Paint for Mac: How to Find the Free, Hidden Paint App

Since the dawn of time (aka 1985), Windows has always shipped with an original image-editing program: Paint. For MacOS, there is no native equivalent, whether you are running the latest version or older. Apple removed MacPaint long ago.

However, Apple’s default app for opening images, PDFs and other files – called previews – comes close. It does not mirror Microsoft Paint, but it does have some editing tools, such as drawing, adding text, and inserting shapes. Most people do not know that these features exist because they are hidden behind a button that they never click.

Keep in mind that preview does not allow you to create new artwork from scratch like Microsoft Paint – there is no blank canvas. These tools are more for annotating and highlighting photos and other files than creating new pieces of artwork.

Read on to learn how to enable the Paint features hidden on your Mac. We’ll also learn how to use the built-in tools and if you’re looking for something simple, we’ll download one-to-one paint replacements.

pay attention: The screenshots below are based on MacOS Big Sur. All the tasks are still the same, but the presentation is slightly different. We also used macOS and a fluffy kitten in dark mode.

Search for hidden tools in preview

Use the finder to locate the image you want to edit in the preview. If the image appears only in the Photos app, right-click on the photo, select Edit with On the pop-up menu, then click Preview.

With the preview app open, click the button that resembles the tip of the pen inside a circle. It is located immediately to the left of the search area, as shown below. This button displays Markup toolbar.

Show macos preview markup toolbar
Kevin Parish /

If you want your image to draw quickly, click on the pencil icon and get it. Changes are saved as you go, so if you want to keep the original image intact, consider making a copy of the image to edit before viewing.

If you have ever used an image-editing app then other tools should be quite obvious. However, read on for a quick stay of each instrument starting from the left.

Cursor tool

Selection tool On the left is the first device. This controls which mode your cursor is in, with four different options.

Here you can select a part of the image to move or edit. The standard rectangle is for selecting an area with an elliptical selection tool. As you select a region, two additional “lasso” tools are affixed to the shapes.

MacOS preview rectangular selection
Kevin Parish /

After this Quick alpha The tool lets you “magically” click an area of ​​the image, select an entire field of uniform color.

Sketch The tool allows you to draw freehand. If you want to draw something on top of your existing image, Sketch Previewing what you want will also automatically streamline your sketch.

For example, if you try to free a circle, the application automatically smooths the curve. A thick circle like this …

MacOS Preview Sketch Tool Raw
Kevin Parish /

… smooths quickly, as shown below. If you don’t like the correction, an option to erase it appears in the lower left corner.

MacOS preview sketch tool fixed
keep in mind that Sketch is different from To pull In that it automatically corrects the lines until you select otherwise – To pull Does not do this. Sketch Does not enter different line widths. To pullOn the other hand, a Force Touch relies on a trackpad to hold different stroke widths.

Enter shape and edit tools

The next button group is mostly related to adding specific shapes and text. It also includes the ability to resize photos.

Create MacOS Preview Size
Kevin Parish /

Shapes The tool lets you add shapes – rectangles, circles, speech bubbles, and stars – directly to an image.

Also called a magnifying feature The loop To zoom in on something specific. Adjust the overall shape using the blue handle and magnification green handle.

MacOS Preview Loop Tool
Kevin Parish /

Text The tool inserts a text box in the center of your image. You can type whatever you want, then move the text box to its desired location.

Controlled with font and color options Text style Tool on the right side of the toolbar. You can set the font, size, color, and alignment of the current text box or the next text box.

Add MacOS Preview Text
Kevin Parish /

signature The tool allows you to insert already saved signatures.

Adjust color The tool brings a panel to change contrast and saturation levels, and so on. Experienced designers will know what to do here, but everyone else can do better than hit “auto level” and see if they like the result.

MacOS preview adjust color
Kevin Parish /

Adjust sizThe E tool lets you resize the image using a menu.

MacOS preview adjust size
Kevin Parish /

Style and Color Toggle

The last section of the toolbar lets you set the thickness, color, and fonts used by the tools we mentioned earlier. These tools are used when editing sketches and shapes, or before.

Shape style The tool lets you choose the thickness of lines created by other tools. You can also use it to add different types of textures and add drop shadows.

MacOS preview size style
Kevin Parish /

Edge color The tool, shown below, lets you set an outline color for the current shape or the next shape you created.

Fill color The device is located to the right of Edge color The tool lets you set a shed inside your current size or for the next shed you will build.

MacOS preview border color
Kevin Parish /

Menu bar

This markup is for the toolbar. You will notice that some features are missing, such as options that allow you to crop and rotate an image. You can find these options by clicking equipment On the menu bar. You will also see most of the markup toolbar functions listed below Annotate On equipment drop down menu.

MacOS preview crop image
Kevin Parish /

Paint option for mac

Of course, some people may find the preview’s hidden photo editor very Complicated, especially if you are doing a Windows transplant. You want something simpler and a bit more familiar.

We recommend checking out Paintbrush If there is a stripped-down version of paint, then what exactly are you. This bare bones editor paints everything the same way.

For similar features with a slightly wider scope, Patina is a great paint option If you want to open three rupees. It is worth the low price, in our opinion.

Overall, both are very close to Microsoft’s much anticipated Paint app – and the learning curve is not as steep as navigating the preview tool.

Whether you recently moved onto a Mac or just remember doodling in paint in grade school, there are ways to revive the facilities the program offers. Take some time to click in the preview before going after the other paint options – you may find that it has all the features you need.

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