The PDF file format was designed to share files across all platforms and devices. PDFs are widely welcomed for their stability even on different operating systems. Consequently, it’s almost impossible to make changes to a PDF document. However, there’s always a need for editing PDFs. This poses a question: how to edit a PDF?

Usually, you need a professional PDF editor to help you. In this post, we’ve offered a thorough explanation of how to edit a PDF with three popular applications, including steps on both the Windows and macOS operating systems. Keep reading!

How to Edit a PDF on Mac


Apple has developed a built-in PDF viewer on macOS: Apple Preview, which makes it easy for users to open, edit, and annotate PDF documents for free.

Preview offers six editing tools to make fundamental changes to PDF files:

  • Text Selection: By using this tool, you can select and copy the text content of your PDF files; and then paste it into other documents.
  • Selection: This tool is completely contrary to the text selection tool because it was designed for selecting non-text content, such as images, annotations, etc.
  • Shape: The shape tool is used to insert a shape (box, oval, or line) in PDFs, and the color and thickness of the line can be changed as per your requirements.
  • Add Text: As its name has suggested, you can add new text boxes by using this tool.
  • Notes: The tool is used for adding a sticky note to your documents, making it possible to leave your feedback or comments.
  • Signature: This tool was designed for creating and inserting an electronic signature into your PDF files to protect the copyrights.

How to edit a PDF on Mac:

Step 1. Launch Preview and open a PDF document;

Step 2. Click Edit in the toolbar, and you will get into a PDF editing window;


Step 3. Edit your PDF documents as you want, then save them.

How to Edit a PDF on Windows

Unlike macOS, Windows doesn’t have any default PDF editor, so you need to download a third-party program to make sure you can edit a PDF document. In this part, we introduced you to several popular PDF editors that allow you to edit PDFs on Windows for free.

SwifDoo PDF

SwifDoo PDF is a professional PDF editor that comes with many other PDF-related features. It offers over ten mini tools to edit your PDF documents, including inserting text, whiting-out, editing images, links, etc.

  • Edit: The Edit tool allows you to make changes to the original content, and you can customize the fonts, size, color, and style of the text.
  • White-out: It’s used for hiding a specific part of your PDF documents. You can choose line whiteout or area whiteout according to your requirements. However, watch out that this operation is revocable once it proceeds.
  • Image: By clicking the image tab, SwifDoo PDF will open your local folder automatically for uploading images. Besides, you can also rotate, replace, and adjust the transparency of the existing images in PDFs.
  • Link: If you want to add links to your PDF for later checking, you can use this tool directly.
  • Crop: The cropping tool is used for resizing your pages (to cut the page margin or the part you don’t need anymore).
  • Page Setup: This tool is mainly used for resizing pages. You can change the pages to standard sizes (A3, A4, B3, etc.), select a new orientation, and customize their width and height.
  • Split Page: The split page tool is used to split one page into several parts for better document management.
  • Deskew: This feature is mainly used on scanned-copy PDFs. When there’s a situation where the page looks a little skew, you can use this tool to adjust it automatically.
  • OCR: Many image-only PDFs cannot be edited, even if you’re using a PDF editor. However, SwifDoo PDF can help you convert the scanned PDF to an editable and searchable one with the OCR feature.
  • Background: By using this tool, you can add or remove the background in your PDFs. SwifDoo PDF enables you to add a color-only background or upload an image as the background. Once you add a background to the PDF document, you can customize the background's rotation, opacity, and position.
  • Extract TOC: This tab is used to extract the table of contents from your PDFs.

SwifDoo PDF also makes its interface intuitive and all processes as simple as possible. Even a first-time new user won't get confused when using this software.

Step 1. Download and install SwifDoo PDF on your device, then launch it;

                                                                                  Free Download

Step 2. Open a PDF document in SwifDoo PDF;

Step 3. Click on Edit in the top navigation bar;


Step 4. Use SwifDoo PDF’s editing tools, then save the edited PDF file.

For unpaid users, all edited files in SwifDoo PDF will be output without any default watermarks and can be used directly.

Wondershare PDFelement

Wondershare PDFelement is one of the most popular PDF solutions. It was released with all the features you expect from a PDF editor. Like SwifDoo PDF, it also offers many powerful editing features, which can rival those in the Office suites, including text, images, watermarks, links, and more.

  • Add Text: The Add Text tool is used to add new text to the original PDF documents. Meanwhile, you can also edit the existing text content with this tool.
  • Add Image: After clicking this tab, you can upload new images to the PDFs and delete the existed images.
  • Link: You can insert a link to a web page or a file, which enables you to open them by simply clicking the link address.
  • Watermark: This tab supports adding and editing watermarks in your PDF file.
  • Background: Unlike SwifDoo PDF, Wondershare PDFelement doesn’t offer any default background templates, so you need to create one in the first place.
  • Header & Footer: It’s easy to find out what they are used for by their names. You can add or delete the header and footer to pages by using this tool.
  • Bates Number: A bates number is a unique identifier that is mainly used in the legal, medical, and business fields. By adding bates numbers to PDF documents, you can quickly identify and retrieve each document and page.

How to edit a PDF in Wondershare PDFelement:

Step 1. Download PDFelement and launch it;

Step 2. Open your PDF document;

Step 3. Click Edit and select mini tools that you need;


Step 4. Save your changes after editing.

If you are a multi-platform PDF user, then PDFelement is a real helper as this PDF editor offers different versions to better manipulate PDF documents on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

PDFelement has received both positive reviews and criticism, and almost all the main criticism mainly comes from its pricing plans. After downloading, it offers a free trial with complete access to all features. However, when the free trial has expired, PDFelement only offers premium subscription plans that can be paid per year or half a year instead of monthly plans.

The Bottom Line

That’s all about how to edit a PDF, with three PDF editors both on Mac and Windows covered. All tools have their pros and cons and are both welcomed and criticized by users. You can choose and use them for a better experience. Nevertheless, we recommend you use SwifDoo PDF if you are running a Windows system. SwifDoo PDF tries its best to let you edit a PDF file just as easily as a Microsoft Word document. Tap the download button to get started now!



Monica has more than three years of experience in writing tech products. And she has been a fan of SwifDoo PDF since it was released. Now she works as a full-time editor for SwifDoo PDF. With her extensive experience, Monica has offered many helpful and feasible recommendations for PDF tools.

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