Last Updated on July 14, 2021 by Macsoftbox
We bring you a small collection with the best 7 free PDF readers for macOS, so that you can make the most of these types of files on your Mac.
The idea is that you always have a choice, for that we are going to talk about pdf tools that you already have, others very powerful and versatile, some freeware and others extremely light to be used on any Mac. Some allow you to sign documents, open several in different tabs, or leave comments for the rest of the team.
Safari, or any other browser
Before starting with today’s list, it seems fair to remind you that you won’t need to download any applications if you just want to read and open PDFs. This is so because both Safari and the rest of the major browsers have a built-in reader. Come on, you can read the PDF or print them without installing anything.
This compatibility has been available for some years now, and browsers will open PDF files as if they were a web. Its functions will be only the basic ones to read them and little else. In the event that you did not know this and your browser does not open the files, you will have to go to the operating system settings to mark your browser as its default reader.
Adobe has been offering its free tool for a long time to be able to use large PDF files, and which incidentally has some advanced features like tabbed view for multiple documents and compatibility with cloud storage services. If you already have an Adobe account, you can use your own cloud, although it also works with services like Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box.
Unfortunately, most advanced PDF editing features are reserved for Adobe Acrobat Pro, which is the paid version. But the free one offers some such as being able to sign the documents with text, handwritten signature at the moment, or adding an image where you have the signature scanned. To read the documents you will not have any problem, as well as to add annotations, comments, or the possibility of having the documents read to you.
This is an interesting alternative with a freeware license, which means that it is a totally free application as standard and you do not need to pay for any function. In return, you will find the negative point of the many resources it consumes, something that can weigh down its use in the event that you have a particularly old computer.
And if the previous reader seems too heavy and greedy of resources, this one stands out precisely for its speed and extreme lightness. To give you an idea, its installer only takes up 22 MB on macOS. This makes it an ideal option for those less powerful computers that need solutions according to their resources. This also helps everything load faster and documents take less time to open.
The downside to this app is that it only has basic options. At most, you can search the document or rotate it, but that’s it. There is no way to sign, fill in, comment or have more than one reading mode. So what you have is simply a free, lightweight, basic PDF reader.
Skim is an open-source PDF reader and annotator, which means that the entire community has been able to review its source code making sure it is secure and does not do more than it promises. It is specially designed for macOS, and in addition to allowing you to open any PDF file, it will allow you to make annotations on it.
So it opens PDF files, saves notes, highlights important text, takes screenshots, and navigates through tables of contents. It also has a viewer for all your notes and highlighted texts, works well on full screen and adds transitions to be able to make presentations. It also allows you to save passwords on the keychain or on the Mac.
It is a very useful and feature-rich tool for managing your PDFs, allowing you to edit both their text and their images. In addition, it will also allow you to convert the PDF that you have received to other formats, including those of Word or Excel.
One of its negative points is that its interface may be a bit confusing and complicated for novice users due to its many functions.
The other negative point is that its main version is paid, which means that the free version has some fewer functions and that if you edit a PDF when you save it, it will appear with a watermark.
And we end up with the big one, with what is in its own right one of the best PDF readers and editors you have on macOS: PDFElement. It allows you to open, edit, comment, and convert your PDF files, and in addition to a free version, you have a paid version.
As for the application, in addition to reading PDFs, it also has the possibility of adding text and images to the files, highlighting text, and being able to add annotations or protect the file with a password. All this is packaged in a simple interface, and if you want more you can also use the paid version.