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How You Can Edit PDF Files on Your Mac Using QuickLook and Preview

How to Edit PDFs Using QuickLook and Preview on Your Mac

You're probably wondering what the possibilities are of editing a PDF file. Maybe you need to fill out a PDF file for a job, or perhaps you need to review a student's work and add notes. No matter the circumstances, you'll have to deal with PDFs at some point. It's a universal file format that can be accessed on various operating systems, and the content inside will stay the same.

Instead of printing out, let's say, a contract and sign it with a pen, you can easily do that with editing tools provided by QuickLook or Preview. What's great is that you don't need to download anything. Both QuickLook and Preview are built-in into your Mac's operating system and are free.

How You Can Edit PDF Files on Your Mac Using QuickLook and Preview

QuickLook is a feature that lets you view almost any file in full size without opening an app that's associated with it. With it, you can preview photos, audio, and video files but most importantly, PDF files. It offers simple editing tools that allow you to sketch, crop, add text, and more in your PDf file.

Preview is an app that's usually the default program that opens your images and documents. It offers slightly more tools than QuickLook. With Preview, you can add notes, select, redact content, and more. The same as QuickLook, you can add your signature, shapes, zoom in and use other features.

You can use either one of them to edit your PDF files. Choose depending on your preferences.

Read below to find out how to use various tools that QuickLook and Preview can offer.

Table of Contents:

How to Edit PDF Files Using QuickLook

As mentioned above, QuickLook lets you open a document preview without opening associated software like Pages or Preview. QuickLook is quite easy to use, but there's not much you can do with it.

How to View Edit Tools in QuickLook

To start editing your PDF file, you need to open editing tools.

To view QuickLook editing tools, follow the steps below:

1. Select your PDF file.
2. When the file is selected, press the Space bar on your keyboard. A preview of the file will pop up.
3. In the top right corner, find and click on the pencil icon. Editing tools will appear on the top left corner.

View QuickLook tool bar

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How to Use Sketch Tool in QuickLook

With a Sketch tool, you can, as the name suggests, sketch, scribble, write notes, and so on.

To use it, click on the Sketch icon that looks like a curvy line. Your mouse will look like a pen.

Select Sketch tool

You can change the color of the pen by clicking on the Border Color icon and selecting one.

If you want to delete what you've scribbled, click on it and press the Delete button on your keyboard.

Delete your sketch in QuickLook

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How to Use Shapes Tool in QuickLook

Shapes tool can come in handy if you want to highlight a passage or any part of the file.

To use the Shapes tool, follow the steps below:

1. Click on the Shapes icon and pick a shape you want.

Select Shapes tool in QuickLook

2. It will appear in the middle of the file. Drag it to where you want it.
3. You can adjust its size by dragging the shape's corners, which will be highlighted with blue dots.

Resize shape in QuickLook

You can also use the Magnifying tool to zoom in. Click on the blue corner to resize it.

Use the Magnifying tool in QuickLook

If you want to delete a shape, click on it and press the Delete button on your keyboard.

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How to Use Text Tool in QuickLook

When editing a PDF file with QuickLook, unfortunately, you can't edit the file text. But with the Text tool, you can add notes where you need them.

To use the Text tool, follow the steps below:

1. Click on the Text icon in the editing toolbar.

Select Text tool in QuickLook

2. A text box will appear in the middle of the file. Click on the text inside to write your own.
3. Drag the box where you need it.

From the toolbar, you can also change text font, size, color, and more.

Change text style in QuickLook

If you need to delete the text, click on it and press the Delete button on your keyboard.

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How to Create a Signature in QuickLook

QuickLook has a great function that lets you save and add your signature whenever you need it.

To create a signature in QuickLook, follow the steps below:

1. In the toolbar, click on the signature icon.

Select the Sign tool in QuickLook

2. Choose if you want to add your signature using a trackpad or camera.
3. If you choose the camera, write your signature on a piece of paper on hold it in front of the camera. Wait for it to capture the signature and click on "Done".

Create a signature in QuickLook

4. Click on your signature to add it to the document.

Add the signature to your PDF in QuickLook

5. Then drag where you need it and resize it.

Signature added to PDF in QuickLook

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How to Rotate and Crop a PDF File Page in QuickLook

Rotate, and Crop tools are helpful when you have an image in your PDF file. You can rotate and crop individual pages.

To rotate and crop a page, follow the steps below:

1. Select a page on the right sidebar or scroll down to it.
2. Then, click on the Rotate icon to turn the page as you like.

Rotate page in QuickLook

3. To crop a page, select it in the right sidebar or scroll down, so it takes up most of the window.
4. Then, click on the Crop icon. You will see the page corners appear.

Select Crop tool in QuickLook

5. Click on the page corners and drag them to crop the image or part of the page and click on the "Crop" button next to the crop icon.

Crop PDF page in QuickLook

Keep in mind that the Crop tool doesn't crop the PDF file.

Croped contecn doesn't disappear

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How to Edit PDF Files Using Preview

You can also edit PDf files using Preview. Usually, it's the default app for opening PDFs.

If you set another app to be the default PDF viewer, right-click on the file, hover over "Open With", and click on "Preview".

Open PDF in Preview

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How to View Edit Tools in Preview

To view editing tools in the Preview app, click on "Markup", located in the window's top right corner. A toolbar will appear with various tools like Text and Rectangular Selection, Redact. Sketch and more.

