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Preview icon.png
Preview 4.0 running under Mac OS X 10.5.0
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Stable release 5.0.1 (503) / November 9, 2009
Preview release 5.03 / 11/09/2009
Operating system Mac OS X
Type Image viewer
License Proprietary
Website Apple - Mac OS X Leopard - Features

Preview is Mac OS X's application for displaying images and Portable Document Format (PDF) documents. Like Mac OS X itself, it comes from NeXT's OPENSTEP operating system.

Preview employs Apple's implementation of Adobe's PDF specification, and makes significant use of Apple's Aqua graphical user interface, Quartz graphics layer, and QuickTime image codec. Preview can open the following file types:

  • AI - Adobe Illustrator Artwork files
  • BMP – Windows Bitmap files
  • DNG – Digital Negative files
  • EPS – Encapsulated PostScript files
  • FAX – faxes
  • FPX – FlashPix files
  • GIF – Graphics Interchange Format files
  • HDR – High Dynamic Range Image files
  • ICNS – Apple Icon Image files
  • ICO – Windows icon files
  • JPEG 2000 – JPEG 2000 files
  • JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group files
  • OpenEXR – OpenEXR files
  • PS – Adobe PostScript files (after an automatic conversion to PDF)
  • PSD – Adobe Photoshop files
  • PICTQuickDraw image files
  • PDF – Portable Document Format files
  • PNG – Portable Network Graphics files
  • PNTG – MacPaint Bitmap Graphic files
  • QTIF – QuickTime image files
  • RAD – Radience Scene Description files
  • RAW – Raw image files
  • SGI – Silicon Graphics Image files
  • TGA – TARGA image files
  • TIF, TIFF – Tagged Image File Format files
  • XBM – X BitMap files

This gives users the ability to open a wide variety of popular and rarer image files straight out of the box.

Editing features

Preview offers basic image correction tools, cropping and rotation tools. Also, some features which are otherwise only available in professional PDF editing software are provided by Preview: It is possible to extract single pages out of multi-page documents (e.g. PDF files), sort pages, and drag & drop single or multiple pages between several opened multi-page documents, or into other applications, such as attaching to an opened email message.

Preview can also encrypt PDF documents, and restrict their use; for example, it is possible to save an encrypted PDF so that a password is required to copy data from the document, or to print it. However, encrypted PDFs cannot be edited further, so the original author should always keep an unencrypted version.

PDF and TIFF documents can also be annotated and supplied with keywords, and are then automatically indexed using OS X's system-wide Spotlight (software) search engine.

There are, however, some aspects of the Adobe Reader's functionality that have become available in more recent releases (reader v8 and onwards) that are not provided in Preview. For example, forms can now be created in Acrobat that have dynamic content fields (such as drop-downs and check-boxes) and while Preview will display these fields, interactivity is not available and therefore the fields become static.

Import and export

Preview can directly access image scanners supported by OS X and import images from the scanner. Preview can convert between image formats; it can export to BMP, JP2, JPEG, PDF, PICT, PNG, SGI, TGA, and TIFF. Using OS X's print engine (based on CUPS) it is also possible to "print into" a Postscript file, a PDF-X file or directly save the file in iPhoto, for example scanned photos.

External links

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