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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:24 AM   #1
userjoy
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Problem with Preview "Select" command

I am having problems with the "select" command in Preview. (Using a Macbook Air, running OSX v. 10.7.5, Preview Version 5.5.3 (719.31))

This is the option accessed from the menu bar in the upper left when reading a pdf document using Preview. The button shows a square in dotted lines, and it says "Select" underneath.

When you click on the button your cursor turns into a plus-sign, and you can mark a rectangular area in the file you are reading. Once it is marked, you can hit cmd-C to copy it. Then you can go to a Word file and hit cmd-V to paste it in.

The problem is that it does not copy the area you marked - it copies an area perhaps 1/6 of a page lower. Consistently. It ALWAYS does that.

I know that instead of using the Preview Select option, I could use the "Grab" utility, accessed using cmd-shift-4. However, sometimes I need to cut a large table, or one that goes across more than one page. In order to copy the whole thing I zoom out in Preview, and then cut and paste. With the Grab utility, that reduces the resolution so much that the resulting copied table is not readable in Word. Whereas with the Preview Select option, the resolution is not affected by the zoom, because it actually knows what you are copying and keeps the detail. So using the Grab utility isn't a good alternative unless what I want to copy is quite small.

Do other people have this problem? I never had it when I used Acrobat on any of my previous computers (PCs), so I assume it's particular to Preview. Does anyone know how to fix this? Or is it a known Preview bug?
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:34 AM   #2
GGJstudios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by userjoy View Post
When you click on the button your cursor turns into a plus-sign, and you can mark a rectangular area in the file you are reading. Once it is marked, you can hit cmd-C to copy it. Then you can go to a Word file and hit cmd-V to paste it in.

The problem is that it does not copy the area you marked - it copies an area perhaps 1/6 of a page lower. Consistently. It ALWAYS does that.
I haven't had that problem, but you might try cropping to the desired area, then copy. That way it won't get anything but the area you want.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:42 AM   #3
userjoy
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I tried that. It eliminated the rest of the page on which the table appears, and left all the other pages. (This is a 160-page document, I want to copy a table from one page.) Fortunately, I figured out how to undo that crop, or I'd have lost text I need!

(It seems, as far as I can tell, that if you do anything to a pdf in Preview, like annotate it, or highlight text, that is automatically saved with your file, you don't have to tell it to save the file. So I was afraid my crop would also be automatically saved.)

Am I the only person who actually uses Preview to read pdfs? Maybe I should just download Acrobat.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 11:16 AM   #4
GGJstudios
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Join Date: May 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by userjoy View Post
I tried that. It eliminated the rest of the page on which the table appears, and left all the other pages. (This is a 160-page document, I want to copy a table from one page.) Fortunately, I figured out how to undo that crop, or I'd have lost text I need!
Even if you don't undo, you can simply quit without saving changes to the original document. When you crop, it only affects the page you're on.

If you have a section of a page in a multi-page document that you want to copy:
  1. Open the document in Preview
  2. Locate the page that contains the content you want to copy
  3. Using the select tool, draw a rectangle around the desired content
  4. Crop, which will remove all but the desired content on that page
  5. Command-A to select all the remaining content or use the select tool again
  6. Command-C to copy
  7. Paste where you want
  8. Close the document in Preview without saving changes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by userjoy View Post
(It seems, as far as I can tell, that if you do anything to a pdf in Preview, like annotate it, or highlight text, that is automatically saved with your file, you don't have to tell it to save the file. So I was afraid my crop would also be automatically saved.)
That's not true. Your changes are not saved unless you intentionally save them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by userjoy View Post
Am I the only person who actually uses Preview to read pdfs? Maybe I should just download Acrobat.
No, you're not the only one. Preview is the default app in OS X for viewing .pdf files.

Last edited by GGJstudios; Feb 7, 2013 at 11:21 AM.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 01:46 PM   #5
JackRoch
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by userjoy View Post
Am I the only person who actually uses Preview to read pdfs? Maybe I should just download Acrobat.
Have you had a look at Skim: http://skim-app.sourceforge.net/ ?

…claims to have "smart cropping tools"
Here's the manual page that describes cropping for 'this page' and 'all pages':
http://skim-app.sourceforge.net/manu..._12.html#SEC28
Note that like Preview (in SL at least): "Cropping a document does not destroy any of its contents."
Maybe that's a part of the problem!

Last edited by JackRoch; Feb 7, 2013 at 02:40 PM. Reason: additional info
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