12/27/219:00 am Things You Can Do With PDF Selections in Preview In Preview you can select just a portion of a PDF document. Then you can paste that into a new PDF document, another type of document, email message and more. This can be used in a variety of useful ways. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let's look at how useful it is to Copy and Paste sections of a PDF from Preview. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 1000 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So in the Preview App when you're viewing a PDF you could actually select a section of a page and copy it and then paste that in various other places. This leads to all sorts of useful functionality. For instance here is a colorful poster about washing your hands. There's all sorts of useful information. You may want to print the whole thing out and post it somewhere or maybe just a section of it. Here's a list right here that could be useful just all by itself. So if I want to select and copy that I could do that in one of two ways. One is I can click here to turn on the Markup Tools. Then click here to make a selection. Then click and drag a rectangle. But I could do that without the Markup Tools by using Tools and then Rectangular Selection. Now I could do the same thing. So as soon as I've selected an area, let's say this, now I can use Command C for Edit, Copy. So now I have just a copy of that section of the PDF I could do lots of things with it. One thing I could do is simply go to File and then New From Clipboard. Command N is the shortcut. So a quick Command C, Command N would get you to the same place. This creates a new PDF document. It's unsaved that just has this section in it. Remember to Save this it would make for a much smaller PDF. So I can save just the information I want out of a larger file. But of course I could also go to Print this if I want to. I'll print just this section of the document that I want. One place where I've used this in the past is where you get tickets that you want to print. Fortunately most of the time now you can just use your phone for tickets to shows or airline tickets and things like that. But if you have to print something out a lot of times you don't want to print all the extra information. You just want the ticket itself. So now you could go to Rectangular Selection. You could select just that area. Command C to Copy, Command N to create a new document and now I've got this new document. It's much more compact to save it somewhere and also to print it. You could do other things with these copied selections. For instance, in the Notes App you can easily Paste that section of the PDF here into a Note. So instead of having to Copy and Paste and maybe reformat things you can paste this in especially useful if there's some graphics involved as well as text. You could also do it in an email message. So if you want to send somebody some information but maybe not the entire PDF you could just paste that one section of that PDF in there. It doesn't work quite as well in Messages because it converts it to an image. You could see it doesn't quite get the entire message there. Just a part of it converted into a graphic. You could paste this into documents as well. For instance, Pages, Numbers, Keynote. Just about anything that will accept PDF's. So here in Pages I could just paste this in and you could see I get this graphic posted in here. If I zoom in you could see it's definitely vector based here. It's not an image. So much higher quality than taking a screenshot of something and pasting it in. This will print really nicely and scale really nicely. So if you want to include a bit of information from a PDF inside of a document this is really handy. Now this could also be helpful in taking content from one document and putting it in the other. So, for instance, if I'm in Keynote here and I select all the elements here in this Keynote slide I could certainly Copy it and then Paste it here inside of Pages. But you could see how it's all the different elements in here. Maybe I don't want that. Maybe I want kind of the finished product. So I could go into Keynote and instead go to Print and then from Print you may be familiar with the PDF option here. But instead of PDF just say Open In Preview. So instead of creating a file it opens it directly in Preview. It's unsaved. So I can go and take a section of this and copy it. Then go into Pages and Paste it in and this is a single graphic. It's high resolution. So you can see how I can zoom in on it there. But there aren't the individual elements anymore. This is particularly handy when going from Numbers to Pages because you're got something like a chart like this in Numbers. If I Copy that and Paste it into Pages it's actually the chart data here which can be changed. If I want instead to take a permanent version of this I can Go To File and then Print and then go to Open In Preview and then do a Rectangular Selection. Choose the section I want, like that. Copy, go into Pages and Paste. Now it's the finished thing here. It's actually imbedded PDF that can't be changed but can be scaled and it looks good. You can imagine how that's also useful to Paste into something like an email message as well. In fact this solves the problem in Numbers where it's hard to print a section of a spreadsheet. So here if I just want one section here I don't have a way to just select that part. But if I do Open In Preview here and then Rectangular Selection. Select just the part that I want to print. Do Copy and then Command N for New From Clipboard. Now I just have this in a document and I can Print this to only print that section of the Numbers document. Remember you can get a PDF from just about anything as long as you can Print it. So you can go to a webpage, say like this one, and maybe you see this information here and copying and pasting it is going to be kind of difficult. So instead you could go to Print, then Open In Preview. Then select just the area that you want. Copy it. Now you can Paste that into say a Note or another document or send it in an email or whatever you want. So I hope this gets you thinking about various ways that you can use the Preview App to grab just the section of a PDF and then Save it, Paste it, or Print it in different ways. Related Subjects: Preview (44 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 14 Responses to “Things You Can Do With PDF Selections in Preview” Razvan Mihai 2 years ago Gary: Thanks for the tutorial. The "New from Clipboard" functionality is quite handy in making a new pdf doc, but adding a new selection into, say, a new page of this doc seems overcomplicated. Is there an easy way to do that? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Razvan: I can't think of a way to create a new page of a PDF. Sounds like you are looking for more of a PDF creation and editing tool than a viewer with some selection features. But you could always select something, create a new document from it, then copy that page from the new document and paste it into the old one to add a new page with it. Razvan Mihai 2 years ago Thank you, Gary. It would have been nice to have a feature like Create New Page from Clipboard when pressing the Option key. I will raise this with the Preview team. Sharon Pollard 2 years ago I was excited to see this hint because what I am doing now is screen capturing sections (of like bank statements) so I can eliminate the ads and condense them down. I can't figure out how to open a pdf in "Preview." If it's something in Adobe and you don't have their program, you can't use their toolbar. Other ways I've tried, the "rectangular section" is grayed out. Seems to me when I had windows years ago I used a feature like this (instead of screen capture) ... Sharon Pollard 2 years ago Oops - forgive me! I didn't follow through your instructions - now I see that I can get to Preview by doing the Control Print and thereby selecting Preview ... (I'm 76 if that explains anything :o) Thanks for all your great tips! Martha 2 years ago I selected a section of pdf with Rectangular Selection but the "New from clipboard" function is greyed out. How do I save it to clipboard? Using Mac 10.14.6. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Martha: You need to Copy first to put the selection in the clipboard. Sharon Pollard 2 years ago I'm getting along fine w/the rectangular selection - excepting that if I'm pasting two "selections" into one document, they want to "stick together" (w/the blue box around each) and it takes some time to separately reposition them. In that regard, screen capturing is easier (no "blue boxes" and the "sticking together") ... Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Sharon: Which app are you pasting into? Sharon Pollard 2 years ago Pages. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Sharon: Make sure you aren't pasting in to the body text, but outside of it. These paste in as normal elements, not linked together in any way. Sharon Pollard 2 years ago Okay - I just played w/it a bit. I am opening a blank document to paste into. I see if I click within the material I've copied, it will move on it's own, but if I click outside the moved material the blue box appears. Thank you so much, I think I'm good! David Girling 2 years ago Am using a scanner on lots of documents which creates pdfs for each with a file name consisting of a date and title, presumably extracted by OCR from the document, usually only approximate or just gibberish. Tried using Preview, as you describe in your video, to copy accurate date and originator of document and paste into the file name of the scanned document to save typing this information for each pdf. Of course it doesn’t work. Can you suggest another way of doing this? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago David: I use Image Capture (not Preview) as I show here: https://macmost.com/using-image-capture-to-scan-documents.html I title the document myself each time. Comments Closed.