Seven Preview Secrets You Need to Know (Mac)

Apple has made it easy for its users to enjoy amazing quality applications already on-board the computers from day one. From creating high quality movies in iMovie to hit songs in GarageBand, you don’t have to pay a boatload (or anything at all) for a great experience on Mac. However, one aspect that has been ignored is high quality document management on Mac. Many individuals would just go out to purchase Microsoft Word or iWork. While for heavy document management, that is a must still, Preview for Mac has taken document viewing to a whole new level. Today, we will take a look on how Preview makes document interaction much more productive.

Lock it in

preview secrets: lock it in

When you are sharing documents, there are times when you want to ensure that nothing in the document is changed. Even when you are viewing the document yourself, the same may apply. For example, to prevent an accidental change or mistake.

To receive a prompt before making a change to a document, or to prevent such from being possible with a shared document, it may be best for you to lock it up. This is very simple to do with Preview. Simply click the drop down options arrow next to the document name, and click “Lock”. To unlock, perform the same steps but this time clicking “Unlock”.

It’s a simple feature that is easily overlooked, but super helpful.

Going Back in Time

preview secrets: back in time

Looking more into document changes, there can be times when you make a change to a document in Preview, but find it difficult, impossible, or slightly repetitive to continue to click “Command + Z”. If this is the case for you, Preview has a sort of Expose-like feature that allows you to go back in time through your document, viewing the different versions automatically saved, to see an older version.

This is helpful in many ways. First off, it’s a perfect way to retrieve a document during an unexpected closure due to a shut down or an unresponsive application. It also allows you to show off a previous change, for example, when comparing a before and after version of a document.

A Study Companion

preview secrets: study companion

While reading a PDF document in Preview, you can annotate the reading by highlighting, adding text, putting in a couple of sticky notes, and even a few thought bubbles.

The annotation features are available all in one area, at the top that has a highlighter symbol. When clicked, you can choose a color (Yellow, Green, Purple, Blue, or Pink), and get going. To underline or strike through, when clicking the same section that you choose colors, you have the options for both right under the color options.

To create a sticky note, add a speech bubble, or a comment, simply click the button immediately to the left of the search box. This reveals more editing options. You can create a box, oval, line, arrow, annotate with text, add a comment or thought bubble, add a sticky note, and others.

Merge and Rearrange

preview secrets: Merge and rearrange

If you find yourself with a document that is a bit out of order or in need of grouping, Preview allows you to do so. The program also allows you to merge more than one PDF document into one central, multi-paged one. Further more, if you have a document with too many unneeded pages, it is very simple to delete pages as well.

To merge PDFs, simply drag in the PDF into an existing opened PDF window in Preview. To delete a page in a PDF document, simply tap + delete. To reorder a PDF document in Preview, simply click and move down or up to either order you’d love it to be. Lastly, to merge pages (for better grouping), simply drag a page over a second page.

A Bit of Photoshop

preview secrets: A bit of photoshop

Preview, by no means, is a bona fide photography editing software. However, there are some features in Preview that allow you to make minor adjustments. You can make use of tools like lasso, magic wand to touch up your images.

Another photo editing feature is the color enhance tool. Found in “Adjust Colors” under the “Tools” menu option, color enhance and adjustments allow you to make iPhoto-light photo changes to your image. This is useful if you are looking to make the same adjustments in iPhoto, but don’t have the time to wait for it to load, import, and process.

preview secrets: Color enhance

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered (signatures for Preview)

preview secrets: Signed, Sealed and delivered

The ancient way of signing a digital document is to scan your signature, hope it’s clear enough, and then paste it into the document. Preview has a feature that makes this a bit easier and seamless. Using the iSight camera, simply take a one-time photo and save it to your Signatures queue. When you need a signature, it’ll be there.

To find your signature or add new ones, simply reveal the “more options” tab. This is revealed by clicking the button found directly to the left of the search box. Then click the signature button (the ninth option from the left) that is shown with an “S” graphic above a line.

Share a Doc

preview secrets: Share a doc

The last feature of Preview is the sharing feature. In Preview, you have the ability to share a document through email, Messages, Airdrop, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, or by exporting it to iPhoto. Sharing options are revealed by choosing the share button on the left side, next to the zoom options.

Let us know in the comment section how the Preview secrets (or lesser known features) above help you with your productivity.

Ari Simon
Ari Simon

Ari Simon has been a writer with Make Tech Easier since August 2011. Ari loves anything related to technology and social media. When Ari isn't working, he enjoys traveling and trying out the latest tech gadget.

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