Problem with Preview "Select" command

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by userjoy, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. userjoy macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2012
    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?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    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.
  3. userjoy thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2012
    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.
  4. GGJstudios, Feb 7, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    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.
    That's not true. Your changes are not saved unless you intentionally save them.

    No, you're not the only one. Preview is the default app in OS X for viewing .pdf files.
  5. JackRoch, Feb 7, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013

    JackRoch macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Have you had a look at Skim: ?

    …claims to have "smart cropping tools"
    Here's the manual page that describes cropping for 'this page' and 'all pages':
    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!

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