Circling Text on Mac Preview vs. Using Apple Pencil on iPad

I am 99% sure that I am missing something obvious, but here we go. I have a PDF open on my Mac in Preview. I want to circle some text in red with my mouse and draw an arrow. I can’t figure out how to do it. So, I email it to myself, open it on my iPad, and do what I want to do with my Apple Pencil on PDF Expert. How do I do what I want to do in Preview on my Mac with my mouse?

Here’s a way:

There’s also a tool, I forget the name, that lets you use your trackpad as a drawing pad if you like more control. I found it too fiddly to be very useful for me, but it may have improved as I was an early adopter.


Thank you so much for that. I was not clicking the diagonal line on “fill color,” so when I was doing everything else that you did, it was putting a red blob over the text. Seems like it should be easier, but that works. Thanks again.

Preview is really powerful, considering it’s such a light, unassuming kind of app, but parts of its UI (or UX?) could really do with a refresh.


I wish there’s a Handover for Preview. It already allow you to add a photo or scan documents using your iOS device. You can also use your iOS device to add a signature on a document you are working on Preview.

I agree. I use many convoluted steps to achieve some tasks when Preview can probably do some of them for me.

I regularly use it to merge multiple pdfs into one then add a signature, when collating multi-part contracts into one final document for example.

There must be lots of other hints and tips available for Preview that most of us mere mortals only scratch the surface on …

There’s something like this. It’s called Continuity Markup and is activated from Quicklook.

Nevertheless, it’s not very well suited for reading and marking up long PDFs.

What’s really missing is Preview for iPad. Should it have Handover, then we’ll be in a great place.

Meanwhile, I’ve settled on PDF Expert handover feature and MarginNote sync which are both not seamless, but workable.

Thanks for this! I knew I’ve tried marking up something from my Mac to the iPad but couldn’t remember, thinking it was on Preview.