Use Preview to Edit On Your Mac (Part 1)

7/26/2012 3:36:07 PM

We show you how to edit your photos professionally using Apple’s free software

What you’ll need


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We used


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What you’ll learn

How to make the most of using Preview to edit your photos

Description: Mac



In this menu you’ll find Preferences where you can tweak the main settings of the program.

View menu

Choose your view, or even make a contact sheet – very useful for viewing lots of images!


Helpful tools are situated above your open images for quick, easy working.


You can bring up separate tool windows, making the editing process quicker.

Display options

Here you will find four view modes. Use the thumbnail option for lots of open images


This is where you can open, duplicate, export and save as different file types

Preview comes preinstalled on Mac OS X systems and is most commonly used as a quick way to view images and PDFs. However, many are misusing this program and its very useful editing functions are ignored – there is much more to this package that needs to be discovered.

Preview doesn’t allow you to be exceptionally creative with your images as it is primarily a simple editing tool. However, for many people this will be enough, and it may mean you can avoid spending out for an alternative, more costly editing program.

Preview contains a great selection of the most useful photo-retouching functions that people new to editing require. You can improve the colour and tones, sharpen, rotate, crop and even extract an object from its background. It also opens up many different file extensions including RAW, however you will need a more up-to-date version of Mac OS X for it to open files from newer camera models. Its batch-processing function means opening and applying effects to multiple images in one go is a great way to save time.

Best of all, Preview is already installed on your Mac for free – what more could you ask for? So keep reading as we run through the most popular and useful features every photographer should know about.

Make easy edits in Preview

Simple tweaks to make your images stand out

Step 1 - Import from your camera

Whether you have placed your memory card in the side slot of your Mac or hooked your camera up via a cable, you can import directly into Preview. Go to File>Import and select your device. Shift + click to select specific photos of hit import all.

Description: Step 1

Step 1

Step 2 - Exposure adjustments

To open an image go to File>Open and select your photo. To correct exposure go to Tools>Adjust Color and a very easy-to-use dialog box will appear. Slide the Exposure slider to the far end then experiment with the other sliders for further improvement.

Description: step 2

Step 2

Step 3 - Add a little warmth

Preview has a temperature function allowing you to cool down or add in a touch of warmth to your snaps. With your chosen photo open go to Tools>Adjusts Color once more then play around with the Temperature slider for you desired effect.

Description: Step 3

Step 3

Step 4 - flip or rotate images

Rotating or flipping is a quick process as you can apply the effect to multiple images needing the same treatment. Ensure all images are open, Shift + click the thumbnails on the left of the photos in question, go to Tools>Rotate Left or Right.

Description: Step 4

Step 4

Step 5 – add annotations

Personalize your photos by adding some text. Go to View>Show Annotation Toolbar. Click onto the Text tool, draw a text box onto your photo then type. You can alter colour, font and size of the text by clicking through the other toolbar buttons.

Description: Step 5

Step 5

Step 6 – batch resizing

Save time using batch processing. To resize multiple images, drag and drop them over the Preview icon to open in one window. Shift + click all thumbnails in the Preview display, go to Tool>Adjust size and all images will be edited in one go!

Description: Step 6

Step 6

Step 7 – flip to suit

Experiment with how you present your images by flipping them. To do this, have your image open and go to Tools in the top bar, then select Flip Horizontal. You may be surprised that such a simple edit can vastly improve the overall look of the image.

Description: Step 7

Step 7

Step 8 – crop

Add more impact by cropping in and focusing on the focal part of the image. This can also help get rid of any distracting unwanted elements in your photo. Click on the Select tool at the top of the image, select the area you wish to keep and go to Tools>Crop.

Description: Step 8

Step 8

Step 9 – sharpen

Preview comes with a Sharpen tool that is found in Tools>Adjust Color and is over-sharpen of your image will start to blur. Moving the slider a small amount should be enough to make a noticeable difference.

Description: Step 9

Step 9

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