How to crop a PDF

How to crop a PDF

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พฤศจิกายน 30, 2023

Learn diverse ways to crop PDF files, from advanced desktop editors to simple mobile apps and unconventional methods.

How to crop a PDF

Table of Contents


In a world inundated with digital documents, the ability to manipulate PDFs with precision is a valuable skill. Whether you’re streamlining content for a presentation, focusing on specific details for collaboration, or simply customizing documents for personal use, understanding various methods of PDF cropping is essential. This guide explores five distinct approaches, each catering to different preferences and technical environments.

  1. How to Crop a PDF Using Desktop PDF Editors:
    For users who prefer offline solutions and seek advanced editing features, desktop PDF editors like Adobe Acrobat or Foxit PhantomPDF offer comprehensive tools. This method ensures a powerful environment for precise cropping, making it suitable for intricate editing tasks. In this guide, we’ll delve into the step-by-step process of cropping a PDF using Adobe Acrobat, showcasing the capabilities of desktop applications.
  2. How to Crop a PDF Using Preview on Mac:
    Mac users benefit from a built-in PDF editing feature within the Preview application. Ideal for those who prefer simplicity without compromising functionality, this method allows users to crop PDFs seamlessly. From opening PDFs to applying and saving cropping changes, this section provides a user-friendly guide tailored for Mac enthusiasts.
  3. How to Crop a PDF Using Microsoft Word Method:
    Surprisingly, Microsoft Word proves to be more versatile than expected, offering a quick and efficient solution for PDF cropping. This method is particularly useful for users familiar with Word’s interface, providing a straightforward approach to document customization. The guide details the steps, from inserting a PDF into Word to applying and saving cropping changes.
  4. How to Crop a PDF Using Mobile Apps for PDF Cropping:
    For individuals constantly on the move, mobile apps become indispensable tools. Adobe Acrobat Reader and PDF Expert, among others, offer intuitive interfaces for PDF editing on mobile devices. This section provides a general guide on downloading, using, and saving cropped PDFs using mobile apps.
  5. How to Crop a PDF Using a Print and Scan Approach:
    When other methods prove elusive, a simple yet effective print-and-scan approach emerges as a viable solution. This unconventional method can be surprisingly efficient for basic cropping needs. The guide covers the steps, emphasizing the importance of creating backups before making any alterations.

Each method explored in this guide presents a unique set of advantages, allowing users to choose the approach that aligns with their preferences, technical capabilities, and the nature of the PDF cropping task at hand. Whether you’re working on a desktop computer, a Mac, a mobile device, or embracing an unconventional print-and-scan strategy, this comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge to crop PDFs like a pro.

How to crop a PDF

Comparison table

FeatureDesktop PDF EditorsPreview on MacMicrosoft Word MethodMobile Apps for PDF CroppingPrint and Scan Approach
PlatformDesktop (Windows, macOS)macOSWindows, macOSMobile (iOS, Android)Desktop, Mobile
Ease of UseModerate to AdvancedBeginner to IntermediateBeginnerBeginnerBeginner to Intermediate
Advanced FeaturesYesLimitedBasic Editing FeaturesLimitedLimited
Integration with Other ToolsYesNative to macOSPart of Microsoft Office SuiteLimitedIndependent
CostOften Paid (Adobe Acrobat, Foxit PhantomPDF)Free (Built into macOS)Part of Microsoft Office Suite (Paid for Full Version)Free or Freemium (Adobe Acrobat Reader, PDF Expert)Minimal to None
MobilityLimited (Desktop)Limited (macOS)Limited (Desktop)Full (iOS, Android)Limited (Printers/Scanners Needed)
Flexibility in Cropping PrecisionHighModerateModerateModerateLow
File Format After CroppingPDFPDFPDFPDFPDF
Accessibility of Cropping ToolsExtensive ToolbarLimited ToolbarToolbar in Microsoft WordApp InterfacePrinter/Scanner Settings
User FamiliarityVaried (Depending on Software)Familiar (macOS Users)Familiar (Microsoft Word Users)Familiar (Smartphone Users)Familiar with Basic Printing/Scanning

This comparison table provides an overview of the key features and attributes associated with each method of cropping a PDF. The suitability of a method depends on factors such as user expertise, platform preferences, desired features, and the level of precision required. Users can choose the method that aligns with their specific needs and technical capabilities.

