How to Invert a Picture on Mac with Preview

Jul 27, 2019 - 8 Comments

How to invert a picture on Mac

Want to quickly invert a picture on the Mac? You can use the excellent bundled Preview application to invert any image, there is no need for any powerful or expensive photo editing tools. Just as it sounds, inverting a picture will take the colors of that image and reverse them to their opposite, so blues become yellows, whites become blacks, and so on.

Inverting the colors of an image with Preview on the Mac is done by basically reversing the white point and black point, dragging each to their opposite sides of the color adjustment slider. Therefore you drag the white point all the way to the left, and the black point all the way to the right, and the color is effectively inverted for that image.

How to Invert Image Colors on Mac with Preview

Here are the exact steps to invert an images color in Preview for Mac:

  1. Open the picture or image file you want to invert in the Preview app on Mac
  2. Before inverting the image in Preview on Mac

  3. Pull down the “Tools” menu and choose “Adjust Color”
  4. How to invert color of image on Mac with Preview

  5. Drag the ‘White Point’ slider all the way to the left, reversing its position
  6. Drag the ‘Black Point’ slider all the way to the right, reversing its position
  7. How to invert color of image on Mac with Preview by reversing white and black points

  8. Save the image when satisfied with the color inversion
  9. The inverted picture with Preview is finished

If you’re having problems with this because the sliders hide behind one another, it can be helpful to drag the white point or black point to about the 1/4 way mark and then drag the other to the opposite side, making it easier to see and drag the little sliders.

That’s really all there is to it.

Of course you can make other color adjustments as desired, but our purposes here are to invert an images color and not do any other editing or adjustments. And yes this works if you have also used Preview to convert a picture to black and white, to increase color saturation, to resize the image, or perform any of the other color and image adjustment features of the app.

Preview is an excellent image application with a ton of capabilities, and despite being bundled with every version of Mac OS it remains an often overlooked app. You can check out more Preview app tips for Mac here.

Note this about inverting the images of a specific picture or image file, this is not about using the Accessibility shortcut to invert the Mac screen completely which is a general feature of Mac OS.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Rachel says:

    This is so fun/easy and is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you for this tip!

  2. Enrique Dans says:

    Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks a lot, extremely useful!!!

  3. Tucker Stanton says:

    Thank you so much for this helpful tip! Very straight forward information and down to the point. We need more websites like this.

  4. Levente says:

    Was this feature disabled? I can’t do it in Photos desktop 5.0 (161.0.120)

  5. Adam Berkey says:

    Great Great tip! Thanks so much.

  6. nwLHC says:

    I have photo copies of blackbackground+white lettering old documents and this tip saved the day!

  7. Carl Allison says:

    I only wish that Apple would quit degrading the usefulness of their applications with each OS “upgrade”. I sorely miss the Hand Tool in Preview that allowed easy navigation within a Preview window when in a magnified view. Trying to coerce an interface into sync with ios apps is pointless when you’re working on a 27″ iMac. Even if the iMac had a touch screen, it would physically imposing to keep a limb elevated to that extreme just to do swipe gestures etc. Same goes for scroll bars. No need to be narrower than the older style scroll bar and for those of us with hand damage such as carpal tunnel etc, the scroll bar arrows were a god-send. They’re gone though and much of the utility of the Mac gets worse – not better – with each OS upgrade. QuickTime Player 7 Pro will go away and that’s a sorry thing. The current QuickTime Player has some useful features but the gui is just awful. JustPlay will become my default player in the near future.

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