Easily Annotate And Share Your Images With Mountain Lion Preview [OS X Tips]


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Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion has over 200 new features. One of them resides in the Preview app, Apple’s answer to all of our PDF and image viewing needs. Mountain Lion tweaks the toolbar a bit, adds a new one, and allows a simpler annotation process. There’s also a new sharing option to go along with the highly publicized Documents in the Cloud initiative.

Open an image in Preview, and you’ll see that the toolbar has been simplified. Options are much cleaner and easier to find, with View options in the upper left. followed by Zoom out and in buttons, the new Sharing button, a highlighting button (disabled when viewing an image file), a rotate button, and then the Edit toolbar button.

The Edit Toolbar for Images in Preview
Click on the Edit toolbar button to enable the Edit toolbar. Preview can now create rectangles, ovals, and lines, as well as text annotations on images, whether plain text or within a speech or thought bubble. Colors can be chosen, lines can be thickened or thinned, and annotation images can be resized. Click on each of the buttons on the left side of the toolbar to add these things to your image document.

To the right of the Edit toolbar, you can click on the rectancular selection tool, which has always been the default shape of selection in Preview, or now the oval tool to select different shaped things. There’s even a lasso tool, which will be familiar to anyone who has used an image editing program. Click on the Instant Alpha toolbar button and then click in any whitespace in your image. Preview will select all the similarly colored pixels around your click and highlight it all, allowing you to knockout backgrounds for compositing work and the like. Wrapping the right side up are the Crop, Image Adjust, and Canvas size buttons.

Now click on the Sharing button, the familiar-by-now arrow swooshing out of a square icon. You’ll be able to save your marked up and annotated image and send it to another Mac via AirDrop, any Apple device with the Message app, Twitter, Flickr, or iPhoto. What a cool set of new Preview features, huh?

Are you using OS X Mountain Lion? Got a tip you want to share with us? Drop me a line or leave a comment below.

  • IronChad

    As a new OSX user I am looking for an easy way to take a screen capture, annotate, and share it. In Windows 7 I used Snipping Tool. What OSX app should I use for that?

  • LPboy1011

    Command+Shift+4 –> This will change your mouse to a cross hair.
    Next select the area you want to capture by clicking and holding. This by default saves a screen shot to your desktop. In my opinion, there is no need for a dedicated screenshot app.

  • Chookalana

    The Grab app is in your Utilities Folder. You can Also use Quicktime X to make videos of your screen as well.

  • Rob LeFebvre

    As a new OSX user I am looking for an easy way to take a screen capture, annotate, and share it. In Windows 7 I used Snipping Tool. What OSX app should I use for that?

    The two folks above are right – those are the easiest ways to get screenshots from your Mac. Another command is Command-Shift-3, which will capture your entire screen.

    Once you get the image captured, you can then use Preview for the annotations like in the tip above.