How do you quickly open and edit JPG, PDF, and other image files on your Mac? With Preview!

Preview is the default application in macOS for image files, like JPG and PNG, and PDF files. While it's primary purpose offers you a quick and easy way to see various documents, it has several pretty cool editing and markup features you may not even be know are there.

How to view photos and PDFs in Preview on Mac

Preview is the default app for viewing images and PDF files on your Mac. So, any time you double-click on, or otherwise launch, one of those files, it'll open in Preview.

If, for some reason, another app has taken over responsibility for a certain file type, and you want to give it back to Preview, you make the change right in the Finder.

  1. Right/Control - click on the file you want to open.
  2. Hover on Open With…

    Right/Control - Click on the file you want to open and then hover the cursore on Open With...

  3. Click Preview

    Click Preview

How to crop documents in Preview on Mac

Preview can help you do some simple edit your photos and PDFs.

  1. Open the file you want to crop in Preview.
  2. Click the Show Markup Toolbar button. It's the button with the little toolbox icon.
  3. Click, hold, and drag on the file to create a selection.

    Open the file you want to crop in Preview, click the Show Markup Toolbar button, and then Click, hold, and drag on the fil to create a selection.

  4. Click, hold, and drag on any of the blue dots to resize the selection if needed.
  5. Use the Command - K keyboard shortcut to crop the image.

    Click, hold, and drag the blue dots to resize the selection if needed and then use the Command - K keyboard shortcut to crop the image.

How to show markup tools in Preview on Mac

Preview has several tools to choose from to edit your photos including Selection, Sketch, Text, Color Adjust, and more. You just need to show the Markup Toolbar to see them all.

  1. Open the file you want in Preview.
  2. Click the Show Markup Toolbar button. It's the button with the little toolbox icon.

    Open the file you want in Preview and then Click the Show Markup Toolbar button.

How to highlight PDFs in Preview on Mac

  1. Open the PDF you want to highlight in Preview.
  2. Click the Highlight button.
  3. Select the text you want to highlight.
  4. Repeat as necessary.

    Open the PDF you want to highlight, click the Highlight button, and then select the text you want to highlight. Repeat as many times as needed.

How to annotate a document in Preview on Mac

Preview can allow you do various different types of annotations to documents, so whether you're going through a draft of a proposal or marking papers, you can make all the notes and marks you want.

  1. Open the file you want to annotate in Preview.
  2. Click Tools in the top menu bar.

    Open the file you want to annotate in Preview and then click Tools from the top menu bar.

  3. Hover over Annotate
  4. Click on the type of annotation you wish to perform.

    Hover your cursor over Annotate and then click on the type of annontation you wish to perform.

From here you have a few options of what you can do, here's a quick breakdown.

Highlight Text

Allows you to highlight any selected text.

Underline Text

Allows you to underline any selected text.

Strike Through Text

Allows you to strike through any selected text.

Rectangle

Places a rectangular on the document, which you can move around and resize.

Oval

Places an oval on the document, which you can move around and resize.

Line

Places a line on the document, which you can move around and resize.

Arrow

Places an arrow on the document, which you can move around and resize.

Polygon

Places a Polygon on the document, which you can move around and resize.

Star

Places a Star on the document, which you can move around and resize.

Text

Places a Text box on the document.

Speech Bubble

Places a Text box on the document, which you can type a message inside the bubble.

Mask

Places a layer mask on the document, so you can make a passage stand out.

Loupe

Creates a magnifying circle, perfect for calling out small icons.

Note

Creates a note, so you can leave comments.

How to add your signature to a document in Preview on Mac

If you ever type up letters or need to sign a digital contract you can save your signature in Preview and then add it to any document you want. You can add your signature using a the trackpad or even using the built-in camera.

  1. Open the file you want to sign in Preview.
  2. Sign your name on a piece of white paper
  3. Click the Show Markup Toolbar button. It's the button with the little toolbox icon.

    Open the file you want to sign in Preview, sign your name on a poece of white paper, and then click Show Markup Toolbar button.

  4. Click the Sign button.
  5. Click Camera

    Click the Sign button and then click the camera button.

  6. Hold that **signed paper* up to the camera.
  7. Click Done.

    Hold the signed piece of paper up to the camera and then click done.

  8. Click your signature.
  9. Reposition and resize the signature to your liking

    Click your signature and the reposition and resize your signature to your liking.

How to share documents from Preview on Mac

  1. Open the file you want to share in Preview.
  2. Click the Share button.
  3. Choose the option you want. Your choices include:

    • Mail
    • Messages
    • AirDrop
    • Notes

Questions?

Anything else you'd like to know about Preview? Let us know in the comments below.