How to Crop a PDF on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Welcome to our article on how to crop a PDF on a Mac. Cropping a PDF can be a useful skill whether you’re trying to reduce file size, focus on certain content, or simply clean up the document. In this article, we’ll guide you through 12 steps to crop a PDF on your Mac, and provide additional explanations and tips to make the process even easier.

Steps to Crop a PDF on a Mac

Step 1: Open PDF with Preview

The Preview app comes pre-installed on all Mac computers, and it’s the perfect tool for cropping PDF files. To begin, open your PDF document with Preview by selecting the file and clicking on “Open With” > “Preview.” Alternatively, you can open the Preview app first and then drag and drop the PDF file into the app.

Step 2: Select Tools

Once your document is open in Preview, select the “Tools” option located on the top toolbar. From the drop-down menu, choose “Rectangular Selection” or “Lasso Selection” depending on your preference.

Step 3: Choose Crop Option

To access the crop option, click on “Tools” > “Crop.” Alternatively, you can use the shortcut key, “Command + K.” This will allow you to crop your selected area or the entire page.

Step 4: Select Crop Handles

Move your cursor to the corner of the cropped area to reveal the crop handles. These handles allow you to adjust the selected area as needed. You can also click “Done” to confirm your selection.

Step 5: Create a New Document

If you only need to crop one page from your PDF, then you’re almost done. However, if you want to crop multiple pages, you’ll need to create a new document. To do this, select “File” > “Export as PDF” and save it as a new file.

Step 6: Choose the Pages You Want to Crop

If you want to crop specific pages, select “View” > “Thumbnails” to see a smaller version of each page. From there, select the pages you want to crop by holding down the “Command” key and clicking on each page.

Step 7: Follow Steps 2-4 to Crop Selected Pages

Use the same steps as before to crop the selected pages in your Preview app. Once you are finished, select “File” > “Export as PDF” and save as a new file.

Step 8: Use a Third-Party App for Advanced Cropping

If you need to do more precise cropping or advanced editing, Preview may not be enough. Instead, consider using a third-party app like Adobe Acrobat DC or PDF Expert. These apps offer many advanced features for PDF editing, including cropping.

Step 9: Use Pages App for More Customizable Options

The Pages app is another great option for PDF cropping, especially if you have a more complex document with graphics or multiple pages. To start, open your document in Pages and select “Format” > “Image” > “Crop.” From there, you can use the crop handles to customize your selection.

Step 10: Use an Online Tool for Quick Cropping

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have access to Preview or other apps, online tools like Smallpdf and PDFResizer can quickly crop your PDF files. Simply upload your document and follow the instructions to crop and download the new file.

Step 11: Consider Using Automator App for Batch Cropping

The Automator app on your Mac can help you automate tasks, including batch cropping PDF files. With this app, you can create a workflow that crops multiple files at once. To learn how to use Automator for this task, visit Apple’s support page.

Step 12: Save and Enjoy Your Cropped PDF

Once you’ve finished cropping your PDF, save your new file and enjoy your trimmed-down and cleaned-up document!


When you crop a PDF, you make a new file that contains only the content you selected. This can help you remove unnecessary or unwanted information and reduce the file size for easier sharing or storage. Cropping can also help you focus on a specific section of a document, making it easier to read or present.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use shortcut keys to save time.

Learn the shortcut keys for Preview and other apps to save time on simple tasks like cropping. For example, “Command + K” is the shortcut key for the crop option in Preview.

2. Use online tools for easy and fast cropping.

If you only need to crop a few pages or don’t have access to apps like Preview, try using online tools like Smallpdf and PDFResizer. These tools are free and can quickly crop your PDF files.

3. Use third-party apps for advanced editing.

If you need to do more advanced editing, third-party apps like Adobe Acrobat DC and PDF Expert offer many features beyond basic crop tool.

4. Keep the original file after cropping.

Always save the original file after cropping. This way, you can keep the full document just in case you need it later.

5. Learn how to use Automator for batch processing.

The Automator app can help you automate repetitive tasks, including batch processing of multiple PDF files. Learn how to use this app to save time when cropping multiple files.

6. Use the Pages app for more complex documents.

If you have a PDF document with graphics or multiple pages, consider using the Pages app for more customization options when cropping.

7. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

If you’re stuck or unsure about how to crop a certain section of your PDF, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a friend, colleague, or online forum. It’s always better to get a second opinion.

8. Experiment with different cropping tools.

There are many different tools you can use to crop a PDF, including Preview, Adobe Acrobat DC, PDF Expert, and online tools. Experiment with different tools to find the one that works best for your specific needs.

9. Always double-check your selection before cropping.

Make sure you’ve selected the right area before cropping to avoid accidentally cutting out important information.

10. Practice makes perfect.

Practice cropping different PDFs to get more comfortable with the process. The more you practice, the easier it will become.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cropping a PDF on Mac

Cropping a PDF on Mac has become increasingly popular due to its convenience and accessibility. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider when using this feature. In this section, we will discuss these points in detail.

