Annotated images with an Actions extension in OS X Yosemite

OS X Yosemite has made it easy to extend the functions of apps by including a system of extensions. They add extra features to built in and third party apps that are not normally available. They can boost the features and make tasks much easier than they otherwise would be without them. Let’s take a look at an Actions extension.

An Actions extension is one of several types of extensions and they are used in different ways. For example, Finder extensions add extra features to Finder, Share Menu extensions add more ways to share items, and so on.

Actions extensions can provide a variety of functions and an example called Markup is bundled with OS X Yosemite on the Apple Mac. The best way to see it is to try it and it can be accessed within TextEdit.

Start TextEdit from the Applications folder and load a document that has images embedded within the text. If you do not have one, just create a new blank document, double click any image file in a Finder window to open it in Preview, press Command+C to copy it, switch to the TextEdit window and press Command+V to paste it in. (If you are asked to convert the document to an RTFD type, do it, it is needed for documents with images.)

Now that we have a TextEdit document that contains an image, mouse over it and a little arrow button appears in the top right corner of the image. Click it and select Markup from the menu.

Actions extension in OS X

The document dims and a border appears around the image. Along the top is a toolbar that enables you to annotate the image. There is a button to display a palette of shapes that can be added to the image, a text button and font selector, line and fill colours, and so on.

Actions extension in OS X Yosemite

Click the drawing tool in the top left corner and try drawing some shapes. If you draw a shape that is nearly circular, it is replaced by an exact circle. If you draw a shape like an ellipse, it snaps to an ellipse, and a three sided shape snaps to a triangle.

If you actually want to draw freehand, when you have finished the shape or line, select the top icon in the shape box on the left, the one below the close button. You can switch back and forth between a regular shape and a freehand drawing with these buttons on the left.

Click the Done button when you have finished annotating the image.

Click the button in the top right corner of the image and this time, select More on the menu. It opens the System Preferences and displays the extensions that are installed.

Extensions in System Preferencesd

Markup is the only Actions extension and there are no third party extensions on the All tab on a freshly installed copy of OS X Yosemite. As you install Mac apps, you may find that extra items are added to Extensions in Preferences.

Are there any more Actions extensions available? A search for them at Google did not turn any up. Have a look on your Mac and see if there are any installed. Share your Actions extensions in the comments below.



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