3 Handy Tips to Make Preview More Productive

My love for Preview runs deep. It’s a great tool for interacting with PDFs, and for most people, I think it’s better and easier to use than Adobe Reader or Acrobat. So here are my favorite tricks for using the program!

1. Add Bookmarks 

If you’re working with a long PDF, Preview’s Bookmarks feature makes it easy to go back to pages that have the information you’re looking for. To bookmark a page, either select it from the sidebar (if you’ve got View> Thumbnails turned on) or make sure the correct page is showing in Preview’s main window. Then press Command-D or choose Tools> Add Bookmark.

When you’re finished bookmarking all of the pages you want to remember, use the toolbar’s View Menu icon (or pick View> Bookmarksto see them.

And they’ll be all organized and neat and stuff, ready for your perusal. Cool!

2. Add a Loupe to the Toolbar

Through the magic of customizing Preview’s toolbar, you can add buttons to access the functions you use most frequently. Here’s how: Right- or Control-click on the grey toolbar area at the top of Preview’s window and pick “Customize Toolbar” from the menu that’ll appear.

For the purposes of this tip, we’re gonna add the Magnify button, but you can do whatever you like. It’s your toolbar, and you can fill it up if you want to. 

So drag and drop the Magnify button into Preview’s toolbar to add it… 

…and afterward, use that tool to view the tiniest details of your files. 

For what it’s worth, there’s also a menu option for this—Tools> Show Magnifier—if you don’t like that button clogging up your toolbar.

3. Mark Up Text

If you’re sending PDFs back and forth with colleagues and you need to call out sections of text, Preview’s the program for you. To get started with this, it’s easiest to select some text in your PDF first.

Then under the Tools> Annotate menu option (or from the Markup button on the toolbar, pictured below), you can choose to highlight, strike through, or underline your selected text.

Are you a rebel? If so, pick the underline/strikethrough/highlight tool first, and then any text you select will have that formatting applied. And you can even reselect something you’ve already formatted to remove the annotation. 

Additionally, if you choose Tools> Annotate> Note, you can click to add…well, a note. Shocking, I know.

That’s it! So what about you, dear readers? What’s your favorite feature of Preview? I’ll be giving out 1,000 super-special Internet points* to anyone who shows me a trick I don’t already know!



* These mean pretty much nothing, but you will have my undying respect, such as it is.