Top 5 Free and Paid PDF Annotators for Mac: Effortless Marking and Annotation

Summary :

After a hundred times of tests, we concluded the list of the best PDF annotators for Mac. Go through all the details and pick the best one to help out!

Table of Contents

PDF Annotator for Mac

PDF Annotator for Mac

It is just hard to edit PDF text, the same goes for annotating PDFs. PDF annotation means the addition of comments, and highlighting important information to make the PDF easier to read and understand.

Here in this article, we will show you 5 free and paid PDF annotators working on Mac. Go through all their key features and know how to use them.

PDFgear Desktop – Completely Free PDF Annotator Without Limitations

PDFgear Desktop is your one-stop solution for editing PDFs working on both PC and Mac. While being used as a PDF annotator, it helps you add notes, text boxes, freehand draws, highlights, underlines, and strikethrough to the texts. In one click, you can hide all annotations you previously added. If necessary, you can also use PDFgear to edit the text after finishing the annotation, for example, change the text font, color, and size.

Obviously, all free and practical annotation tools on the PDFgear desktop help to make the PDF easier to read. Yet, nothing is perfect. PDFgear desktop lacks the dark mode, which is important for people who work at night.

Here is how to use PDFgear Desktop to annotate PDFs.

Step 1. Download PDFgear desktop to your computer and launch it. Click on the Open File button.

Step 2. Move to the Annotate section, select the tool you need, and start editing.

PDFgear PDF Annotator

PDFgear PDF Annotator

Preview – Fixed Mac PDF Annotator for All Mac Users

Preview is a fixed PDF annotator for all Mac users. Even though you can’t use it to edit text on PDF, you can use it to add shapes, redact, freehand drawings, and sticky notes. Since Preview is part of the Apple system, all PDFs edited can be synchronized to other devices and shared with other iCloud users. You can also share PDFs on your computer via OneNote, Evernote, and more.

According to Preview users’ feedback, occasionally, you can’t select text to copy/paste or fill forms in the PDF. Even though there is a free version, to get full features, you need to subscribe at a price of $34.39 per month.

Learn how to add annotations to PDFs using Preview.

Step 1. Open one of your PDFs with Preview.

Step 2. Click on the pencil icon to display all annotation tools. Highlight, add notes, or make more edits.

Preview PDF Annotator

Preview PDF Annotator

Apple Books – Most Convenient E-Book Annotator

Apple Books is devoted to providing the best e-book reading experience. While you are reading an e-book, you can easily highlight, underline text, or add notes. They are accessible at any time for creating flash cards. Just like other default Apple software, Apple Books allows you to sync all edits you made on different devices. It is also easy to share the e-books with the annotations you made.

As one of the best PDF annotators, its shortcoming is quite obvious. Firstly, Apple Books works best on iPhone or iPad with Apple Pencil. You might not be able to gain the best PDF annotating experience on Apple Books with Mac. Besides, Apple Books is short of other PDF annotation tools like adding shapes, and freehand drawing.

Discover the process of annotating PDFs with Apple Books

Step 1. Launch Apple Books then double-click the books to open.

Step 2. Select any text, in the pop-up menu, underline or add notes.

Apple Books for Annotating

Apple Books for Annotating

Adobe Acrobat – Traditional Solution for PDF Annotation

Adobe Acrobat, one of the oldest PDF editors, makes it easy to annotate your PDFs and manage all markups. Its annotation tools include adding text boxes, sticky notes, shapes, freehand drawings, highlights, strikethroughs, and so much more. After done with annotating, Adobe Acrobat allows users to share the PDF with others for group review, and consolidate comments in one place. Reviewers can also make comments from any device, without having to sign in or install.

The sad thing is, that Adobe Acrobat has a free version, but it doesn’t contain all annotation tools. Full annotation tools are included in Adobe Acrobat Pro which costs $19.99 per month, and you don’t get any discount even if you go for the annual subscription.

Explore using Adobe Acrobat to make annotations in PDF documents on Mac.

Step 1. Open a PDF in Acrobat and select Comment.

Step 2. Add PDF annotations to your file, for example, add text boxes, and notes.

Step 3. Save your file or click on the Share with Others icon to send the file to others.

Adobe Acrobat PDF Annotator

Adobe Acrobat PDF Annotator

PDF Expert – The Most Advanced Annotation Toolkit

PDF Expert claims to have the most advanced annotation tools giving users smooth marking-up experiences. You can add stamps to review the documents, add stickers to make your documents outstanding, or add audio notes if you are in a hurry. More annotation features are waiting to be explored.

Now, it is time to talk about its shortcomings. The only trouble we encountered while using PDF Expert was the crashing issue. However, that only happens when you make too many edits on one document. Moreover, it is also a paid PDF annotator. The cheapest subscription plan costs only $6.67 per month.

Find the way to annotate PDFs with PDF Expert on Mac.

Step 1. Open your PDF and click on Annotate on the toolbar.

Step 2. Find the annotation tool you need and start editing.

PDF Expert for Annotating PDF

PDF Expert for Annotating PDF


The above 5 free and paid PDF annotators are all good to go! However, we strongly recommend PDFgear because it is a great balance between price and strong annotation tools. You can find any PDF annotation tools at PDFgear and use them all for free. It also has more features to help you level up your PDF, for example, PDF OCR, and format conversion, Feel free to explore the endless possibilities with PDFgear!

More Related Articles