10 keyboard shortcuts you can use in the Preview app

By , Mar 3, 2016

Preview app

The Preview app that comes pre-installed on all Macs is more useful than a lot of people give it credit for. It’s not only used for opening different file types that reside on your Mac, but it can also be used to edit those files and to extract images from apps.

Regardless, most of you probably use just your mouse or trackpad to get things done in the Preview app. In this piece, we’ll show you 10 ways you can use your keyboard to quickly perform actions in Preview by way of 10 useful individual keyboard shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts for the Preview app on Mac OS X

1. Enter slideshow mode

To quickly enter slideshow mode after opening a number of image files in Preview, you can Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + F. This puts all the content into full-screen and lets you view the images in a slideshow.

2. Zoom in or out

If you open an image that’s too small to see the fine details of, you can easily use zoom in or out using your keyboard. The zoom out function is accessed by pressing Command (⌘) + Minus (-) on your keyboard, while the zoom in function is accessed by pressing Command (⌘) + Plus (+) on your keyboard.

3. Zoom to a selection

If you want to zoom to a selection, use your mouse or trackpad and draw a selection on an image, then press Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 8 and the image will be zoomed to the selected area only.

4. Adjust color of an image

You can use the Preview app to adjust the color of an image file by pressing Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + C on your keyboard. This keyboard shortcut opens a miniature window with color editing options, such as exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation, tint, temperature, and more. This is a great alternative to some expensive photo-editing software.

5. Rotate an image

Preview can also be used to rotate an image right or left. To rotate an image to the left 90º, press Command (⌘) + L on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can rotate an image to the right 90º by pressing Command (⌘) + R on your keyboard.

6. Crop an image

To quickly crop an image that you’ve opened with Preview, you can press Command (⌘) + K on your keyboard, and this will bring up the cropping boundaries. You may now use your mouse or track pad to adjust the cropping boundaries to your satisfaction.

7. Toggle sidebar options

If you’ve opened multiple files at once with Preview, it can be helpful to see all the files at once in the same window, but you still need a way to navigate them. The OS X default is thumbnails, but you can switch to table of contents view by pressing Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + 3 on your keyboard, or you can hide the sidebar completely by pressing Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + 1 on your keyboard. To get back to thumbnail view, you can press Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + 2 on your keyboard.

8. Show or hide the magnifier tool

To hide or show the magnifier tool so you can get a closer look at a very specific part of an image, simply tap on the ` key on your keyboard (to the left of the 1 key) and this will let you pan through the image for any defects that you may want to fix later on.

9. Show or hide the image inspector

To learn about the metadata of a file you’ve opened with Preview, you can press Command (⌘) + I on your keyboard and this will give you detailed information about the file. For example, doing this on an image will show its creation and modification date, the file size, DPI, color profile, and more. Other files will show other kinds of information related to those types of files.

10. Duplicate the opened file

If you want to make an exact replica of the file you have open and save it as a new file, you can use Preview to duplicate the file This is done by pressing Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + S. Now you can save the duplicate as something else.

There are a handful of keyboard shortcuts available for the Preview app, although we think these are probably some of the most noteworthy. Keyboard shortcuts will help any user who can remember them to speed up their workflow, so it’s a good habit to get used to them, albeit not necessary.


Did we miss any that you use regularly? If so, share in the comments!

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  • Another one: To make ⌘ + ⌥ + S show the Rezise menu, I created the keyboard shortcut to it in System Preferences → Keyboard → Keyboard Shortcuts!

  • Anonymous

    I enjoy this read, with school preview has become one of my most used apps. Just wish it would come to ipad pro.

  • :D

    Gross, Preview! It’s all about PDF Expert 😉

    • Morgan Freeman

      Preview is great for viewing several images in a folder. And it works just fine for most PDFs I have, so personally I have no use for a third party application. 🙂

  • dlstephmusic

    Is there a keyboard shortcut for inserting a blank page in Preview?