Open and Resequence PDFs with Apple Preview

Open and Resequence PDFs with Apple Preview
Mac Tip #397, 12 August 2009

When you buy a new Mac you’ll find Preview in the Applications folder. Preview can not only open and display files such as PDFs and images, but it can edit them too.

Set Preview to Open PDFs

Apple’s Preview is very handy for reading PDFs. It’s small, fast and effective.

To ensure that Preview is the application that opens a PDF when you double click on the file:

  1. Select a PDF in the Finder and choose Get Info from the File menu.
  2. If necessary click the disclosure triangle to open the section called Open with.
  3. Click on the application drop-down menu in the Open with section and choose The selected PDF will now always open with Preview.
  4. If you want all PDFs to open with Preview click the Change All button. All PDFs will now open in Preview by default.
  5. Close the Get Info window.

Change the order of pages in a PDF

Move a page in a PDF in Preview.

Move a page in a PDF in Preview.

Preview can edit PDFs too, provided the PDF isn’t locked up by the person who created it. For example, rearrange the pages into a sequence you prefer:

  1. Open a multi-page PDF with Preview.
  2. Go to the View menu and ensure that Sidebar is checked. This displays a Sidebar drawer that lists all the pages in the PDF.
  3. At the bottom of the Sidebar is a Preferences icon (2 checkboxes with lines beside them, and an arrow). Click the arrow to reveal a menu. Choose Thumbnails from the menu. The Sidebar now shows a thumbnail for each page in the PDF.
  4. Drag a thumbnail to a new position. The sequence of pages in the PDF changes.

Remember to Save the PDF to make the changes permanent.

It’s also possible to add Comments, Notes, highlights, underlines, strikethrough and various drawing shapes to a PDF. A future Tip will explain how.

Remember to watch the movie (about 3.5 minutes) where I demonstrate the page resequencing technique:


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