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Multiple options are available to you when it comes to opening PDFs on Mac. However, you can’t rely on every option to go past opens, like editing, collaborating, and saving PDFs. 

In this article, I walk you through 4 methods to open PDFs on Mac. From the most modern free PDF reader tool – Macro, to other similar yet less powerful products.

How to open PDF on Mac?

If you read and edit PDFs daily, use a PDF reader that lets you do the job quickly.

Macro's sleek modern interface makes it easy for knowledge professionals to get through their document-related work faster and smarter.

Let’s see how Macro works.

Method 1. Macro

Macro is an all-in-one PDF + Word editor that lets you open, read, and edit documents offline and for free.

Here’s a short video tutorial on how to open PDF on Mac with Macro:

Want a written guide? Read ahead.

To open a PDF on Macro, you must first download the Macro app and create an account. After that, open the app and click ‘Open a PDF or DOCX file.’

You will see a window that shows you different file options to choose from on your Mac. Choose the PDF you want to open and press ‘return.’ You can also click on the PDF once and then click ‘Open.’

And that’s it!

👀 Note: In case you have an encrypted PDF file to open, Macro will ask you for a password.

Before moving on to the next PDF opening method, let's talk about the editing and reading capabilities of Macro.

Macro’s reading capabilities

Macro’s clean interface makes reading PDFs easy. The software lets you open multiple PDFs simultaneously using its browser-like “tab” functionality.

But that’s not all. 

With Macro, you can open different pages of the same PDFs in multiple tabs.

Let me explain:

For one of my PDF documents, I wanted to see pages 2 and 10 side-by-side. Instead of opening the same PDF twice and scrolling to pages 2 and 10, I used Macro. 

I clicked on the ‘Tabs’ option and opened another tab in the app with the same PDF.

Now, for the first tab, I scrolled to page 2, and for the second tab, I scrolled to page 10.

Apart from this, to increase PDF readability, you can:

  • Click on defined terms to read their definitions without scrolling
  • Navigate through long documents with AI-generated bookmarks
  • Use Macro’s AI-powered search to find words or whole sections faster
  • Zoom in to or zoom out of PDFs
  • Fit width and height to match your screen size

Macro’s editing capabilities

Macro's edit features give you several options to make changes to your PDF for free. 

You can:

  • Add a text box to any PDF page and take notes or provide extra information.
  • Add shapes like rectangles, circles, and triangles of all colors and sizes.
  • Add page numbers to PDFs to increase navigability.
  • Create a signature by typing or drawing, and sign PDFs securely.
  • Add images to PDFs.
  • Add a watermark or redact text for confidentiality.
  • Add headers and footers to increase PDF readability.
  • Add comments and bookmarks to let your team know about important stuff.

Method 2. Mac’s Preview app

The Preview app is Mac's default PDF viewer. 

Preview lets you read and edit PDFs but has limited functionality. 

There are two ways you can open a PDF with this app:

  1. Launch the Preview app, choose the PDF you want to open, and click ‘Open.’
  2. In Mac's Finder tool, search for the PDF you want to open and press ‘return.’ Mac will open the PDF in the Preview app, provided you haven't changed the default PDF viewer from Preview to another software.

Method 3. Adobe Acrobat Reader

Opening PDFs with Adobe Reader is easy once you install it on your device: 

  • Select the PDF you want to open
  • Right-click and go to ‘Open with’
  • Click ‘Adobe Acrobat’

And you’re done.

Like Macro, Adobe Acrobat lets you read, edit, and annotate PDFs on Mac. But to use most of its features, you must subscribe to Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Method 4. UPDF 

Like Macro and Adobe, UPDF is another PDF editor that you can use to download and open PDFs on your Mac.

Open the app after downloading. 

On the main interface of UPDF, click ‘Open File’ and choose the PDF you want to open.

If your document is not protected with a password, it'll automatically open without interference.

Read and edit documents faster with Macro

Opening a PDF with any tool is quick and easy. But not every PDF reader out there will give you comprehensive editing features.

Macro’s editor gives you several premium features for free.

Want to explore more? Download the Macro app.