Bet you didn’t know Preview on the Apple Mac could do this!

Discover little known Preview app features on the Apple Mac

Preview is a multi-function utility app on the Apple Mac that can perform lots of different tasks. Most of them are obvious, but there are some you may not have discovered. Let’s take a look.

Double click an image file or a PDF on the Mac’s disk and it will open in Preview. This makes it very useful for viewing images, adjusting the size or colour, or for reading PDF documents. There are also useful tools for annotating images and PDFs.

1. Open multiple files

If you need to work on several files, it is possible to open them all at once in Preview and they don’t have to be opened one at a time.

Open a Finder window and select several images for example. Click one and Shift+click another to select all files between them, or Command+click the files you want to load.

Double click any of the files in the selection and they all open in one Preview window. They are displayed as thumbnail images in the sidebar. If you don’t see them, click the leftmost toolbar button and select Thumbnails on the menu.

Click a thumbnail in the sidebar to view that image.

2. Rearrange multiple files

After opening multiple files, the thumbnails in the sidebar may not be in the most convenient order. Just click and drag them up or down the thumbnails list to rearrange the order.

Sort images in Preview on the Apple Mac

Right click any thumbnail in the sidebar and select Sort By. The options are Name, Date, Path, Size and Kind.

3. Save a copy of a file

If one or more files are open in Preview, click and drag a thumbnail out of the sidebar and drop it on the desktop or in a Finder window to save a copy of it.

4. Move a file

Did you know that Preview can be used to move files from one location on the disk to another? Just open one or more files, such as images or PDFs. Select the thumbnail in the sidebar if there are several files, then go to the File menu and select Move To.

Use Preview to move files on the Apple Mac disk

A little window opens up showing the current location and clicking it displays the path, such as the parent folder, that parent folder and so on. Favourite locations are displayed and right down at the bottom is Other.

Select Other and the full Save window appears so you can navigate the drives, folders and devices to choose where to move the file to.

5. Rename, tag and move

Click the filename at the top of the Preview window and a small panel appears that enables the file to be renamed or moved, as in the last tip.

Shortcut to rename, tag and move files on the Apple Mac

There is also a box to enter tags and clicking in it displays a list of tags. The defaults are based on colours, but you can customise tags. See Use tags in Finder to organise files and search for them.

6. Extract images from files

It is possible for image files to contain multiple images. For example, a .ico icon file may contain several icons at different sizes. When a file like this is loaded into Preview, it displays all the images in the sidebar. Any can be viewed or edited by selecting it in the sidebar.

Click and drag any of the images out of Preview and drop them on the desktop to save just that one.

Using Preview on the Apple Mac to view icons in a file

7. Save as

An annoying feature of Preview is that if you open a file and mark it up, resize it or use any of the photo editing tools, it changes the original file. It changes the original even if you do not use Save on the File menu.

If you want to keep the original, as soon as the file is opened and before making any changes, go to the File menu and select Duplicate. A new window appears with a copy of the file. Close the original and edit the new one. Use File, Save to save it or just quit Preview and you will be prompted to save the file first.

There is an alternative to this and if the File menu is clicked, then the Option key held down, Duplicate becomes Save As. Save the file under a different name. Any editing changes will be made to this new file and not the old one.

Unhide the Save as command in Preview on the Apple Mac

8. Create slideshows in Preview

Select several photos in Finder and double click one to open them all in preview. Swipe left or right over the trackpad to slide from one photo to another left or right. Swipe up or down on the trackpad to slide up or down to the next or previous photo.

If you want to show off your photos to friends, just maximise the Preview app. The menus, toolbar and other window controls are hidden, which leave the photo full screen. Swipe left, right, up or down with two fingers on the trackpad to slide from one photo to another.



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