How to draw and type on a photograph using Preview

=== by Bob Sutherland ===

A lesson on how to draw shapes and type text on a photograph using Preview software by Apple for Macintosh computers.

I have already created a lesson on this website that shows you how to resize a digital photograph using Preview software. The lesson included instructions on how to open a photograph file with the software and how to save the photograph creating a new file after you resized it. I will presume you have already learned the content of that lesson. In this lesson I will focus on providing instructions on how to draw and type on photographs.

I would recommend you resize your photograph to the final size you want it to be before you start drawing or typing. Otherwise if you resize it latter you may be surprised at how small your drawings and typing become as the photograph shrinks down in size.

I would strongly recommend you make copies of your photograph and only use one of the copies. Assume that the file you open and begin drawing and typing on will be altered even though it may be your intention to save your final masterpiece using a totally different filename and file type.

There is usually more than one way to open a file when using a computer. Here I am demonstrating a method that works with most software programs. Start up the Preview program. In the Preview application menu that appears across the top of the screen open the File menu and select Open.
Here you can see the Pictures folder in my personal account on my computer. I want to open the photograph file scan4.jpg so I mouse click on its icon picture and then mouse click on the Open button.
Here is the photograph that I will be working on. A snow covered winter scene. I was standing on the frozen lake when I took this photograph of one of the houses along the shoreline.
In the Preview application menu across the top of the screen open the Tools menu and then the Annotate submenu. You can see all of the drawing tools that Preview has for marking up a photograph.
I decided to select Rectangle in the Annotate submenu. A rectangle appears in the dead centre of my photograph. Every drawing and text object will appear in the centre of your photograph when you first select them.

When I hover my mouse pointer over the rectangle it changes to a hand. I can then hold down the left button of my mouse and drag the rectangle to wherever I want it to be placed on the screen.

The rectangle has eight blue dots around its corners and edges. These are handles that you can grab with your mouse to change the width and height of the rectangle. Hold the left mouse button down as you move one of the blue dots.

Across the top of my photograph a new Markup Toolbar has appeared that consists of little icon pictures. I have drawn a big red arrow pointing at this toolbar. All of the drawing and text tools available in the Preview application as well as all of the ways that you can modify the tools are included in this toolbar.

In the Preview application menu across the top of the screen open the View menu. Either Show Markup Toolbar or its opposite Hide Markup Toolbar will be listed as a menu item that can be selected to make the Markup Toolbar appear or disappear.

In the Markup Toolbar I mouse clicked on an orange square and a colour chart popped up on my screen. I selected a bright green box in the colour chart and the fill colour of my orange rectangle changed to bright green.

Notice the white rectangle with a red diagonal line across it near the top left corner of the colour chart. Whenever you see white with a red diagonal line that represents the invisible colour. If I select the invisible colour my rectangle will disappear and I will be able to see my photograph behind it.

I selected the invisible colour for the fill colour of my rectangle.

The next icon to the left in the Markup Toolbar looks like a miniature picture frame. Mouse clicking on it pops up a colour chart. This colour chart sets the border colour around the rectangle or any other shape you draw in the Preview application. For this lesson the border colour was invisible when the rectangle first appeared on my screen but I have now changed it to a bright purple colour.

Moving further to the left you see what is labelled as the Shapes Style icon. Each of the Markup Toolbar icons will display a small text name if the mouse pointer is left hovering (sitting motionless) on the icon. When I mouse click to select the Shapes Style icon a menu pops up where I can select the line thickness for the border surrounding my rectangle.

Be aware that a line and an arrow do not use the fill colour chart but rather use the border colour chart to determine their colour when drawn by the Preview application. You can choose a border colour and a line thickness when drawing a line. You can choose the border colour, line thickness and which end has an arrowhead when drawing an arrow.

Here I have found the shape icon with a menu of different shapes that you can draw.
Here I have created a variety of different shapes just to demonstrate some of the capabilities of the Preview application.

Notice that the blue arrow has two blue dots and a green dot representing the handles that you can grab with your mouse to move the arrow around and change its shape. Only your most recently drawn shape will have handles on it while all of the other shapes are now locked in position. The Markup Toolbar items can only modify an active shape that still has handles on it.

If you decide that you made a mistake and want to undo something you did then go up to the Preview application menu across the top of your screen and open the Edit menu. You will need to mouse click on Undo probably many times to erase each step of what you did in sequence until you get back to the action that you want to change.
Here is the menu you see when you want to type text on a photograph. All of the items are standard word processing options. Chalkboard is just one of a long list of fonts that are available from which I can choose. Size 36 point font is a lot bigger than what I normally use when typing in a word processing document but on a photograph you might want big letters. The buttons with letter icons are B = Bold, I = Italic, and U = Underline. The next line has the typical symbols for Left Justify, Centre, Right Justify, and Full Justify. The red rectangle is where a colour chart will popup so that you can choose the colour of your text.

Make sure the colour you choose for your text is clearly visible against the background colour of your photograph. Trying to pick a contrasting colour is often the most difficult part of attempting to draw objects or type text on a photograph.

The word Text in a text box with two blue handles will appear in the dead centre of your screen when you choose Text in the Annotate submenu or this letter A icon in the Markup Toolbar. Mouse click on the word Text to create the vertical flashing line cursor that you normally see when typing. You can then use your keyboard keys (Delete, Forward Delete) to remove the word Text and replace it with whatever you want to type in this text box on your photograph.

You can drag the text box around with your mouse to place it wherever you want on your photograph. Using the two blue dot handles you can change the width of the text box. The words you type in the text box will automatically wrap around into multiple lines of text if necessary to fit within the text box.