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6 New Features In OS X Mountain Lion’s “Preview” App

In our extensive review of Mountain Lion, the latest installment for OS X, we briefly reviewed the new features that have been added to the stock apps. There are quite a few additions to almost all apps and many changes, like the addition of a Share button and the integration of iCloud, are ones that you will see implemented all across the OS. While some apps deserve more spotlight than others, we feel Preview, easily one of the most used stock apps, could do with better detailing. We found Preview to have 6 noteworthy features that we could only mention but not discuss earlier. The news that Preview now allows you to fill PDF forms has travelled fast and is perhaps now one of the more known features of Mountain Loin; however, Preview was zapped with these additional five tricks as well. For convenience, you can now rename files from the title bar, for peace of mind, you can now restore older versions of files, insert pages or images to a document from your camera or a scanner, annotate images or files with more shapes like ovals and call outs and finally, save files directly to iCloud.


Rename A File

The rename option appears when you hover your mouse over the title bar. The small triangle appears when you do, click it and a dropdown menu that wasn’t there in Lion opens with several options, one of them being Rename. Click it, and the name of the file will be editable in the title bar. Type in whatever you want, and as opposed to saving a separate copy of the file, i.e., mimicking the Save As behavior, the file’s name will be changed. Older versions of the file will still bear the old name, more on that in the next section.

Preview rename

View Older File Versions

In the same dropdown menu you will see a Browse All Versions options at the very end. Click it and something like the Expose feature will open. The current file and the most recent version will be shown side by side. At the right of the screen, there will be a timeline. As you hover your mouse over each segment of the timeline, the ones that correspond to a saved file version appear thick and white. Click the segments to browse through the different versions. Three buttons below this preview let you return to the current document, leave the view you have open, and restore the selected older version. On a completely unrelated note, the stars in the background are animated and move towards you slowly which is kind of neat.

preview old versions

Insert Pages & Images From Scanner

Scanning images or documents and adding them to an existing document has been simplified.You can add an item from the scanner in one of two ways. Open a PDF file and from the File menu, select the Import From Scanner option (which will actually read Import From *scanner name) or the Import From Camera option to import items from either one. In effect, you can send a scan command to your scanner from Preview. Alternatively, if you have Preview set to one of the views that support a sidebar, a plus sign at the bottom of the sidebar will let you add items from either a connected camera or printer.

Preview Import Scanner

Annotate & Search Notes

Annotation in Preview has been improved by adding more shapes and the toolbar itself has been cleaned up a bit. You can add speech bubbles, thought clouds and oval shapes. The notes you add to a single document can be searched through with more ease if you have the Highlights and Notes view enabled. Notes that you added shrink to small squares, where they have been added and allow you to continue reading your document.

Preview Notes & Annotations

Fill PDF Forms

The crème of the crop is, of course, the fill PDF forms features that requires nothing on your part. If you open a PDF file that has form fields, Preview will detect them and turn them into editable fields. You need only click the text input area and a cursor will appear or click a check box and it will be marked.

Preview Edit PDF

Move To iCloud

Finally, like with most stock apps in Mountain Lion, files that you have saved on your hard disk and open in Preview can easily be moved to iCloud from the same dropdown. Preview will confirm if you want to move the file or not. Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be a simple way of saving a copy of the document to the cloud. You will have to duplicate the file first and then save it to iCloud.

Preview, as a stock app has plugged the need for apps that let you edit PDFs or connect with your scanner. It is definitely one of the highlights of the new OS. For users who upgrade to the new version, many old apps that they used for just such a purpose will likely be obsolete.

Leave a comment

  • The “Move To” feature could be improved by Apple, since when looking a “Pictures” it does’nt give a drop down menu for all the sub-folders that usually exist within “Pictures”

  • Ve

    the rename file function only works on apple apps? Couldn’t get it to work on Microsoft word file for instance

  • Fill PDF forms feature is something interesting!

  • This is another app that’s been totally destroyed… wheres the F###ing Move/hand tool gone! Utterly useless without!

    • Dodser

      Astonishing how apple promise so much and deliver so little. Another example of them stripping out basic and core functionality from an app for no other reasons than to force us to upgrade to some more expensive piece of apple software. Frustrating as hell!

  • fedup

    Also, what good are giant highlights that take up multiple lines of text? Is there any way to revert to the old, useful, text highlighting?

  • Tom

    Hi there, I’ve just upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion and I’ve found I can no longer delete pictures I’m viewing in Preview by pressing [Apple] + [Back Space].
    Anybody know how I can achieve this?

  • Toshiro

    Where the hell is the “add link” option? It can’t be serious…

  • Why does this new Preview open all my 640×480 images as really small? And then says it is at Actual Size when it’s not? I can’t figure out how to make them open at the real actual size, please help!

  • isaacalves

    i’m having a quite hard time trying to preview a large image (full screen) and drag it around, let alone seeing two pages at the same time on the screen (sheet music, for example).

    i’m also trying to understand why it gives me (by default, apparently) the ability to click and drag to draw a rectangle, with anchors, which i can resize and drag around. what for? what’s going on, please.

    very disappointed with this application

  • Concerned

    Really don’t like the new preview, is it possible to change back to the one from lion where the notes appear on the side? Need help please…. this has messed up my ability to read the notes at a glance and it is especially painstaking to read these notes as they are when they block the image they are on as well…. I also have dozens of notes written and to click on every one and only be able to read each one individually is a serious pain.