630: Preview Deep Dive


I’ve just started and I’m really looking forward to this (whether or not I end up with some new skills).

Currently, I feel like Keyboard Maestro and Preview are the two tools that really make my Mac much nicer to use than my work Windows machine.

(There’s loads of other stuff too, but these are key).

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1) Copy App Icons Even Easier/Faster

@ismh and others - you can get an app icon even easier than the iDownloadBlog article suggests. That might have been the way to do it in 2014, but it’s definitely easier now

  • select the app in Finder
  • press ⌘C
  • go to Preview.app
  • File > New From Clipboard.


You don’t need to use “Get Info” at all.

2) Get Your Proxy Icons Back

In Monterey, you can get your proxy icons back easily!

Go to System Preferences » Accessibility » Display and check the box next to “Show window title icons” as shown below:

3) Revive “Save As!” Banish “Duplicate!”

I wrote about this one a long time ago but I re-post it every few years because it seems so easily forgotten or missed or “I didn’t know that!”

“Save As” Isn’t Gone, It’s Just Hidden

Longtime Mac users know that “Save As” was ⇧⌘S but Apple changed that in Lion to “Duplicate” which no one asked for, and I’ve never met anyone who likes it.

However, if you click on the “File” menu and hold down the Option key, “Save As…” will reappear! Or you can just press ⌥⌘S to use “Save As…”!

But what we really want is to have “Save As…” restored to its rightful place.

Even better, we’d like to banish “Duplicate” to never be seen again.

We can do this. We have the technology.

Get Save As… Back

First, go to System Preferences » Keyboard » App Shortcuts.

Then. click the + button as shown here:

Set "Application to “All Applications”

Enter “Save As…” as the “Menu Title”

Use ⇧⌘S as the Keyboard Shortcut, like so:

Click “Add”

Banish “Duplicate”

If you just do the above step, “Duplicate” will appear in the “File” menu under “Save As…”

If that’s what you want, stop reading.

However, if you never use “Duplicate” and want to get rid of it, repeat the same process as above, but this time set the “Menu Title” to “Duplicate” and the Keyboard Shortcut to ⌥⌘S like this:

Now when you go to the “File” menu, you will see “Save As” but you won’t see “Duplicate” unless you hold down Option.

Voilà Again!


Text boxes weren’t always placed in the center of the document. I can’t remember when it changed, but I do remember the change because it was pretty frustrating. The text box used to go wherever the cursor was clicked and could be drawn to whatever size was needed.


I use the “New from clipboard” command all the time, so much so it is a merry confluence between KM and Preview. I have it set so that Hyperkey+P attempts to create a new document in Preview with the clipboard contents.

My most common use case is that I have taken a screenshot. I always have the screenshot set to go to the clipboard, so I don’t ever change those settings making life simpler there, then if I want it in Preview I simply tap Hyperkey+P to get it. If I just want to save the screenshot, which is uncommon for me, I put it in Preview then save it somewhere.


Awesome post, thanks :+1:

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Preview does have a redact option, it was added in Big Sur apparently.
It’s the third icon from the left when you are in the editing tools, and it works to redact by selecting text or you can draw a rectangle.

Here is the Apple support article.


“New from clipboard” sounds like a great idea, but my menu item is greyed out. Any suggestions? (monterey, M1 macbook air)

What’s on your clipboard?
Going from a screenshot should work, or CMD-C a png in finder.

Same happened to me. I got it to work by relaunching Preview, then did a test copy of part of an image within Preview. At this point New from Clipboard was no longer greyed out. Once that worked I went back to the copying of icons stuff and it worked.
New from Clipboard is always greyed out when there isn’t something suitable on the clipboard, but no idea why it was misbehaving like that in the fist place. For me at least the problem wasn’t permanent.

Great idea! I didn’t realize you could override an existing shortcut and the way it appears in the menu in this way. :+1:

I use the ⌘N shortcut for this. Super handy to send screenshots to Preview, for example.

I appreciate getting the proxy icons back (just upgraded to Monterey yesterday!). But you will have to mark me down as one person who uses Duplicate and understands the paradigm. Apple did a poor job of promoting when they introduced it in Lion, and it wasn’t fully adopted by third-party apps. This was just one of several changes made including Auto-save and Resume, Versions, and document locking (since dropped).


If you want both, you can reassign the Save As shortcut to command shift S and keep Duplicate too - if you assign it to anything other than option command S it will stay at the top level.


Had reason to find out recently that Preview has a handy Redact tool which is destructive and worked super well for my usecase


Stephen is looking for an easy way to strip location data from images. I’ve used this with no probs for a few years (though it doesn’t do HEIC images): ImageOptim — better Save for Web

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“Close and Delete” currently open file in Preview

This thread also made me realize that I have a Keyboard Maestro macro to delete the current file in Preview which you can download from Dropbox from that link.

This is handy when I’m done with a file, usually an image that I’ve downloaded, and then decide that I no longer need it. I hope @MacSparky will like it since it combines AppleScript and Keyboard Maestro :wink:

(The name “Close & Delete” comes from BBEdit which has a similar feature for text files.)

It’s fairly simple, 3 steps:

  1. Get the name/path of the file
	tell document 1 of application "Preview"
		set f to path
	end tell
end try
return f
  1. Show the user a prompt that includes the file name:

  1. If the user selects ‘Move to Trash’ then do this
	tell document 1 of application "Preview"
		set f to path
	end tell
	POSIX file f
	tell application "Finder" to move result to trash
end try

Here’s what it looks like in Keyboard Maestro:

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That’s a simple solution I never thought of…I am starting to get more into applescript and shell scripts for KM though. Thanks for sharing this.

I used to have a need to open the current Preview pdf in a different app, e.g., PDF Expert.
I can see now that TJ’s script could easily be adapted to do that task, so I have adapted it with this little script:

	tell document 1 of application "Preview"
		set f to path
	end tell
	tell application "Pixelmator Pro" to open f
end try

Using an IF statement, my version now opens the current file in PDF Expert if it is a PDF, or attempts to open it in Pixelmator Pro if it’s not.

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Oh, Yeah - Thanks so much for this - I didn’t even think about it, but I did miss Save As - and this does the trick. I owe you a coffee!!


Legend! I could recall there was a fix for this having did it a few OS’s ago but i could not recall the steps.

Thank you so much.

Can run Accessibility tests and set alt text on PDFs in Preview? I work at a university so all our documentation has to be compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Acrobat is sort of a nightmare for this.