Discover Mac’s Secret Image Editor


While you may have already opened PDFs or viewed images with it, Apple’s Preview app is capable of much more. All in all, it is a very useful tool for many common editing tasks as well as image exporting.

And so, Mac users with basic image editing needs that take their time can learn to use Preview, as well as understand everything this app is capable of. And believe me: some even stop investing in other image editing apps, after meeting Apple.

Because of this, check out below everything that this application is capable of, as well as what functions it has. Surely, you will be surprised. See below.

When did the Preview app appear?

In short, this software is older than the OS inside today’s Macs. The preview integrated the NeXTSTEP operating system that became the foundation of today’s macOS. Apple started building a number of useful editing tools within Preview when it created Mac OS X Leopard in 2007.

What image formats does the app support?

The preview supports a variety of image formats:

  • PDF;
  • JPEG (E JPEG-2000);
  • TIFF;
  • PNG;
  • OpenEXR.

In addition, it also exports items in other image formats. To do this, just tap Option when you export an image. Then you need to choose the image type to see what those formats are.

What are the different tools in the preview?


Apple Preview app tools preview

When you open an image or PDF in Preview, you will see a number of icons that fill the application bar. From left to right, the default set has:

  • Sidebar controls: They allow you to use and browse the sidebar, which can be useful if you’re working with a multi-page PDF, for example.
  • Magnification Icons: Two magnifying glass icons allow you to zoom in and out of the image.
  • share button: This lets you share the current image in multiple ways.
  • Stand out: This drop-down menu is active when you open a PDF with a text entry bar. Its main use is to insert a signature in PDF documents.
  • Spin: Tap this to rotate an image.
  • Markup toolbar: This option opens a range of tools you can use to edit and export your images.
  • To search for: This allows you to search for text in a PDF.

What are the different markup tools in the preview?

The app has two different toolbars, one for working with and editing PDFs, and the other for images. You’ll find tools for text, creating shapes, annotations, color adjustments and much more. Below, check out the tools that exist in this app:

    • text selection: When working with a PDF, a text selection tool is on the far left. This tool is not available when working with images.
    • Selection Tool: Lets you select an item using a Rectangular or Elliptical tool. It also has lasso selection tools. When working with a PDF, this becomes a rectangular selection tool.
    • Selection: For some image types, you can use this tool to automatically select the background or other objects within an image. Just click on the area you want to select and drag your cursor. The further you drag the cursor, the more of the image will be highlighted in red to show that you have selected it. Press delete to make this part of the image transparent or tap Command+C to copy your selection, making it available on the Clipboard.
    • Shape tools: You can add rectangles, stars and other shapes. There’s also a magnifying glass tool that you can use to zoom in on an area of ​​your image, just drag the green handle to zoom out or the blue handle to zoom in.
    • Text: Tap this box to enter text and drag the text to where you want it to be. You can edit font, size and color using the Text Style tool to the right of this level of the toolbar.
    • Signal: This tool allows you to sign documents, if possible, on the document you are using.
    • Note or adjust color: When working with PDFs a tool that allows you to add notes to documents appears here. If working with images, the tool adjust colors will be available in this position. Color adjustment includes adjustment sliders for exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation, color temperature, tint, sepia, and sharpness.
    • Line: Change the applied lineweights using the in-app tools.
    • border colors: Change the color of any border you may have applied using this tool.
    • To alter cores: Change the color of any shape content using this tool.
    • Source: Here you can change fonts, size, font color, text layout and apply bold, italic or underline.

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