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3 Easy Ways to Write on a PDF on Mac

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PDF is a popular format for all sorts of documents, from resumés and CVs to calendars, maps, recipes, and pretty much anything you download from the internet or send over email.

But there is one common problem: these documents can’t be edited.

Or can they?

Actually, there are free online tools that make it possible to write on PDFs using your Mac computer. You can do it without downloading any programs or software.

In fact, because you will write on the PDF using a website, you can do this from any computer, phone, or other device with an internet connection.

How to type on a PDF on Mac without programs

The easiest way to type on a PDF on your Apple computer is to use a free online tool like FormatPDF.

In a nutshell, what you will do is:

  1. Go to the website
  2. Select the “Write on PDF” tool
  3. Upload your document
  4. Type on the PDF (you can select the size and color of the text)
  5. Download the finished document

The website is pretty straightforward if you want to dive in and get started, but we’ll take you through each step so you can be completely confident you’re doing everything correctly.

Step 1: Go to

Note that you can select the language in the top right hand corner.

The home screen will look something like this:


As you can see, there are several different tools to choose from.

But the one we want isn’t visible. So, click on the grey button that says “More Online PDF Tools”. (We’ve added the green star to help guide you.)

  1. Select the “Write on PDF” tool

After you click the grey button, scroll down until you see the “Write on PDF” tool.

Bingo! Click anywhere on the text to select the tool.

  1. Upload your document

 From the Write on PDF tool, you can click to select your document (green star, this will open up Finder on your Mac so you can choose your file).

Or, if you have your file handy, you can drag and drop it anywhere in the big red rectangle.

We uploaded a PDF of a recipe from the Nora Cooks website:

Above the document, there is a toolbar with different actions you can choose.

To add text to the PDF, click the T button (see green arrow).

You can select the color and size of the text. To type on the PDF, simply click where you want the text to go and start typing.

Here’s what we added:


You can type as much as you want, in as many colors and sizes as you want.

If you make a mistake, you can use the “Undo” button at the top, or click “Delete All” to get rid of all the changes and start fresh again.

  1. Download the finished document

After you’ve added all the text you want, click the red “Download” button.

This will save the new version of your PDF with the added text onto your Mac computer, in the Downloads folder.

How to handwrite on a PDF on Mac

If you would like to write on your PDF by hand, instead of typing, you can do it using the same FormatPDF tool mentioned above.

The first three steps are the same:

  1. Go to the website
  2. Select the “Write on PDF” tool
  3. Upload your document

Once your document is uploaded, you will select a different tool from the toolbar that appears above the document: the pen.


When you select the pen, options will open that allow you to choose:

  • free or straight lines
  • color
  • thickness of the stroke

For handwriting on PDFs, you will want to select free lines, whichever color, and thickness from 1 (the thinnest stroke) to 30 (thickest).

Then you click the mouse wherever you want to write, and drag it around to write the letters.

Here’s an example of what it looks like when you handwrite on a PDF on your Mac:

It can be difficult to write neatly using the mouse, so this may be a better option if you have a stylus pen connected to your Mac.

Once you’ve finished writing on the PDF, click the red download button to save it to your computer.

How to sign a PDF on Mac

There are 2 easy ways to sign PDFs using the same tool:

  1. write it by hand
  2. add a photo of your signature on top of the document

For the first option, follow the same steps above for writing on the PDF by hand.

To add a photo of your signature to the PDF, follow these steps:

  1. Write your signature on a blank white piece of paper and take a photo of it
  2. Send the photo to your email
  3. Open your email on your computer and download the photo
  4. Upload the document you want to sign into the FormatPDF tool
  5. Select the photo tool from the top toolbar

This will prompt you to upload the picture of your signature (it should be saved in your Downloads folder).

  1. Move the signature to where you want it on the document.
  2. Download the file.

FormatPDF also has a specific tool that is set up for signing PDFs. It works in the same way. You can find the specific signing tool on the website’s homepage.

How to delete text on a PDF on Mac

Just as it’s handy to know how to add text to a PDF, you may want to do the opposite and delete text from it:

  1. Go to FormatPDF
  2. Select the PDF to Word tool
  3. Upload the document
  4. Download it as a Word file (the website converts the file type for you)
  5. Open the Word document and delete any text
  6. Go to Format PDF and select the Word to PDF tool
  7. Upload the Word to convert it back to PDF
  8. Download the document


You can see that writing on a PDF is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do, once you know how. By using free online tools, you can make all sorts of changes to what at first glance seems like an uneditable format. If your file size is too big, read our guide on how to resize a PDF on Mac so it takes up less space.

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Kossi Adzo

Kossi Adzo is a technology enthusiast and digital strategist with a fervent passion for Apple products and the innovative technologies that orbit them. With a background in computer science and a decade of experience in app development and digital marketing, Kossi brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to the Apple Gazette team.

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