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The macOS Preview app is an application used for simple viewing of a wide range of file formats. You can also edit PDF files with this application. If you aren't aware of the things you can do with Preview, this article will outline what Preview is and the simple steps for how to use Preview on Mac. Although some users think that Preview's features are limited, it is useful for certain tasks. Plus, there is always the option to try out a full-featured PDF tool first, such as PDFelement for Mac.

Best Preview for Mac Alternative

If you are looking for a more powerful PDF editor for Mac that can performs more tasks than Preview, PDFelement Express for Mac is your best choice. It not only has all the PDF features in Preview but also offers you many other great features.

With the help of PDFelement, you can easily edit text, images and pages within your PDF documents. The Pro version even features OCR technology that will automatically detect your scanned PDF and turn it into a searchable and editable file.

what is preview in mac

What is Preview in Mac?

Apple's Preview may not be the most comprehensive application, but it can help out in certain situations. Preview can also help you apply simple modifications to your images. You can adjust color by controlling the shadows, exposure, contrast, highlights, saturation, temperature etc. You can also grab a particular part of the image to apply changes to and add text to your image too. Simply open Preview to start performing these tasks.

what is preview in mac

In addition, you can open a PDF document by dragging a PDF file onto the Preview icon in the Doc or Finder. As well, you can use the highlight tool to mark important sections of text, and fill out and sign PDF forms.

Preview Supported Formats

With Preview, you can view, edit, even convert and send digital images and PDF documents. The list of Preview's supported formats includes the following:


This is just the beginning. Preview can both import and convert the above-mentioned formats. However, these are not the only supported formats of Preview.

how to use preview on mac

Where is Preview on Mac

Select the files you want to edit in the Finder and then Command-click or right-click and open them in Preview. Simple as that!

open preview

How to Update Preview on Mac

update preview mac

Option 1. Use the Mac App Store

  • Open the App Store on your Mac.
  • Click "Updates" in the toolbar.
  • Update each app individually, or click "Update All" to install all available updates. To find software upgrades instead of updates, use "Search" in the upper-right corner of the window. An upgrade is a major new version of the software. For example, OS X El Capitan is an upgrade from OS X Yosemite or earlier.

Option 2. Use Software Update

  • The Mac App Store is included with OS X Snow Leopard v10.6.6 and later.
  • If you don't have the Mac App Store, choose "Software Update" from the "Apple" menu, and then follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Some software updates are also available from the Apple Support Downloads site.

How to Use Preview on Mac

how to type in preview
  • Select text: You can use this tool to select lines of text on a page, copy them and paste them in a different application.
  • Add text: Use this tool to create a textbox inside of your document. Move your cursor to an area of the document where you want to add a text box. Click on that area and start typing. You can choose show fonts for more options.
  • Shape tool: Use this tool to insert a shape into your PDF document.
  • Area select tool: Use this tool to select an image or another non-text section of your PDF document.
  • Sign tool: Use this tool to add your digital signature to a PDF document. You can use the camera on your Mac to convert your actual signature to a digital signature.
  • Share feature: This makes it easy to quickly email or share a file, or add images to iPhoto. You can also share files using any social network accounts you've set up in Internet Accounts.

Home > Compare of Mac Software > 5 Things to Help You Know What is Preview
Wondershare Editor

Posted by to Compare of Mac Software
Published: Oct 27,2017 16:09 pm / Updated: Nov 27,2018 14:40 pm

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