Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: a Preview of how Apple plans to revamp the toolbar

Posted:
in Mac OS X edited January 2014


Preview, Apple's simple, utilitarian image and PDF viewer, offers insight into how the company plans to change the standard toolbar in this summer's release of OS X Mountain Lion, organizing actions more efficiently and adding a context sensitive, iWork-style Format Bar.



Apple began experimenting with the appearance of the once standard Aqua OS X toolbar around 2003's release of OS X 10.3 Jaguar, which introduced the "Brushed Metal" look first pioneered by QuickTime and iTunes into bundled apps including iCal and iChat.



The then-new Safari subsequently introduced a new toolbar style featuring simple grey square icons, a look that began finding its way into the Finder and a variety of other bundled apps.



In 2005's OS 10.4 Tiger, Mail introduced its own, distinctive style of rounded, glossy buttons which were later, in 2007's OS X 10.5 Leopard, also adopted by several other bundled apps, including Preview (as shown below). However, both have since adopted the same toolbar appearance as Safari.





Tiger's Preview on the left compares to Leopard's revised toolbar layouts on the right, for graphics (above) and PDFs (below).







Preview follows printing user interface



In Mountain Lion, Apple is making two big changes to Preview's toolbar: first, its buttons are no longer customizable, as they are in today's Preview, and in Safari, Mail and most other apps that use the "Safari-style" toolbar.



Preview isn't alone in dropping its toolbar customizability; the new Print and Scan user interface of Mountain Lion (shown below), which has just shifted to a Safari-style toolbar, is also given a fixed icon arrangement. It's not only fixed as in 'non-customizable,' but also in utility, with a more logically organized set of simple controls that doesn't need customization.











Preview's other toolbar change parallels that revamped icon layout of the new print and scan user interface. Rather than presenting a variety of buttons that aren't usually even relevant, and forcing the user to pick items from button drop down menus (obscuring common actions), the new Preview 6.0 reorganizes its toolbar to simplify and highlight the functionality users are most likely to want to access depending on the type of file they are working with.











The image above contrasts the new Preview 6.0 tool bar with the customizable toolbar mess of today's Preview, pictured within the window. Today's default Preview toolbar has ten icons and a search field (which is useless when viewing graphics).



On of 2: Preview's new document relevant toolbar



Preview's new document relevant toolbar



Rather than presenting a single, configurable toolbar for all documents, the new Preview uses one icon layout for graphics files (with a View pulldown, Zoom, Share Sheets, Crop, Rotate and Edit buttons, as show above) and one for PDF documents (which replaces Crop and Rotate buttons with a Markup tool for underlining, highlighting or striking through text and a search field, shown below).











The new Edit button displays a Format Bar of editing tools (shown below), making it easy to access draw buttons (to add a rectangle, oval, line, arrow, text, thought or speech bubbles); style buttons (for a color picker, line weight, and font panel); selection buttons (for making rectangle, oval, lasso, Smart Lasso or Instant Alpha selections) and controls to display an iPhoto-like Adjust Color panel (second window below) and display the standard Adjust Size sheet (third window below).





















The new design indicates a new direction in making the default toolbar relevant and functional so that users don't need to rearrange it just to make it sensible. The View menu, reminiscent of iWork apps, shifts the window appearance to show Content Only, optionally add Thumbnails in a gutter to the left (first window below), alternatively present a textual Table of Contents (for a PDF), list Highlights and Notes (also unique to PDF), or display a Contact Sheet (second image below). The View can also pick between Continuous Scroll, Single Page or facing Two Pages views, and a final option shows or hides the image's or document's background.





















Preview's new toolbar is a reflection of Apple's increasing efforts to simplify the user interface without reducing its feature set. In fact, Preview 6.0 is now far more useful simply because it's easier to navigate the user interface. Features that are present but hidden behind clumsy pulldown menu buttons in today's Lion are now obvious and accessible because they're easy to find.











This iWork-style toolbar direction is a marked contrast from Microsoft's Ribbon user interface, which seeks to display all the buttons and control options a user may ever want to access into the document window.



However, the new Mountain Lion toolbar isn't the only thing that's changed in Preview 6.0. The next segment will highlight what other innovations Mountain Lion makes available to modern apps, using Preview to highlight examples of these changes.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,861member
    Know what we need? Colored button backgrounds.



    Have them styled exactly the way they are now, but instead of the icons being colored, we have beautiful muted colors as the background of the button.



    I'd mock it up, but my Photoshop install refuses to listen to me when I tell it that yes, it can, in fact, run without Adobe Application Whatever Crap installed alongside it.
  • erikvdoerikvdo Posts: 11member
    Just pointing out that the Title of this piece indicates it is about the Menubar, when it is clearly about the Toolbar.



    The article is quite good, as-is, but I was really fascinated by the idea of Apple making significant changes to the venerable Mac OS menubar.
  • deepkiddeepkid Posts: 96member
    thanks for publishing this... it was a nice read. i look forward to more coverage of mountain lion in this fashion.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Know what we need? Colored button backgrounds.



