MacMost Now 536: Annotating Pictures with Pages and Preview

While you can't add text or shapes to a photo in iPhoto, you can do it using either Pages or Preview. Pages allows you to add a variety of shapes and even other photos. Preview allows text and simple shapes.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary. On today's episode I want to show you how to annotate your photos. The one thing iphotos doesn't let you do is annotate you photos, add a little bit of text, a circle or something but you can do that on you Mac without having to go to the extreme of going through a graphics program like Photo Shop. One way to do it is using preview and another way to do it is using pages if you own iwork. So let's start with pages because there's a lot you can do with pages. Of course, it's a word processor program, but instead of chosing word processing chose a page layout template. Let's do a landscape one and then let me reposition it and shrink it here so we can see it and I'm going to drag from the desktop here a jpeg file. I'll shrink it down zooming there, and I can do a lot already just with this jpeg file on this blank canvas. Of course, I can expand it to fill the space or more or less and I can use the inspector to set the stroke here to a picture frame and use a fancy picture frame like that. Now the next thing I want to do is I want to select it and I'm going to lock that picture so now I can select it it's basically part of the background. Now I can lose things like shapes, create a circle there, and bring the inspector in again and I'll change that circle to have no fill and increase the line stroke there and I can easily position that around so that it's where I want it to be. I can continue to use more shapes like this arrow here or the arrow on the other side and I can point to it and I can very easily add text boxes as well like this and increase the size of that . So that's some of the basics of what you can do. So that really just scratches the surface because you can use shapes and text boxes to do a variety of different things and you can even add other photos and images on top and basically do a page layout with your photos and when you're done you can export out as a pdf which is a good thing to send it as and if you like you can convert pdf to an image in preview. So if you don't have pages you can do a lot of this in preview if you have snow leopard. Double click on the image there and it will open up in preview. Let me shrink it down so we can see the image there and you could have as part of you default there part of the toolbar there at the annotate button also you have it under tools annotate there and we can do some basic stuff like add a circle, add an arrow, add some text. Now there's not quite as good of an inspector in preview as there is in pages but it's right there under tools show inspector and it brings this up and there's several different panes here. The last one is actually an annotations pane and depending on what you have selected you can do various things like I can select the circle here and I can adjust the thickness. There we go, so I can make a dash so we have some options, adjust the color, same thing with this line and if I select the text I can also adjust some things there as well as just select the text I can bring out the text inspector by command T and increase the size in there. And the great thing about doing this in preview is you may be limited in the different shapes and things that you can do, but you can then save it out right there in the jpeg format and even chose the quality. So there are two ways that you can annotate your photos, make them a little more fun, and interesting before you share them with friends. Until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 11 Responses to “MacMost Now 536: Annotating Pictures with Pages and Preview”

    Peter Emery
    4/6/11 @ 7:53 am

    Most informative, Gary, thank you. Is it possible to use Keynote in a similar manner to Pages to annotate slideshows or presentations exported as movies?

      4/6/11 @ 8:51 am

      Yep. Keynote has many of the same tools.

    4/7/11 @ 6:13 pm


    Since I have discovered your site, I have found your video tutorials to be very clear and helpful. You have a good way of explaining things, and keep a good balance as to length of the video. I have told others about your web site. Thanks for your work!

    Andrew Murr
    4/8/11 @ 3:34 am

    I am having problems with the iWork process. Generally, When originally installed the application via I believe the Installation disc, or the Application disc, when I first got my Mac. It appeared to be a Thirty day trial edition. My Thirty day trial period expired in February this year. So I had to save up to buy the iWork Installation DVD. I bought one from an Apple store yesterday. Installed it on my iMac. When I clicked on any of the related icons in the dock, I get a window saying that I have to buy a Serial Number. It cost me a fortune for the iWork installation disc (which I discovered was a trial edition) Why wasn’t there a serial Number with the package, was it because it was a trial version

    Andrew Murr

    Sheffield, UK

      4/8/11 @ 6:35 am

      Try installing again from the discs. Look in your applications folder and see if you now have two copies of Pages (one would be the trial, and one would be the full version you installed) and run the right one and delete the other. If that still isn’t working, simply call Apple or visit the store again to have them help. You’ll get it sorted out.

    Andrew Murr
    4/8/11 @ 7:27 am

    I have had problems understanding instructions from an Apple Technician, by phone. because he was either Asian, Pakistani or what. If these people want to be employed by Apple, or Sky,etc. they should go to language school first. to speak our english. The two discs? you mean the Installation discs that came with the iMac?

      4/8/11 @ 9:03 am

      I mean the iWork disc. The one you just purchased.

    11/26/11 @ 9:06 pm

    Does Pages do labels?

      11/26/11 @ 10:26 pm

      Sure. You can create layouts to fit the labels that you buy.

    1/10/13 @ 12:08 pm

    Thank you! After watching this tutorial (& others, too), I am feeling less “technologically-challenged” by the day. You explain things very well and are helping me to truly get the most out of my Mac!

Comments Closed.