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Preview, an application beyond a simple document viewer

The application OS X Preview is much more than just a document viewer , although it is the main function we all make of it. From opening a jpeg, pdf, text document or even a spreadsheet.

But as we said, Preview allows for much more. It is also important to know that it has tools that for some users still go unnoticed and that could allow them not to have to depend on third party applications or even not to open other heavier ones for small editions.

Preview, more than a viewer

Preview, an application beyond a simple document viewer
Preview, an application beyond a simple document viewer

They are usually users who have only been on the platform for a short time, but when I ask them if they know how to make the most of Preview, they all answer a resounding yes. They argue that they double-click or “drag and drop” a document over its icon, no matter the format, most open it quickly and easily. Sure, it’s true, that’s how Preview works, but that’s not all it does.

Preview allows us to work with PDF files , a format that we all handle on a daily basis as telephone operators and other services send us their bills in digital using the PDF format. It is also used by our teachers or at work to pass on information or a dossier that we need to consult.

Preview offers the possibility to mark pages, add notes, highlight fragments and much more. You can even merge multiple PDFs into one.

Also scan. By connecting a USB scanner to our Mac and installing the necessary software updates for computers from other manufacturers, we can use the application to scan. To do this, simply go to the File menu and then to Import from Scanner .

As well as other less known tricks such as the ability to display all the graphic elements of an application, sign documents or edit images.

Preview editing tools

Preview is a simple image editor but sufficient in many cases where the main advantage lies in its fast operation and it is already integrated into the system, no download is necessary.

The possibilities it offers are:

  • By adjusting the image, we can change the exposure, contrast, saturation, temperature or sharpness. Also the tint, points of light, shadow, levels or apply a sepia effect.
  • Change the format of an image, for example from PNG to JPEG.
  • Rotate an image
  • Crop an image
  • Adjusting the size
  • Add new elements such as arrows, lines, boxes, dialogue snacks, etc…

But if there is a function that I find interesting, useful and functional is the option to perform Instant Alpha . That is, remove the background of an image quickly and without resorting to heavier applications.

Las diez aplicaciones, extensiones y trucos que utilizo cada día

When we open the editing toolbar we will see the different tools and among them Instant Alpha. Clicking on the background will make a selection that will have zero tolerance to the rest of the pixels around ours. If we move the mouse or finger on the trackpad to the right the tolerance will increase and we will not need the surrounding pixels to have exactly the same color. But be careful, because if we go too far, we will be able to select part of the image we want to keep or all of it.

If we see that we have gone too far, we move to the left and the selection mask is reduced. Once we have selected what we want we release it and it will create the selection. Now we press the back button and the background will be erased. This way we get an image without background.

Don’t I do that better with Photoshop p Gimp? Yes, but for many images and quickly this is a very valid option and not everyone has such applications. Then, with the image already with the background removed, we can use it for our Keynote presentations, a Page document, etc…

Customizing the Preview Toolbar

Like the Finder bar, we can customize the tools in the Preview bar . This way we can add the Magnifier, a print button, inspector as well as whether we want to show only icons, only text or icons and text. To show the options we right click on the bar and then click again on Customize Toolbar.

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