How to Use Mac Preview


Preview is the image viewer and PDF viewer of the macOS. It enables users to view and print digital images and PDF files. Preview uses Apple's implementation of the PDF specification. It has a simple interface so it is very suitable for newbie.

Many Mac users don't know how to use the Mac Preview, they just use it to view PDF or image files. But it has more functions waiting for you to explore. This article will teach you how to sign PDFs, edit images, and more in Preview.

Section 1 - View and Print PDFs and Images

Viewing and printing PDFs and images is the most basic function in Preview. For Mac users, you do not need to download other software, as long as you use the built-in Preview software and can view and print the PDF files or images directly.

1. View PDFs and Images

Step 1. Open the Preview on your Mac computer. Choose the "File" > "Open" to open the PDF or image in the Preview app on the Mac. Or you can select the file and right-click on it to open and view the file with Preview.

Mac System Open with Preview

Step 2. When you open a PDF with multiple pages, you can view thumbnails of all pages in the sidebar. To view a PDF page, you need to click on its thumbnail.

Preview View PDF

Step 3. You can click on "Tools" > "Show Inspector" to view information about the document or image, such as file size, author name, and image resolution. Zoom in or out of the picture is also supported in this step.

Preview Tools Show Inspector

Preview Zoom In or Out

2. Print PDFs and Images

Step 1. Open the Preview software and click the "File" > "Open" to open your image or PDF that you need to print.

Step 2. Go to the "File" > "Print…" and then choose the print options.

Preview File Print

Step 3. In the setting box, you can set the paper size, orientations, and so on according to your needs. When you finished, click the "Print" button.

Preview File Print Setting

Section 2 - Edit PDFs

Preview can not only view PDF but also can edit PDF. Next, we will teach you how to edit by listing some commonly used tools.

1. How to Crop PDF in Preview

Step 1. Open the PDF that you want to crop in Preview.

Step 2. Go to the "Tools" > "Rectangular Selection" to select the area you want to crop.

Preview Tools Rectangular Selection

Step 3. After the selection, click the "Tools"> "Crop". Then the PDF will be cropped in Preview. Choose the "File" > "Save" to save your new PDF.

Preview Tools Crop

2. How to Combine PDF

Step 1. Open the PDF you want to combine in Preview.

Step 2. Choose "Display" > "Thumbnails" to display page thumbnails in the sidebar. Then drag the thumbnails of the PDF that you want to combine into the thumbnail sidebar of the PDF in order. At last, choose the "File" > "Save" to save your new PDF.

Preview Tools Combine PDF

3. How to Sign PDF

Step 1. Double click the PDF you need to sign to open the Preview application.

Step 2. Click the "Tools" > "Annotate" > "Signature" > "Manage Signatures…" to sign your name on PDF.

Preview Tools Annotate Signature

Step 3. You have two options to create signatures. First, you can draw your signature on the trackpad. Second, you can sign your name on white paper and hold it up to the camera. When you finished, click the "Done" button.

Preview Sign Name

4. How to Add Texts in PDF

Step 1. Open the PDF document in Preview, and then open up the "Markup Toolbar" by clicking the toolbox icon from the main toolbar.

Step 2. Then it will show up a toolbar. Click on the "T" icon in the markup toolbar then double-click on the text box to change or add the texts in PDF.

Preview Add texts

Step 3. Highlighting texts, adding notes, adjust texts, and so on are also supported in the editing tool.

Preview Editing Tools

Section 3 - Edit Images

Mac Preview app doesn't just contain PDF-editing features. It's also a great little image editor. With Preview, you can edit an image without using other applications like iPhoto or Photoshop. You can adjust the color of an image, crop it, rotate it, and even copy and paste part of an image from one image to another. You can also resize and export images, which is what you might do before sharing photos online.

1. Resize, Rotate or Flip Image in Preview

Step 1. Open the image that you need to be edited in Preview.

Step 2. After clicking the "Tools" button, you can choose the corresponding to edit your image as you need. You can resize, rotate, or flip your image.

Preview Edit Image

Step 3. When you go into the "Image Dimensions" window, it will support many measurement units, including pixels. You can adjust the width and height in this window.

Preview Image Dimensions

Step 4. When you finished the editing, clicking the "File" > "Save" button to save the image.

2. Annotate Images in Preview

Step 1. Open the image that you need to be annotated in Preview.

Step 2. Click the "Tools" > "Annotate" then you can see many tools which can help you annotate your image. Click on the type of annotation you wish to perform.

Preview Tools Annotate


The above has listed several commonly used tools in Preview. It can help you to solve many common problems on how to use Mac Preview. If you want to know more usage on Preview, please leave us a message.

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