How to crop a PDF with Online PDF Editors

In the digital age, the need to manipulate PDFs efficiently has given rise to the popularity of online PDF editors. Among these, platforms such as SmallPDF, PDF Candy, and Adobe Acrobat Online stand out, providing users with accessible and user-friendly interfaces along with powerful cropping tools. The process of cropping a PDF using these online editors is remarkably straightforward:

  1. Visit the Online PDF Editor: To initiate the process, open your preferred online PDF editor in a standard web browser. This could be SmallPDF, PDF Candy, or Adobe Acrobat Online.
  2. Upload Your PDF: Once you’re on the platform, look for the option to upload your PDF. This is typically achieved by clicking on a designated area or using a drag-and-drop feature to import your PDF file into the editor.
  3. Access the Crop Tool: Locate the “Crop” or “Edit” option within the interface. This tool is often symbolized by a square or rectangle icon, making it easily recognizable.
  4. Adjust the Cropping Area: With the crop tool activated, click and drag to define the specific area of the PDF you wish to retain. Most editors also provide handles that allow for meticulous adjustments, ensuring precision in your selection.
  5. Apply the Changes: Once satisfied with your cropping selection, proceed to apply the changes. This step is usually completed by clicking an “Apply” or “Crop” button, finalizing the modifications made to your PDF.
  6. Download the Cropped PDF: The last step involves downloading the modified PDF to your computer. Look for an option to save or download the cropped document, and voila – your PDF is now precisely tailored to your specifications. These user-friendly online tools make the seemingly complex task of cropping a PDF both accessible and efficient for users of all technical backgrounds.

How to crop a PDF using Desktop PDF Editors

For those who prefer offline solutions with advanced editing capabilities, desktop PDF editors like Adobe Acrobat or Foxit PhantomPDF offer a robust set of features. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to crop a PDF using Adobe Acrobat:

Open Your PDF in Adobe Acrobat: Initiate the process by launching Adobe Acrobat and opening the specific PDF file you intend to crop. This can usually be done by selecting “File” and then “Open.”

Access the Crop Tool: Navigate to the “Organize Pages” tool, often found in the toolbar or menu options. Once located, click on it and select “Crop” from the available options.

Adjust the Crop Box: With the crop tool activated, a resizable box, known as the crop box, will appear on your PDF. Click and drag to create a box around the area you wish to retain. This step defines the scope of your cropping.

Fine-Tune if Necessary: For precision, utilize the handles on the sides and corners of the crop box to fine-tune the selection. This ensures that you capture the exact content you want without any unnecessary elements.

Apply the Crop: When satisfied with the cropping selection, click the “Apply” button. This action finalizes the crop, and you’ll witness the removal of the unwanted areas as per your defined crop box.

Save the Modified PDF: To preserve your modifications, save the document. This is typically done by selecting “File” and then choosing “Save” or “Save As.” Confirm the changes, and your PDF is now permanently cropped according to your specifications. Desktop PDF editors provide a comprehensive and efficient environment for more intricate editing tasks, offering users a powerful toolkit for document customization.

How to crop a PDF

How to crop a PDF using Preview on Mac

For Mac users, the Preview application provides a convenient built-in feature for editing PDFs, including the ability to crop them. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to crop a PDF using Preview:

Open Your PDF in Preview: Commence the process by right-clicking on your PDF file. From the contextual menu, select “Open With” and then opt for “Preview.” This action opens the PDF in the Preview application.

Access the Crop Tool: Within Preview, locate and click on the “Show Markup Toolbar” button. This toolbar provides access to various editing tools, including the crop feature. Once the toolbar is visible, select the “Crop” icon.

Select the Area to Keep: Activate the crop tool and click and drag to define a crop box around the specific content you wish to retain. The box serves as a visual guide, helping you precisely isolate the desired portion of the PDF.

Apply the Crop: Having defined the crop area, proceed by clicking the “Crop” button. This action applies the cropping changes to your PDF, removing any unwanted sections according to the boundaries of the crop box.

Save the Modified PDF: To preserve your edited PDF, navigate to the “File” menu and select “Save” or “Save As.” Confirm your choice, and the modified document with the applied crop is now securely saved.

Preview on Mac provides a straightforward and user-friendly environment for basic PDF editing tasks, making it an accessible option for users who require simplicity without sacrificing functionality. By following these steps, Mac users can effortlessly crop their PDFs within the Preview application, tailoring documents to their specific needs with ease.

How to crop a PDF using Microsoft Word Method

In a surprising twist, Microsoft Word can serve as a versatile tool for basic PDF editing tasks, including cropping. Here’s a step-by-step guide to utilizing the Microsoft Word method:

Open Word and Insert PDF: Initiate the process by opening a new Word document. Navigate to the “Insert” tab and select “Object” -> “Text from File.” This prompts you to insert your PDF into the Word document.

Access the Crop Tool: Once the PDF is inserted, click on it. The “Format” tab should appear in the toolbar. Look for the “Crop” option among the available tools.

Crop the PDF: Activate the crop tool by selecting “Crop.” A border with handles will appear around the inserted PDF. Click and drag these handles to adjust the crop area, ensuring you include the specific content you want to retain. Press “Enter” to apply the cropping changes.

Save as PDF: With the cropping complete, navigate to the “File” menu. Select “Save As” and choose the PDF format for saving your document. This step is crucial to maintain your edited PDF format.

This method, utilizing Microsoft Word, provides a surprisingly accessible approach to crop PDFs without the need for specialized PDF editing software. While it may not offer the extensive features of dedicated PDF editors, it serves as a quick and efficient solution for users already familiar with Microsoft Word. By following these steps, you can seamlessly crop PDFs within the familiar environment of Word and then save the modified document in PDF format, adding a convenient dimension to your document editing toolkit.