1. Saves Time – Cropping a PDF on Mac saves a lot of time compared to manually cutting or editing a document. It can be done quickly and efficiently with just a few clicks.
2. Convenience – You can easily crop a PDF on Mac without having to switch to other software or online tools.
3. Customizable – Cropping a PDF on Mac allows you to customize the page size and dimensions according to your needs.
4. Professional Appearance – Cropping a PDF on Mac can help make your document look more professional by removing unnecessary white spaces and margins.
5. Easy to Share – Cropping a PDF on Mac helps reduce the size of the document, making it easier to share via email, messaging apps, and cloud services.

1. No Undo Option – Once you have cropped the PDF on Mac, you cannot undo the action.
2. Risk of Losing Content – If not done carefully, cropping a PDF on Mac can lead to the loss of important content or data.
3. Compatibility Issues – Cropping a PDF on Mac can sometimes cause compatibility issues when opening the file on other devices or software.
4. Altering the Originality – By cropping a PDF on Mac, you are altering the originality of the document, which might not be acceptable in certain situations.
5. Limited Editing – Cropping a PDF on Mac only lets you edit the dimensions of the document and not the content itself.

In conclusion, cropping a PDF on Mac has both advantages and disadvantages. It’s essential to weigh these pros and cons before using this feature, to ensure that it suits your needs and is appropriate for the document. Overall, if done correctly, cropping a PDF on Mac can be a highly beneficial tool that saves time and enhances the quality of your document.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do I need to crop a PDF on Mac?

Cropping a PDF on Mac allows you to remove unwanted areas or margins on a PDF document, making it easier for you to read or present the content on various devices and platforms. It can also help reduce the file size of your PDF and improve its overall appearance.

2. Can I crop a PDF without any special software?

Yes, you can crop a PDF using the default Preview app on your Mac. Preview comes pre-installed on all Mac machines and has a range of basic editing features, including cropping.

3. How do I crop a PDF using Preview?

To crop a PDF using Preview, open the PDF with Preview and select the “show markup toolbar” button. Then choose the “crop” option and select the area of the PDF you want to keep. Finally, click “crop” and save your newly cropped PDF.

4. Can I crop a PDF in batches?

Yes, you can use batch processing software like Adobe Acrobat or PDFsam to crop multiple PDF files at once. These tools allow you to set the same cropping parameters for each file, saving you time and effort.

5. How precise can I crop a PDF using Preview?

With Preview, you can crop a PDF down to the pixel level, allowing you to get incredibly precise with your cropping. Simply drag the crop boxes until you have the desired area selected.

6. Can I undo a crop in Preview?

Yes, simply press Cmd + Z or go to “Edit” > “Undo” in the menu bar to undo any previous cropping actions in Preview.

7. What’s the difference between cropping and resizing a PDF?

Cropping a PDF removes unwanted areas from the document, while resizing changes the overall dimensions of the document. Resizing a PDF can affect the aspect ratio and proportions of the content, while cropping preserves these properties.

8. Does cropping affect the quality of the PDF?

No, cropping a PDF should not affect its quality as long as you save the file using the appropriate file format and resolution. However, cropping too much may make the document more difficult to read or understand.

9. Which file formats can I crop using Preview?

With Preview, you can crop PDF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and a range of other common image file formats. However, other types of documents may require different software to edit or crop.

10. Can I crop a password-protected PDF document?

Cropping a password-protected PDF document may be restricted due to security reasons. However, if you have the correct permissions and password to edit the document, you can crop it using Preview or another PDF editor.

11. Is there a limit to how large a PDF file I can crop?

The size of the PDF file you can crop depends on your computer’s processing power and available storage space. However, even large PDF documents can be cropped using software like Adobe Acrobat or PDFsam, which can handle bulk PDF processing.

12. Are there any online tools for cropping PDFs?

Yes, there are several online tools for cropping PDFs, including smallpdf, ilovepdf, and However, these tools may not be as secure or reliable as desktop software like Adobe Acrobat or Preview.

13. How do I know if a PDF has been cropped?

When you open a PDF document, you can usually tell if it has been cropped by looking at its dimensions or aspect ratio. Cropped PDFs may also have a more centered or focused appearance than uncropped ones, with less extraneous white space on the edges.

How to Crop a PDF on Mac

For Mac users who frequently work with PDF documents, cropping them can be a useful way to remove any unnecessary margins or white space. Cropping a PDF on Mac is simple, and you can use various tools to do it. In this article, we’ll show you different methods to crop PDF files on Mac, so you can easily modify them to fit your needs.


In conclusion, cropping a PDF on Mac is a quick and easy process. With the built-in Preview app or specialized software such as Adobe Acrobat, Mac users can crop PDF files according to their preferences. Whether you need to remove borders or eliminate white space, these tools will allow you to make the necessary adjustments quickly and efficiently. Follow the steps we’ve outlined above, and you’ll be able to crop PDFs on Mac in no time.


Thank you for reading our guide on how to crop a PDF on Mac. By now, you should have a better understanding of the different methods available to modify PDF files on your Mac. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Good luck with your PDF editing endeavors!