View edit tools in Preview

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How to Use Text Selection in Preview

In Preview, you can easily select text and then copy it, search in Google, and more.
 
To use text selection, follow the steps below:

1. Click on the Text Selection tool and select the text you want.

select Text tool in Preview

2. Then, right-click on the selection and choose an action.

select text and choose an action in Preview

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How to Use Rectangular Selection in Preview

With the Rectangular Selection tool, you can crop a page in your PDF file.

To crop a page, follow the steps below:

1. In the left sidebar, select a page you want to crop or scroll to it.
2. Then, click on the Rectangular Selection tool icon and select what you want to cut.

Select Rectangular Selection tool in Preview

3. When you're done selecting, in the menu bar click on "Crop to selection". Your page will be cropped.

Select text with Rectangular Selection tool in Preview

Keep in mind that the Crop tool doesn't crop the PDF file.

Cpored contect doesn't disappear in Preview

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How to Redact Content in Preview

With the Redact tool, you can edit your PDF text.

To redact text, follow the steps below:

1. Click on the Redact tool.

Select the Redact tool in Preview

2. Either select separate sentences and paragraphs or drag the cursor to create a box. You can resize and drag the box where you need it.

Redact content in Preview

After you redact content, you'll see a warning saying that "Redacted content is permanently removed". The content will be removed after you save and close the document.

Redacted contect is removed from PDF in Preview

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How to Use Sketch Tool in Preview

The same as in QuickLook, with the Sketch tool, you can sketch, mark text, and more.

To sketch, click on the Sketch tool icon and start drawing.

Select Sketch tool in Preview

If you prefer, you can change the color of the pen by clicking on the Border Color icon and selecting a color.

Change the sketch color in Preview

If you want to delete what you've sketched, click on a line and press the Delete button on your keyboard.

Delete sketch in Preview

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How to Use Shapes Tool in Preview

With the Shapes tool, you can add various shapes as a graphic element to make your PDF file more fun. With the Magnifying feature, you can zoom into the smallest font.

To use the Shapes tool, follow the steps below:

1. Click on the Shapes icon and select a shape you want.

Select the Shapes tool in Preview

2. It will appear in the middle of the file. Drag it to where you want it.

Resize shape in Preview

3. You can adjust the shape size by dragging its corners, which will be highlighted with blue dots.

You can also use the Magnifying tool to zoom in. Click on the blue corner to resize it.

Use the Magnifying tool in Preview

To delete the shape, click on it and press the Delete button on your keyboard.

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How to Use Text Tool in Preview

In PDF files, you cant delete or rewrite the text, but you can cross it out with a pen tool or remove it with the Redact tool, and then enter new text using the Text tool.

To use the Text tool, follow the steps below:

1. In the toolbar, click on the Text tool. A text box will appear in the middle of the file.

Select Text tool in Preview

2. Click on the text inside to write your own.
3. Then, drag the box where you need it. From the toolbar, you can also change text font, size, color, and more.

Change text style in Preview

If you need to delete the text, click on it and press the Delete button on your keyboard.

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How to Create a Signature in Preview

Creating a signature is the same process as in QuickLook.

To create a signature in the Preview app, follow the steps below:

1. In the toolbar, click on the Sign icon.

Select the Sign tool in Preview

2. Choose if you want to add your signature using a trackpad or camera.
3. With the camera, you need to write your signature on a piece of paper and hold it in front of the camera. Wait for it to capture the signature and click on "Done".

Create a signature in Preview

4. Click on your signature to add it to the document.

Signature created in Preview

5. Drag and resize your signature as you need.

Add singature to PDF in Preview

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How to Use Note in Preview

Preview also has a tool called Note. With it, you can add virtual sticky notes to your PDF file.

To use notes in the Preview app, follow the steps below:

1. To use Note, click on the tool icon.

Select the Notes tool in Preview

2. You will see a yellow square appear in the middle of the window. Click on it to type text.

Note will appear in Preview

3. When you're done, the note will minimize itself. Then, you can drag it anywhere on the page.

Drag note where needed in Preview

4. To view note content, double-click on it.

View note content in Preview

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How to Add and Rearrange PDF Pages

To add pages from one PDF file to another, follow the steps below:

1. Open both PDF files and open the Thumbnails sidebar.

Open Thumbnails sidebar in Preview

2. Select the pages you want to add to another file.
3. Then, drag them to the other PDF's sidebar.

View all PDF pages in Preview

To combine two PDF files, follow the steps below:

1. Open one PDF file and open the Thumbnails sidebar.

Open Thumbnails sidebar

2. Then, locate the other PDf file and select it.
3. Drag the selected PDF file to the opened PDF's sidebar. All pages from the added PDF file will be seen in the page sidebar.

Drag PDF to another PDf to combine in Preview

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How to Make PDF File Size Smaller

If your PDF file takes up to much space, you can make it smaller.

To reduce your PDF's size, follow the steps below:

1. In the menu bar, select "File" and click on "Export".
2. Make sure your file format is PDF.
3. Expand the dropdown menu next to "Quartz Filter" and select "Reduce File".

Reduce file size in Preview

4. Click on "Save".

Now your PDF should be a smaller size.

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We hope the information in this article was helpful!

You can also check out the video below for a step-by-step tutorial.

Video on How to Edit PDFs Using QuickLook and Preview on Your Mac

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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