How to crop a PDF using Mobile Apps for PDF Cropping

For those constantly on the move, the convenience of PDF editing is now at your fingertips through mobile apps. Notably, applications like Adobe Acrobat Reader and PDF Expert stand out, offering intuitive interfaces for effortless PDF cropping. Here’s a general guide on how to crop a PDF using these mobile apps:

Download a PDF Editing App: Begin by installing a reliable PDF editing app from your device’s app store. Adobe Acrobat Reader and PDF Expert are popular choices known for their user-friendly interfaces and efficient tools.

Open Your PDF in the App: Launch the installed app and import the PDF document you wish to crop. Most apps allow you to either upload directly from your device or access files stored in cloud services.

Access the Crop Tool: Look for a tool labeled “Crop” or a similar term within the app’s interface. This tool is typically represented by an icon resembling a square or rectangle.

Select and Adjust the Crop Area: Activate the crop tool and tap on the screen to select the content you want to keep. You can then adjust the handles that appear on the edges of the selection box to fine-tune the cropping area according to your preferences.

Apply the Crop: Once satisfied with your selection, apply the crop. This action is usually completed by tapping a confirmation button, often labeled as “Apply” or “Crop.”

Share or Save the Cropped PDF: Depending on the specific app, you can either share the cropped PDF directly from the application or choose to save it to your device. Look for options like “Share,” “Save,” or “Export,” and follow the prompts to complete the process.

With these mobile apps, PDF cropping becomes a swift and user-friendly experience, allowing you to tailor documents on the go. Whether you need to share the modified PDF or store it for later use, these apps simplify the process, making them essential tools for mobile productivity.

How to crop a PDF using a Print and Scan Approach

When faced with challenges in cropping a PDF using conventional methods, a surprisingly effective alternative lies in the print-and-scan approach. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Print the PDF: Begin by opening the PDF and selecting the print option. Instead of directing it to a physical printer, opt for the “Save as PDF” alternative. This step essentially transforms your PDF into a printable format without the need for physical output.

Adjust Print Settings: Within the print settings, navigate to the paper size adjustment. Customize the dimensions to align with the specific area you aim to retain after cropping. This setting essentially defines the boundaries for your desired crop.

Save the Printed PDF: Proceed to save the document after adjusting the print settings. The system generates a new PDF reflective of the modified print parameters, effectively acting as a cropped version of the original document.

It’s crucial to note that before embarking on any alterations to vital documents, it’s wise to create a backup to ensure the preservation of the original content. While this print-and-scan method may seem unconventional, it can be surprisingly effective, especially when other tools or methods are inaccessible.

In the realm of PDF cropping, having a diverse toolkit is invaluable. Each method, whether it’s utilizing online editors, desktop applications, mobile apps, or even a print-and-scan approach, offers unique advantages. Choosing the most suitable method depends on individual preferences, technical capabilities, and the nature of the task at hand. With these versatile methods at your disposal, you can confidently tackle PDF cropping challenges, ensuring that your documents are precisely tailored to meet your requirements.


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide has illuminated a diverse array of methods for effectively cropping PDFs, catering to various preferences, technical environments, and user needs. The exploration began with the robust capabilities offered by desktop PDF editors such as Adobe Acrobat and Foxit PhantomPDF. The power and precision of these applications make them ideal for users seeking advanced features and seamless editing experiences.

Moving to the Mac environment, we discovered the built-in potential of Preview, providing a simple yet effective solution for PDF cropping. Mac users can enjoy the ease of use and integration within the familiar Preview application, showcasing the seamless synergy between operating systems and native tools.

Surprisingly, Microsoft Word unveiled its versatility beyond text editing, offering an unexpected yet efficient method for PDF cropping. The familiarity of Word’s interface makes this approach particularly accessible, showcasing the program’s adaptive nature for a broader range of tasks.

The mobile era was not overlooked, with a spotlight on mobile apps like Adobe Acrobat Reader and PDF Expert. These apps provide on-the-go solutions, ensuring that users can efficiently crop PDFs from the convenience of their smartphones or tablets. The user-friendly interfaces of these apps make them especially valuable for those who prioritize mobility and quick edits.

Lastly, the guide explored an unconventional yet surprisingly effective approach: the print-and-scan method. This method showcased the adaptability and creativity users can employ when faced with challenges, proving that simplicity can often be a powerful solution.

In essence, whether you are a professional requiring advanced editing tools, a Mac enthusiast appreciating native applications, a Microsoft Word user seeking unexpected functionalities, a mobile-centric individual valuing convenience, or someone embracing unconventional methods, this guide has equipped you with a comprehensive toolkit for PDF cropping. By understanding and leveraging the strengths of each method, users can confidently navigate the diverse landscape of PDF editing, ensuring that their documents are precisely tailored to their specifications.

If you want to learn about How to Annotate a PDF, you can read about it in our previous blog article.


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