The Best PDF Converter for Mac in 2016: A Quick Review

If you are looking for the most powerful yet affordable PDF converter software for Mac, here's the place for you. We're going to have a quick review of several best options so that you can save time researching or testing.

Most Mac PDF conversion apps are not free, nor should they are. Hundreds of hours are spent by genius computer developers to make the products available; they deserve to get paid. That said, the options we list offer free trials though with certain function limitations.

Note: if your purpose of converting a PDF document is to edit it, you might be interested in the best Mac PDF editors we've reviewed in another article.

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** Below, you'll find our expert reviews of these Mac PDF conversion programs. But you can also click the links above to learn more specifics of each software.

Converting PDFs to Other File Formats: Two Options

PDF files are easy and convenient to be distributed and viewed across almost any computers and mobile devices; they are not if you want to deal with them such as add a header, split pages, edit the texts, or extract the graphs, etc. Because they are basically images and do not offer much flexibility for making changes. That's why a PDF converter tool comes in handy when you need to tweak PDF files.

If you use a Mac computer and need to deal with PDFs on a regular basis, there are usually two options to convert a "stubborn" PDF file to another type of document and then edit it as you want.

  1. Online Conversion Services: a quick search on Google will return a lot of results. All the services basically do the same thing: once you upload your PDF files to their servers, they'll automatically convert the files for you and return the output formats available to be downloaded. You then download them and make any changes you desire. This option is fast and convenient, but it's without drawbacks. First, it tends to be less secure if your PDFs contain some sensitive or confidential information; Second, the quality of output documents are less accurate (sometimes formatting gets messed up). Last but not least, it does not support batch conversion. That means, be prepared to wait longer if you have dozens of PDFs to be converted.
  2. Mac PDF Converter Software: There are many alternatives for such apps. If you only need to make small tweaks to a PDF file such as add pages, merge PDFs, etc., the built-in Preview app in Apple Macs is enough to handle that. If you need to convert PDFs to other formats such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint for a broader range of reuses. Then professional desktop software like Adobe Acrobat and the ones we recommend below are best options. We've never loved Acrobat because it contains too many features that we never use, and the software is over-priced — about $300 for direct purchase or $15 monthly subscription.

Mac PDF Converter Apps: What to Look for?

A great PDF converter for Mac should be both powerful and affordable. Here's a list of factors we take into consideration when evaluating the best app.

  • Security: Any software or apps you download to your Mac should be 100% clean and malware-free. We use MalwareBytes to scan each program to see if it contains any virus or malicious processes. Meanwhile, the software should not bundle any separate third-party apps or services.
  • Output Options: A good PDF converter software should meet your basic and advanced needs and convert your PDF files into any commonly used file formats such as images, text/RTF, Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. that are compatible with Apple iWork as well. Besides, the quality of output files should be high and keep the original formatting.
  • OCR Support: Optical Character Recognition, short for OCR is a technology that can convert a scanned PDF image into computer recognizable text elements. A Mac PDF Converter integrates OCR technology will save you tons when it comes to dealing with scanned PDFs.
  • Batch/partial Conversion: Batch processing option saves you much time and efforts if you need to convert multiple files; Partial conversion mode offers more flexibility as it allows you to convert specific pages you select.
  • Converting Speed: Depending on how many PDFs and how much content they contain, the PDF converting software you choose should be relatively fast in processing the tasks, so you won't waste much time waiting.
  • Overall Design: Working with PDFs is hard enough as they are. The PDF converter you choose should offer a friendly and clean interface with features and instructions displayed in an easy-to-understand manner so you can finish your work efficiently.
  • OS X Compatibility: The software/app you choose should also be compatible with latest OS X e.g. El Capitan and popular older versions, this way you don't have to worry about not being to run the software on your Mac.

The Best PDF Converter Software for Mac: 3 Great Choices

Wondershare PDF Converter for Mac

Our favorite PDF conversion tools for Mac OS X. It allows you to batch/partial convert PDF files into a range of other document formats such as iWork Pages, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, EPUB ebooks, images, and HTML web pages. The best part is that the output files keep almost the same layouts as the original PDFs do. Also, it supports converting password-protected PDF files.

Aiseesoft Mac PDF Converter Ultimate

Built with advanced OCR technology, Aiseesoft PDF solution is the best choice if you need to convert scanned PDF files into other editable formats. You can quickly and accurately export the original PDFs into a variety of formats such as text, Excel, Word, JPEG, PNG, etc. Best of all, the software allows you to customize output settings, for example, set preferred layout, pixel size, etc.

Nuance PDF Converter for Mac

Nuance's PDF Converter is a functional and powerful PDF converter as well as an editor. While the user interface isn't the best of the software we've tested, it's generally simple to use. You can also use it to scan physical papers/receipts directly to PDFs, then drag and drop any elements as you want and convert static PDF forms into fillable forms, and much more.

Andreas Louis
 

Based in CA, Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. He also has contributed to several other notable technology journals.

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