Preview tricks and functions on Mac (PDF, conversions, signature etc.)

Preview on Mac is more than just a viewer, but a do-it-all tool. Let’s see its main functions together

On Mac we can use the Preview app to open images, text documents, digital sheets and PDF documents without having to download other dedicated programs. But this viewer has many hidden features that few users know about and which can profoundly change our productivity on the Mac.

Preview on Mac is the do-it-all toolfeature-rich with lots of little tricks to discover to be able to use this powerful tool at work, such as when we need to convert documents or apply a digital signature.

READ ALSO -> Mac shortcuts you need to know

1) Open any document or image

Mac Preview is compatible with the following file formats:

  • Office documents
  • PDF documents
  • Formati immagine (PNG, JPEG, BMP, RAW)
  • GIF images
  • RAW images
  • File PSD (PhotoShop)

These are just some of the formats supported by Preview but they are sufficient to open most files and documents you use on Mac.

2) File conversion

Con Preview we can convert files from one format to another, especially if we want convert images or Word documents to PDF. To proceed, all we have to do is open the image or document to be converted with Previewpress on at the top left File and click on the item Export as PDF.

Alternatively we can also open the path File -> Esporta and choose the format in which to export the file using the drop-down menu next to the item Format.

3) Extrapolate parts of the image

Preview is also able to work as a small portable Photoshop, copying parts of the image and pasting them into a new image, ready to be saved in the Mac’s memory, shared online or on social media.

To proceed we open the image with Preview, press on the pencil icon at the top right (in the Preview window) (Editing toolbar), press the Select button at the top right of the bar that appears and use it Lace selection. We outline the part of the image to be saved, then press CTRL+C to copy the selection made and press on at the top right File -> New from clipboard to create the new image.

By closing this new window (or by pressing up on File -> Salva) we will be able to save the new extracted image.

4) Sign PDF documents

Preview is perfect for being able to sign PDF documents without going through Adobe Reader or others programs to sign PDF files.

To sign the document, double click on the PDF file, click on the pencil icon at the top right (in the Preview window) (Editing toolbar) then press on Business. The Mac webcam will start, ready to acquire the signature; to proceed all we have to do is write our signature on a sheet of paper and show this sheet to the webcam, with Preview which will immediately take care of acquiring our signature and adding it to the document.

5) Adjust color or enhance images automatically

As already understood in chapter 3 Preview is excellent for replacing Photoshop for basic operations: modifying light and contrast, modifying the color of images and automatically improving any photo.

To proceed we open any image with Previewwe always press on the pencil at the top right to open the editing toolbar, we press on the button Adjust color and we use the button Adjust automatically to apply the right color to the entire photo or image.

From the same screen we can also manually adjust exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation, temperature, hue, sepia and sharpness.

6) Export single PDF pages or GIF frames

With Preview we can export a single sheet from a PDF page or recover a single frame from a small GIF downloaded from the Internet or downloaded from WhatsApp.

To proceed we will have to use the function Miniaturewhich can be activated by opening the file from which we want to extrapolate the content, by clicking on at the top Vista and pressing up Miniature. With the thumbnails active we select the page or frame to extrapolate, click on at the top File and we select Export o Export as PDF based on the file type.

7) Add, remove and merge PDF pages

The most useful functions of Preview can be obtained when we need to add, remove and merge pages to PDFs, procedures that usually require the use of paid Adobe Reader but which on Mac we can do totally for free.

To unlock these functions, it is best to first open the first PDF file to add, then press on Vista and then on Audition. In this mode we can manage each page of the PDF: to add a sheet, press on at the top right File -> Apri to add new PDF pages; to remove them just select them and press the button DELETEwhile to bring them together it is sufficient to sort all the pages on the screen Auditionthen press File at the top right and use the item Export as PDF.

8) Fill out the forms

To fill out the forms of PDFs or Office documents we can use Preview directly, since it is able to “read” the presence of fields and fillable forms within the documents.

After opening the document to be filled out, press the button at the top Show form filling bar and start filling out the existing forms (which will be highlighted in blue). At the end of the compilation, press on File and click on Save as PDF to create a new compiled document.


Mac Preview is much more than just an image and document viewer: it practically contains within it the functions of at least 5 other programs, speeding up the execution of small changes to files and documents even on Macs where commercial programs such as Office or paid Adobe Reader are not present.

To learn more we can read the guides above how to compress PDF on Mac with Preview function and on best free PDF editors for Mac.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *