Batch Image Conversion in Mac OS X the Easy Way with Preview

Jan 16, 2013 - 5 Comments

Preview is a greatly under-appreciated app that has been bundled along with Mac OS X since the beginning, getting better and better with each OS X release. One quiet feature that has been around for a while is the ability to mass convert a group of pictures from one file type to another, often referred to as batch conversion. This lets you easily take a large amount of JPG files and convert them over to PNG, for example. It’s safe to assume that if you can open the image files in preview, you can export them to a new file type, including GIF, ICNS, JPEG, JPEG-2000, BMP, Microsoft Icon, OpenEXR, PDF, Photoshop PSD, PNG, SGI, TGA, and TIFF.

Convert a Group of Image Files to a New Format with Preview

  • From the Finder, select a group of images and open them all with Preview either by launching directly or dragging and dropping them into the Preview Dock icon
  • Once opened in Preview, click within the preview pane on the left side and then Select All, either by hitting Command+A or by pulling down the edit menu and choosing that option
  • Pull down the File menu and choose “Export Selected Images…”
  • Optionally, create a new folder for the converted pictures to save to, then select the desired image format (Option-click to reveal more) and click “Choose” to save

Batch convert image files in Mac OS X with Preview

A progress indicator bar will appear over the pictures letting you know things are progressing. Depending on the amount of images selected to convert, their resolutions – which can also be resized at the same time if desired, and their file formats, this process can either be very fast or somewhat time consuming.

The video below walks through the group file type conversion process with Preview, taking a selection of JPG files and saving them to a new folder as PNG’s. As you may notice in the video, the original JPG files remain intact throughout this process.

The ability to convert a single image file has been around for quite some time and that shouldn’t be a mystery to those who have used Preview before, but the group conversion ability is limited to newer versions of the app in OS X.

If you follow us here at OSXDaily with regularity, you probably know that we recently showed how to perform image conversions from the command line using the sips tool as well, but using the GUI and Preview is much easier for most users and is going to have a wider appeal.

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

5 Comments

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  1. parakeet says:

    Preview is good but it needs some paint tools

  2. Connor says:

    I think you can also do this in adobe bridge?

  3. Janie Mac says:

    Am I misreading this?
    I can’t export as GIF from Preview ever since upgrading to Mountain Lion. It used export to GIF in Snow Leopard, but your article leads me to believe I should still be able to export a GIF.

    Only choice I have for export are:
    JPEG
    JPEG-2000
    OpenEXR
    PDF
    PNG
    TIFF

    Where is my GIF option gone?

  4. mike sanders says:

    why can’t I view your video in my email, it is just a black rectangle. OS X 10.8.3
    It has been this way for some time.

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