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How to Edit a PDF on Mac

It can be one of the most common yet vexing things to do online: editing a PDF. Why is it that PDFs are the standard for contracts and employment agreements, yet so few of us seem to know how to edit one ourselves? In most cases, it’s simply because we learned word processing documents—instead of editing programs like Adobe Acrobat.

There are many different answers on how to edit a PDF file, depending on the platforms you’re using. If you have a Mac versus a PC, the specific steps for handling PDF documents might not be the same, and vice versa. With that in mind, let’s focus on editing a PDF on a Mac, and the specific steps you’ll need to edit the PDF to your liking.

How to Select Text in a PDF on a Mac

If you want to work with a PDF on a Mac, this one fix alone will give you everything you need. Editing PDFs, after all, comes down to one major question: how do you edit the text itself?

  • Open Nitro PDF Pro for Mac. To open the PDF of your choice, you can click Open (Command + O). Alternatively, you can drag the icon of the PDF file directly into the program, which will also open it.
  • Click the Select Text Tool. Keep in mind here, if the PDF was scanned directly from paper, there won’t be selectable text. However, if the PDF was converted from a Microsoft Word document, for example, it likely will. PDFs without scannable texts are essentially images.
    • To select an entire word, double click it. If you add a third click for a triple click, you’ll select an entire line.
    • Want to select across multiple pages? Change pages and shift-click into the next page. This will extend your current selection into the next page.
    • To select all of the text within a document, use either Edit -> Select All, or press Command + A. 

This might seem like a lot of steps only for selecting text, but keep in mind that you’re building fundamentals first. The more comfortable you get with the early steps, the easier it will be to do what you find in the next sections: formatting and replacing text.

How to Format Text in a PDF on a Mac

One of the key reasons to edit a PDF is to get everything properly aligned and consistently formatted. You can do this on a PDF with similar accuracy to a word processor—but once again, you’ll need the proper steps for your program. Stay within Nitro PDF Pro for Mac.
How to Change the Type of the Words
Typeface and text size may be your first priority to wrangle the words into a presentable format. Here’s how:

  • Select the text you want to edit. To edit it all, remember you can use Edit -> Select All or Command + A.
  • Go to the Editing Bar. If it’s not currently visible, you can use Command + Shift + E to reveal it.
  • Under the Editing Bar, you’ll see options for font and text formatting. If your text is selected, you can simply choose different options for font size and text style to reformat the words.
How to Edit a PDF on Mac (2).png

How to Change the Color of Your Text
Changing your text’s color might not happen as often, but it can be critical if you want an entire PDF to look professional and consistent.

  • Select your text.
  • Once again, browse to the Font/Text Formatting section of the Editing Bar.
  • Locate the color icon.
How to Edit a PDF on Mac(3).png

If the color is already set to black, it might not stand out as much as the other items, so keep that in mind.

  • Once you’ve clicked
How to Edit a PDF on Mac(3).png

the program will create a drop-down menu. This is when you can select your colors. If you want to customize the color, you can also go to Other Text Color… to view the other options.
Change the Position of Your PDF Text
What if you want a quote to stand out in the middle of the PDF by giving it center justification? While many people don’t think about changing PDF text position, it can be one of the most critical ways to organize the content and make it easier to read.

  • Select your text. For changing PDF text position, this often means double-clicking to select an entire line.
  • Under the Editing Bar, return to our old friend, the font and text formatting section. You’ll see something that looks like this:
    How to Edit a PDF on Mac(4).png
    This gives you four options. You can cycle through Left, Center, Right, and Full Justification and see which works best for your text selection.

Change Your Line Spacing
Get frustrated when one paragraph has 1.5 spaces between each line, and another has zero spaces? It can create a PDF that looks unprofessional. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Select your text. Remember that the changes you’re attempting here will look strange with just one word, so do your best to make it as consistent as possible throughout the text.
  • Go to Format -> Font -> Baseline to change your line spacing. You can select Default, Raise, or Lower to move things up and down. Be willing to experiment a little to see which works best.
  • Alternatively, you can use Format -> Font -> Kern to change the spacing between each character. Default, None, Tighten, and Loosen are your options here. 

Redacting Text on a PDF

How to Edit a PDF on Mac(5).png

If you want to share certain aspects of a PDF—but not all of them—then you may have to do some editing for confidentiality. Here’s how to redact text without ruining the rest of your PDF document:

  • Select the text you want to redact only.
  • Go to Format -> Redact Text
  • Here you’ll have two options for the style with which you redact. You can choose either Block for an appearance like the screenshot here, or you can use Erase if you simply want a blank space instead of the text.

What if you need to do more than redact a name? What if you want to redact entire sections at a time? Here’s what you do:

  • Go to Tools and select the rectangle tool that looks like this:
How to Edit a PDF on Mac(6).png

  • With this tool activated, you can click and hold the mouse to drag the rectangle over the section of the page you want to redact. Be careful here; it’s worth taking the extra second or two to get it right. You’ll also want to make sure you’re not redacting anything that should stay in the final document.
  • Go back to the same option you did before: Format -> Redact Text and then choose either Block or Erase. For large sections, Erase tends to look better because it doesn’t result in a large, high-contrast block taking up huge sections of the page.

Replacing Text within a PDF

This is all well and good if you want to remove text for confidentiality, or change the look of the PDF. But what about manipulating the text itself? You’d be surprised at how easy it can be.

This option is actually the easiest of the bunch. You’ll want to locate the Find and Replace feature here, which is set up for you to change anything you want, provided you know what you’re looking for.

How to Edit a PDF on Mac(7).png

Note the highlight: this shows where you’re replacing the text on the PDF. Enter in the text you want to change, followed by what you want to replace it with. Keep in mind, however, that there are a couple of options here.

  • Replace will replace the single instance, which can be useful if you don’t want to make document-wide changes.
  • Replace All will replace every instance of your query with the alternative you’ve entered. This can be useful for changing names on contracts, for example. But keep in mind that this will change every instance of it in the document. This means that you’ll want to do a final proofread to avoid changing something you didn’t intend to change in other sections.

If you need to replace a name under an area for the recipient’s signature in a contract, for example, this can be a great tool.

Interested in getting started with your own documents? Or do you want to send out contracts that include easy-fill sections so people don’t have to edit their own PDFs? Sign up for a free trial of Nitro PDF Pro for Mac and see how easy it can be to handle your documents from a single location.

All Things PDF Mac

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