How to mark up and annotate Photos on Mac

Need to highlight, put a shape, or draw over an image? This tutorial tells you all about the useful Markup tools inside the Photos and Preview apps on Mac so you can annotate your picture without downloading third-party apps.

Using Markup in Photos on Mac

Whether for business or fun, you may want to mark up a photo on your Mac. Maybe you want to call out part of an image, point to something in a photo, insert additional text, or use another type of annotation.

The Markup tool that you might be familiar with in other apps on your Mac is available in the Photos app, too. So, to help you, here’s how to mark up and annotate images in Photos on Mac.

Tip: If you prefer to keep a copy of your original before you mark it up, you can duplicate the photo first by selecting it and pressing Command + D.

Access the Markup tool

Before you can use the tool, you need to know where to find it and open it. You can primarily access the Markup tools inside Mac’s Preview and Photos.

In Preview

Simply double-click an image in Finder, and it should open in Apple’s built-in Preview app.

In Photos

  1. Open the Photos app and double-click an image so that it’s on the full screen of Photos.
  2. Click the Edit button on the top right.
  3. Select the Extensions option (three dots) in the toolbar and pick Markup.
Access Markup in Photos on Mac

The tools inside Photos and Preview are almost similar, and in this guide, we will focus on the ones inside the Photos app.

Markup tools in Photos and Preview on Mac
Markup tools in the Photos app and Preview on Mac.

Mark up your photo

Once the Markup tool is open, you can annotate your photo easily with the tools in the bar across the top.

Markup tools in Photos on Mac

Here they are, from left to right:

  • Sketch and Draw: When you use the Sketch tool, you’ll see a pop-up right below the button if your sketch resembles a shape. This lets you pick one for a nicer-looking markup.
  • Shape: Along with shapes like squares, circles, and stars, this area includes the Mask and Loupe tools. If you do select a shape, you can use the style tool further to the right on the toolbar.
  • Text and Highlight: If you use the Text option, a text box will appear on your image. You can then just type the text you want and use the button further to the right to format it.
  • Shape Style: Once you insert a shape, you can use the options here to change the line style or the arrow type.
  • Border Color and Fill Color: These tools add your color of choice for shape borders and fill colors.
  • Text Style: Here, you can pick the font style, color, size, alignment, and format for the text boxes you insert.
  • Rotate and Crop: The Rotate button will turn your image with each click. If you use the Crop tool, drag the edges to contain the portion you want to keep and click Crop.
  • Annotate on iOS Device: If you have other devices like an iPhone or iPad, you can select one here. That will pop the image onto the device you choose in the Markup tool.

Save or revert

When you finish making any changes with the Markup tool, click Save Changes at the top. Then click Done in the photo editing window. The annotated image will then replace your original.

If you don’t like the way the annotated image turned out, you can select the image you marked up and click Edit. In the editing window, click Revert to Original.

Photos Editing Revert to Original

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