Best PDF Viewer and Editor

Though you may have fairly enough approaches of viewing and changing PDF on Mac, the Apple’s default Preview is usually overlooked and not helpful in some cases. Since the recent lion updates did not improve the capability in this aspect, you may look for a third-party PDF view/Editor which can do a better job.


Definition of PDF Viewer and PDF Editor

There are a few measures that you could identify a PDF viewer or editor – so long as they cover the features range from content-filling to complete PDF modification. This review will focus on evaluating the criteria that most people would use, meaning annotation, viewing, editing and so on.


Evaluation of Mac Preview


  • Insert new pages to PDF files or combine two files into one
  • Add images as individual pages to existing PDF documents
  • Highlight selected text on PDF pages
  • Annotate selected text with a few types of shapes
  • Digitally write in forms
  • View and change the metadata of PDF files
  • PDF finder functionPDF finder function
  • Fast performance


The strongest strength of this application should be that it works quite fast. Mac platform is not well-known for its speed, therefore the Preview’s feature of working fast is really impressive. Considering that it has many useful features for highlighting and annotating documents, it’s practical for business users. However, I still think that the most useful feature should be filling out forms. In Mountain Lion, you can sign a piece of paper on computer by using a webcam to scan the physical signature for Preview. To do so, just hold the paper with your signature to your computer’s webcam, and Preview will turn it to a digital signature readily to place on digital form. Preview also supports multiple signatures therefore you don’t have to repeat the process. All such features have successfully made Preview a solid program.



There’re still some aspects where Preview falls short. For instance, the webcam signature feature does not provide the option to sign with trackpad as well. Preview was not a distinctive program compared with the most popular ones came with Snow Leopard. Although Preview had improved in Mountain Lion, you cannot update it in Snow Leopard unless you’re using Mac Lion. Therefore, Preview is not the best PDF editor and viewer in previous Mac platforms. Even in the latest system, it still has drawbacks which may be solved in third-party tools as we will describe below.


Evaluation of Competitors


This program cost $60 and is pretty nice in editing PDF. If you’re looking for more capabilities that may not be available in Preview, then this tool is your choice. PDFPen actually features the PDF editing, page re-arrangement, multiple-file integration and much more convenience. The price is fairly reasonable compared with Adobe Acrobat. We won’t recommend Acrobat for it usually provides excessive functions more than we need.

PDF Editor

Another pretty program with competitive price, it has an extreme feature of converting PDF to Word and editing PDF directly on the pages. This program works just like a breeze and gives no trouble. It goes directly to editing PDF with no roundabout settings – that’s what we like most for this program. Free trial of this program is available to let you examine the core values.




This program is also a nice choice for business users who want to annotate their documents. It concentrates on annotations and comes with long list rich in options for commenting your PDF pages.