Save Images as GIF and Other Image Formats Again in Preview for OS X

Aug 29, 2012 - 6 Comments

Save Image as Other Image Formats with Preview in OS X

Preview is a great basic image editing app bundled with Mac OS X, but recent versions from OS X Lion onward have simplified the available image Export Format options down to JPEG, JPEG 2000, OpenEXR, PDF, PNG, and TIFF. Or at least that’s what you see on first glance, but it turns out you can still access all the traditional image format options from the Save, Save As, and Export screens just by holding down the Option key when clicking on the Format menu.

Holding the Option key when selecting Format reveals all possible image formats, including: JPEG, JPEG 2000, OpenEXR, PDF, PNG, TIFF, GIF, ICNS, BMP, Microsoft Icon, Photoshop PSD, SGI, and TGA.

You can use this to convert existing images to different formats, or to save the file as a less common format to begin with.

If you’re at all confused, watch the video below for a quick demonstration of what you need to select. Keep in mind that the option key must be held down to reveal the other choices, just clicking on the format list otherwise will reveal the basic options:

This little trick works in OS X Lion, OS X Mavericks, OS X Mountain Lion, and OS X Yosemite, presumably onward from here on out as Preview has become simplified a bit. Preview is a surprisingly powerful app, don’t miss some other great tips on things you can do with it.

This great little trick comes to us from MacWorld

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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Mike says:

    Is there a way to set OSX to display these options by default (without holding down the option key)? I’m thinking there are other “optional” features hidden away in the menus, but you can’t use them if you don’t know about them. Would be a great daily tip.

  2. JamSize says:

    Why do I get the feeling Apple are dumbing down everything in OS X…

  3. Mark says:

    Why ?

    Why is Apple crippling its own system? Loyal customer since 1992 but really, Leopard/Snow Leopard were superior to everything in Lion. Versioning? Perleeze.

  4. Piyush Arora says:

    That’s just pathetic. Why create a feature and hide it from users? Do we pay $2000 to play hide-n-seek or find-me-if-you-can?

  5. Paul Lee says:

    This isn’t available on my mac running mavericks.

    What a load of crap from crApple.

    • Reese says:

      This works to save GIFS and PSD files and BMP and whatever else just fine in Mavericks and OS X Yosemite, read the instructions: HOLD DOWN THE OPTION KEY when clicking the “Format” menu and you’ll see GIF and the other image formats that you can save pictures as.

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