Crop an Image Using Preview

What do you use to crop an image in Mac OSX? There are plenty of powerful image editing tools for Mac OSX, some free, some ridiculously expensive.

Included with every Apple Macintosh since 2002, iPhoto has a modest set of photo editing options, such as red-eye removal and adjustment of exposure, contrast, and saturation. Effects (sepia, matte, black and white, etc.) can also be added with one click. It also has an easy-to-use crop tool.

The drawback is that you need to add a photo into your iPhoto library to be able to edit pictures. If you’re using powerful image editing tools like Adobe Photoshop, Gimp, Seashore, and Acorn, the drawback is that they may take a while to load. If you merely need a quick fix for cropping a photo, there has to be a quicker way, right?

You can use Prevew to crop photo.

Good thing there’s another option. And it only requires an app that already comes free and preinstalled in every Mac. The app we’re talking about here is Preview. Yup, Preview, that ever reliable photo and PDF viewer for Mac OSX can also be used to crop just about any type of image it can open.

See how after the jump.

Preview is great for reading PDF files and viewing images. It’s also great for cropping images quickly and without fuss. All it takes is a few easy steps.

  1. Open the image in Preview.
  2. Click on the Select button on the toolbar. Click Rectangular Selection in the drop-down menu.
  3. Next, click and drag your mouse over the part of the image you want to keep. Alternatively, on a trackpad, you might be able to use a three-finger swipe. A crawling dotted line will appear over your selection. If you want to adjust the selection, drag the gray circles along the crawling dotted lines.
  4. In the toolbar, click Tools > Crop. Alternatively, you can click Command+K.

Choose Select tool and click Rectangular Selection.

Select the part of the image you want to keep.

Click Tools > Crop. Alternatively, you can type Command + K.

This is the image cropped in Preview.

While Preview is not much of a photo editing tool, it’s quite handy for quickly cropping an image.

Did you find this post useful? Let me know in the comments section.


18 thoughts on “Crop an Image Using Preview

    • Why, thank you. Please let me know if there’s a specific question you want answered and I’ll try to feature it on this blog.


    • Hi, with some effort you can do-red eye correction in Preview, but it is a complicated process. You can do some photoediting using the Preview app, but the app was not really designed for photoediting.

      I would recommend the use of iPhoto, which has some basic tools for photoediting. Fortunately, iPhoto has a one-click red-eye correction tool. In iPhoto 11, select a picture, select edit, then click Fix Red Eye.

      I hope this helps.

  1. Suppose a rectangle is not good enough. How would you select only the face of a person? Or, I guess you could say, how would you crop everything away, except the persons face?

  2. I KNOW I’m missing the obvious, but how do I get rid of the gray background after I crop the image? For some reason, I’ve not been able to find any post online or in Mac Help that addresses something that is apparently obvious to everyone but me! Thanks from Amy

    • perhaps you are cropping the image to dimensions that are not the exact same as the default rectangle preview? Or, perhaps you only see the gray when you are viewing it inside the finder’s preview window?
      What happens when you crop it to the exact dimensions as the grey outside?
      Perhaps you can try and see if the gray disappears.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: