My question is in reference to the title shown in Acrobat Reader's tab and title bar that reads "Modern business letter."

enter image description here

I generated the PDF from a .docx document, and the document is generated based on a LibreOffice template (.odt) named "Modern business letter", which is where the title name comes from.

I know how to change the template name in LibreOffice, but that can cause unwanted error if I forget to change it the next time I use the same template. How do I change the individual PDF title, either in Acrobat Reader or in Finder?

  • Just to clarify, was the PDF itself generated by MS Word, or by LibreOffice? Also, what version of macOS are you running and what version of Acrobat Reader, MS Word and/or Libre Office? – Monomeeth Feb 28 '17 at 7:44
  • 1
    @Monomeeth, Personally, I wish every question included the hardware and software information surrounding the question, however... There is no clarification necessary since neither Adobe Reader or Finder, by default and natively, have the capability to edit that information and that's the focus of the question being asked, "How do I change the individual PDF title, either in Acrobat Reader or in Finder?". the information you're requesting is not really relevant in this situation. It either needs to be done before being exported/printed to PDF or use an app capable of editing PDF Documents. – user3439894 Feb 28 '17 at 15:54
  • You cannot either in Reader or Finder... – Vishal Kumar Sahu Feb 28 '17 at 18:41
up vote 13 down vote accepted

To answer the question you asked, "How do I change the individual PDF title, either in Acrobat Reader or in Finder?", you can't. Neither Acrobat Reader or Finder, by default and natively, have the capability to edit that information. It needs to be done before being exported/printed to PDF or use an app capable of editing PDF Documents.

The industry standard is Adobe Acrobat however it's an expensive app and overkill if looking to just edit that information.

I have, in the past, used the PDFInfo app mentioned in the answer by בנימן הגלילי , it works and is free. (I have no affiliation with Sybrex Systems, the maker of PDFInfo., other then having used their product.)


If you have exiftool installed and want to do it from the command line in Terminal, use the following syntax:

exiftool -Title="New Title" /path/to/filename.pdf
  • To clear the Title, just use: -Title=""
  • Other meta-data can be changed in a similar fashion.
  • Thanks for this! I also realized that this is the only method that does not change the size of the document. Before exiftool I tried several other methods (PDF Attributes and PDF Attributes Editor apps, Automator Workflow as described by @Allan below) but they all drastically increase the file size. – Lev Sivashov Aug 30 at 12:59

You can do this through Automator. Automator includes a number of functions to get and set PDF Metadata including things like "Title."

Super Simple: Create a Workflow Application...

  1. Create a new Workflow Application
  2. Choose Set PDF Metadata (under the PDFs library)
  3. Save; when you drop your PDF on the file, it will change the title for you.

enter image description here

More Steps, More Flexibility

The downside to that method is that while really simple, you can't programmatically change the Title (for whatever reason, you can't use variables in Set PDF Metadata). It's great for batches if you wanted to change the Author or Keywords for a bunch of files.

So, to do this "sorta" programmatically, you have to do it within Automator

  1. Create a new Blank Workflow
  2. Choose Get Specified Finder Items (Under Files & Folders Library)
  3. Choose Set PDF Metadata (Under PDFs library)
  4. Drag and drop your PDF into the top box
  5. Run
  6. Rinse and repeat as necessary

enter image description here

  • Nice, I didn't think about Automator and I usual do! Do you know what actual app the Automator Set PDF Metadata action is using to make the changes? +1 even if you don't. :) – user3439894 Feb 28 '17 at 18:41
  • @user3439894 - I don't know the actual app/library - I think it's just built into Automator – Allan Feb 28 '17 at 19:54
  • The reason I asked is exiftool doesn't contain any binaries and relies on perl (and the various perl libraries) to do it's thing. So in that respect I was wondering if Automator was using anything other then the primary binary within the /System/Library/Automator/Set PDF Metadata.action file, which is the Set PDF Metadata action you see in Automator itself, to do the actual work. As an example the Scale Images action uses /usr/bin/sips to do that actual manipulation. So it's just idle curiosity if the Set PDF Metadata action is calling an outside binary to do the actual work. – user3439894 Feb 28 '17 at 22:15

PDF Info is a mac application that will let you change the title and other pdf meta-data. http://www.sybrex.com/products/macgui/infomanager/

I found on a iMac, you must open the Word document first and go into File > Properties > Summary and you can edit the name of the Title and Author of the document there. Re-save the Word document. Re-Save as a PDF as normal.

When you open it in PDF, the tab will have the correct title.

  • 1
    What do you do if there is no Word document to start with? – nohillside Jun 27 '17 at 17:40
  • OP has already mentioned they are aware of being able to edit the document properties before exporting to PDF (using LibreOffice instead of Word, but the same effect) — this question is specifically about editing a PDF after export. – grg Jun 27 '17 at 17:51

Here you go, online easy-peezy. Just upload your pdf, make the changes, and download the new version. https://pdfcandy.com/edit-pdf-meta.html

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