

Were you aware that you can easily transfer (or drop) a PDF file into Microsoft word or a pages document? You basically drag the PDF into your open word document or even PowerPoint and it will then be imbedded. There are countless applications and programs where you can do this, if you are uncertain just give the drag and drop method a go and you might be surprised it worked ­čÖé


Adobe Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Pro

The cream of the crop at creating and editing PDF’s is ‘Adobe Acrobat Read and Acrobat Pro’. Despite is rather long mouthful of a title anyone who is a creator will want this application on their computer!┬áThe best part is that it doesn’t cost a penny for the basic version, if however you like the advanced options on apps you’ll have to splash the cash to have the Pro version however many users will agree it is worth it for the advanced editing features it offers.

read a pdf file

Pro’s for the Pro

  • Advanced Editing for your PDF’s
  • Create professional PDF’s


  • The Pro version is a paid App.