Using The Mac Preview App To Manage Documents

Using The Mac Preview App To Manage Documents

64px-Preview_icon.png This one is for the Mac users out there. Anyone who has used Mac OSX, whether they know it or not, has probably used Preview (or as Mac-heads call it, at some point. Any time you double click on an image or PDF, it is probably Preview that is starting up to view it.

What a lot of people don’t know is that Preview has some basic document editing capabilities. I made this quick video to run through them:

One thing I forgot to mention when creating the video is that you can use Preview to annotate documents as well. To do this:

  • Go to Tools -> Annotate -> Add Note


  • Place the annotation where you want it to go
  • In the box, type your message


To summarize, can:

  • Re-order pages
  • Delete pages
  • Insert pages
  • View one or two pages at a time, alone or continuously
  • Go to full-screen mode
  • View an index sheet of all pages
  • Add notes to annotate a document

Do you have any more document management tips for Leave them in the comments.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 17 comments

Karolyne Lucero - June 21, 2014 Reply

Unable to view video – message says Forbidden.

    Brooks Duncan - June 21, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Karolyne for letting me know. Fixed!

David - October 10, 2011 Reply

Ever have any luck with the 4.013 version of CardIris for Scansnap on a 1500M Mac OSX 10.7.1?
I scan business cards and cannot save them in CardIris for Scansnap. When exit cards not saved?

Badkitty - July 28, 2011 Reply

I bought the s1500m for Mac, but it seems like 1500 for pc has better software, the organizer. What do you think?

    Brooks Duncan - July 28, 2011 Reply

    I usually recommend getting the scanner for whatever platform you will be scanning on most, but you're right.

    The Windows version comes with "better" software in that it comes with a document organization program (ScanSnap Organizer) whereas the Mac doesn't, and it comes with Acrobat 9 whereas the Mac version still only comes with Acrobat 8.

      Cindy - November 13, 2012 Reply

      If S1500 for Mac doesn't have the great document organization program ScanSnap Organizer – what is the 'work around' for Macs to be 'organized' to fill this void. Is it manually creating files etc? Is it yet another software?

        Brooks Duncan - November 13, 2012 Reply

        You can either just use folders in the Mac's Finder or use a piece of software like Yep, Presto PageManager, NeatWorks, Mariner Paperless, etc.

Daniel - August 10, 2010 Reply

Is there a way to take apart a pdf? Let's say I scan 10 pages and I need two or three of them alone. How do I do that?

    Brooks Duncan - August 10, 2010 Reply

    There are a bunch of different ways I am sure, but what you could do is, in the right hand sidebar, highlight the pages that you want to extract. Then go Edit > Copy, and then go File > New From Clipboard. That should do the trick I would think.

Leiren7 - December 7, 2009 Reply

Thanks a lot of this cool tips, and for managing the docs in Mac is always a big problem for me. After read this tip, I've found Mac is really a exquisite designed computer. Also, I've found another useful tip for manage documents on mac, it indicates few points, which made the managing very easily. hope it helps your folks:

Marcia - August 20, 2009 Reply

Thank you, so much for this post. So easy to do once you know you it exists. I didn't know the command-delete after command-click either, but I'll not use it until the bugs fixed. Thanks to Michael F for mentioning that command and the bug.

    Brooks Duncan - August 20, 2009 Reply

    Glad to hear. It helped! I didn't know the functionalityexisted until I stumbled across it. Once I did, it made life a lot easier if I just wanted to do quick page manipulation. Thanks for reading/commenting!

Michael F - August 6, 2009 Reply

Preview in 10.5.7 has a major, nasty bug where the wrong pages get selected, if you select multiple non-adjecent pages. (For example, select pages 2, 4, and 6 by command-clicking; delete them with command-delete. 2, 3 and 4 get deleted instead.

I hear via an unconfirmed source that this bug is fixed in Snow Leopard. I haven't yet installed 10.5.8 to see if it's fixed there, as well, but I don't see it in the list of changes for this patch.

    Brooks Duncan - August 7, 2009 Reply

    Yikes that is a nasty bug! Thanks for the heads up Michael. I haven't installed 10.5.8 yet either but once I do, I'll try it out. Thanks again.

      Michael F - August 19, 2009 Reply

      Nope, not fixed in 10.5.8. Sigh.

        Brooks Duncan - August 20, 2009 Reply

        Drat. Oh well, hopefully Snow Leopard? Any extra-early adopters able to check it out for us?

          BlomeM - August 31, 2009 Reply

          Seems to be fixed in Snow Leo. At least on my installation the bug with the pages in not there. But Im seeing a very strange behavior when I try to combine several PDF pages into a new document. On leopard I did this by selecting the first page, then cmd-c, cmd-n and then just drag all additional pages into the new document (from other PDFs). But Snow Leo does not combine the pages which is very annoying for me! Guess preview still needs some bugfixes.

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