Editing a PDF in Mac OS X

September 8, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Using a PDF document usually relies on you having Adobe Reader or Standard installed on your computer, but recent versions of Mac OS X feature the ability to view such files using the Preview tool. As well as open the PDFs to read them, Preview also allows you to make some minor edits.

We’ve already seen that there are several ways in which you can manipulate a PDF in Mac OS X, such as selecting on specific information from the document and creating a new one, but there are also ways in which you can edit PDFs without expensive software from Adobe. For instance, you might wish to from drop pages from an original document to rearranging the PDF itself so that it reads differently. While this might not seem a particularly useful feature you would be surprised at how popular it is, mainly thanks to its simplicity.

Editing a PDF in Mac OS X

Isolating PDF Pages with Preview

The obvious method of isolating single pages in a PDF document is to print them individually using the Print dialog, but don’t think that this is the only way – there is an alternative!

If you open the PDF in Preview, within the app you can select pages and drag them to your Mac’s desktop to create a PDF that only contains those pages. While printing single pages in a PDF document can be time-consuming, this method is much quicker. You might, for instance, select 5 pages from a 6 page PDF and drag these to the desktop. Your new PDF might then feature pages 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

It is really easy to use Preview to perform this task: you will notice that the pages of the PDF document are listed in the Preview sidebar, so all you need to do is SHIFT+LEFT CLICK to select each of the pages in turn and then when you’re happy with the selection drag them to the desktop!

Alternatively, you can also select one or more pages in the sidebar and then use the Edit > Delete command to remove the ones you don’t want.

Rearranging Pages in Preview

Once you have your new document on the desktop you should give it a new name and save it somewhere memorable.

This isn’t the only way in which pages of a PDF can be manipulated, however. Supposing you had a PDF that you wanted to rearrange the page order – how could you do this?

I suppose the most obvious answer would be to print it out and then shuffle the pages into your preferred order, but there is also a way of doing this in Mac OS X using Preview. Again, this is via the sidebar and requires you to simply drag the pages of a PDF document into your preferred order! Once you have done this, save your reorganized PDF by selecting the pages and dragging them to the desktop.

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