accessing and working with PDF on Mac

Club AppleVis Member
macOS and Mac Apps

I proof read at work and I'm given everything in column layout PDF. I don't know much about PDF. I've discovered ways of navigating it to read by line/word/character, but I can't read in the correct order, some of the content is jumbled because of the columns being of unequal width etc. I also can't highlight areas of text that need adjusting, and I can't alter anything. The usual cut copy paste don't work, and nor can I select text to highlight. I haven't tried using mouse commands, as I don't usually use those, but am happy to give that a go if someone can advise me. I understand that not being able to edit the file might be because of the type of file, but my sighted colleagues can all highlight where correction is necessary and I can't.
Any help much appreciated.



Submitted by Alex Marositz on Thursday, May 2, 2019

Hi Kate

I am sorry to say, editing and annotating PDF files directly on Mac is not possible. I am curious about your work situation, for instance are you able to use an online service to export the PDF file to another format or are there security concerns? If you are, then it is certainly possible to highlight a more accessible format and save the document with the annotations back to PDF when you are finished.

Hope this helps

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, May 2, 2019

As far as I know, there is no accessible way to edit PDF files on any platform. VoiceOver support for PDFs on the Mac is a little better than it used to be, but Apple threw together a half-baked solution and doesn't seem interested in finishing it or significantly improving VoiceOver for that matter.

As has already been said, your best solution is converting the document to something like a Microsoft Word file, editing it, and then saving it as a PDF.

Submitted by Kate on Thursday, May 2, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

In reply to by Chris

Thanks both, and how disappointing. I work for a newspaper, and do the bulk and copy editing in either Word or Pages. Before we go to print, we need to proof read the paper. This is usually done in PDF because the layout is being checked as part of this process, that's why it's bothering me that I can't access the information as it's laid out in the document.
I've looked at my options for opening it in a different application. On the open menu from my email, as that's how I receive it, I have only iBooks, Safari and Preview available to me. The formatting in all of these is equally useless.
It's possible that I'm not tech enough to open it in the way that I need, and if that sounds like it's the case, please someone send me an idiots guide to doing that.
It's also possible that, no matter what I do, I'm going to lose crucial formatting. In this case, please someone tell me what's my least worst option.
Would it be more accessible in Windows?
Thanks again.

Submitted by Michal Rada on Tuesday, February 9, 2021

I often use commenting and annotating PDFs on Acrobat on both platforms, iOS and macOS.

Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Hi Kate,
Search applevis with the term "convert pdf" and you will find quite a few results. The Mac app category lists 8, several of which might meet you needs.
Just out of curiosity, what exactly is new where you are? The job, or pdf?