Combining Images With Preview

You can use Preview to combine more than one image into a single image. By using a trick to start a new document, and then resizing, copying and pasting other images into the new document, you can create a collage of images. Then you can export in the format of your choice to use in video projects, online posting, and so on.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Combining Images With Preview.

Suppose you want to combine different images into a single image. This is something you can easily do in Photoshop or some other kind of graphic software. But let's say you just want to do it with what you have on your Mac by default like Preview app.

So you can open up images in the Preview app pretty easily. You select images. I'll select four of them here. You can drag them into Preview of I'm just going to double click to open them automatically in Preview since that's the default app for me. You can see I've got four images now. They're in a sidebar. It doesn't matter if they open in a sidebar or in four separate windows. This works regardless.

Unfortunately there's no way to start a new blank document in Preview. I really feel that this is something that Apple needs to add but until then it's pretty easy to get around it. All I need to do is basically have something that you copy to the buffer and then you can create a new image from that.

Now these images are almost all the same size. This one right here is a little different so we'll deal with that later. But let's select one here. This is a 4000 x 3000 pixel image. I'm going to click in the image itself and then do Command C to copy. The reason I want to do that is because if I click here I'm actually copying the file not the image inside. Now I'm going to go to File, New From Clipboard. This will create a new Preview document that has that same thing in it. But I'm instantly going to do Command A and then Delete to clear it out.

So now I have a 4000 x 3000 image that's blank. Perfect. This is what I want. Now I want to put all four images in here so that means reducing the size of each by half. I can actually click on an image like this first one here. Click in here. Do Command A to select all. Copy. Go over here and Paste. But I get back what I just had. Something that's full size. So I'm going to undo. Go back here and before I do the Copy I'm actually going to go in. Go to Tools, Adjust Size and I'm going to cut it down in half. So instead of 4000 pixels wide I'll make it 2000 pixels wide. Hit Okay. Now I'll do Command A, to select all, and Command C to copy. Go over here and Paste it in. Now I've got this half size image here which I can place in the upper left hand corner.

I want to do the same thing for the other images. So I'll go into this image here. Adjust size. Half the size. Click inside here and do Command A, Command C, and Paste it in. I'll put this here. You can see you even get alignment marks there. It's like a line to the center of each other. Let's go to the next one and halve that. Click in it. Command A, Command C, and Paste.

Now go to the last one here. This one is a little bit different. To show you as an example when I do Adjust Size, the sizes are different. If I do 2000 across the height is going to be a bit short. So I'll make sure the height is full height and it's a little extra wide. So do that. So click in there. Command A, Command C, and Paste. You can see this image is a little bit too big. I could just crop it off to the right there like that. But in this case let's make it harder. I'll put it over there and it overlaps here. So you can't really move this on top of that. What I can do is Command C and then Delete this image here with the delete key. Then Command V to Paste a new copy on top. So now they line up. You can play around with the alignment if it's not quite perfect to get it so that it matches perfectly there.

Now basically I've got what I wanted. So at this point I could go to File, Export and save it out as a jpeg if I wanted to. Or I could have just hit Command S for save and it would save it as a png which is the standard format for Preview images. So I'll save it out and now I can close it. Of course it's going to ask do I want to delete this file because remember it's a png here, this document. I exported it to jpeg. So that's fine for my purposes. Now I can double click on this jpeg. It opens up and there's the jpeg image that has all four there.

Very useful for doing things, say, inside of iMovie where you want to put four images in like that. Or maybe making a single image post to a social media site. The one thing is because we've halved the size of all of these and it's automatically saving documents as you work on them you're going to want to go in, unless you don't care about these original images here, maybe they're copies or something, you want to go and Undo the size changes in them. So, Command Z for each of these to go back to the original size. So I basically selected each one and did Command Z. You can see the edited mark went away up there. Now I can close these and they're untouched originals and I still have this.

Comments: 2 Responses to “Combining Images With Preview”

    Mae McMichael
    10 months ago

    Totally awesome. I would have never thought do do that. I use Photoshop Elements to do things like that. Thank you so much. I’ve learned so much from your videos.

    10 months ago

    Great video but seems like a lot of work. Like you said, I wish Apple would make it easier for you to do, just drag and drop would be nice.

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