    Have them styled exactly the way they are now, but instead of the icons being colored, we have beautiful muted colors as the background of the button.



    I'd mock it up, but my Photoshop install refuses to listen to me when I tell it that yes, it can, in fact, run without Adobe Application Whatever Crap installed alongside it.



    What version of PS?
  • nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Know what we need? Colored button backgrounds.



    Have them styled exactly the way they are now, but instead of the icons being colored, we have beautiful muted colors as the background of the button.



    I'd mock it up, but my Photoshop install refuses to listen to me when I tell it that yes, it can, in fact, run without Adobe Application Whatever Crap installed alongside it.



    Good idea?and I REALLY want that kind of coloring in the Finder/save-dialog sidebars. Desktop and other common destinations used to be nicely distinct!



    In fact, the way I?d do those: leave the blue folders, and the flat, clean silhouette icons just as they are?but color just the inset ICON part distinctly for each folder. That inset-color effect could look nice in toolbar buttons too. (It could even revert to monochrome for Graphite theme users, I suppose... but please make the Graphite stoplight widgets go to color when moused over!)



    I would weep tears of joy.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by erikvdo View Post


    Just pointing out that the Title of this piece indicates it is about the Menubar, when it is clearly about the Toolbar.



    The article is quite good, as-is, but I was really fascinated by the idea of Apple making significant changes to the venerable Mac OS menubar.



    Yes, toolbar or window title bar.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Preview is starting to turn into a very nice application. I still dislike that it is the default for many file types which I would rather open in CS applications but at least it is quite functional for people who don't have CS.
  • ecsecs Posts: 307member
    I don't understand this article... is it about the menu bar or the toolbar?
  • irelandireland Posts: 16,086member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by erikvdo View Post


    Just pointing out that the Title of this piece indicates it is about the Menubar, when it is clearly about the Toolbar.



    Exactly. And menu bar is two words.



    Article is a mess.
  • ituomasituomas Posts: 35member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ---

    In 2007's OS X 10.5 Leopard, Mail introduced its own, distinctive style of rounded, glossy buttons…

    ---



    Not true. The rounded, glossy buttons were introduced in 2005 with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and its redesigned Mail.



    Take a look: http://media.arstechnica.com/images/tiger/mail-big.jpg
  • brutus009brutus009 Posts: 356member
    Nice; Preview is looking to become quite useful!
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    It looks clearer, a good change.



    However visually I still preferred the days when the title bar was separated from the toolbar by a line. Having them combined makes the tool/title bar too dominant over the content, which is supposed to be central these days. Maybe they are making the controls greyscale to make them overwhelm the content less, but the "weight" of a combined title/toolbar undermines that.
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Preview is starting to turn into a very nice application. I still dislike that it is the default for many file types which I would rather open in CS applications but at least it is quite functional for people who don't have CS.



    Why not just change the default application associated with those file types?
  • macslutmacslut Posts: 514member
    I'd love it if Preview allowed simple crop, resize, and image processing, along with suitable export for web development, so that Photoshop was only needed for the heavy lifting.



    Looks like I'm going to get my wish!
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Why not just change the default application associated with those file types?



    Yeah, I should. I would prefer that documents opened in the application that created it like the old days, but that had its issues as well. I've gotten into the habit of dragging the document to the dock icon of the app I want to use so it isn't that big of deal.
  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: a Preview of how Apple plans to revamp the menubar ...



    An entire article about the revamping of the menubar that doesn't even mention ... the menubar.
  • hexxhexx Posts: 40member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macslut View Post


    I'd love it if Preview allowed simple crop, resize, and image processing, along with suitable export for web development, so that Photoshop was only needed for the heavy lifting.



    Looks like I'm going to get my wish!



    you can already do all this in preview, it's just not so easy to access, crop is cmd k and you can export files and set compression and so on
  • paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,291member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post


    Nice; Preview is looking to become quite useful!



    Preview already is a great app. Use it daily.



    On a different not and I know I'll draw some heat here - I find the 'Inspector' (bad name) in the iWork apps annoying. I am not really a fan of floating pallets. I like them being detachable and placeable by me when I need it but floating by default. The Ribbons in MS apps always get slated for being messy etc, but I find them efficient. The images above don't do them justice because you don't have to work with anything showing by default. To mouse up and click the right ribbon is easier for me than to move the mouse off the document to the right, find the right panel, then click the right ribbon type button to reveal the controls... So, I am just saying... the Apple way is not better imo.
  • slurpyslurpy Posts: 4,615member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macslut View Post


    I'd love it if Preview allowed simple crop, resize, and image processing, along with suitable export for web development, so that Photoshop was only needed for the heavy lifting.



    Looks like I'm going to get my wish!



    You can already do all that stuff. How can you use preview, and not know that?
  • slurpyslurpy Posts: 4,615member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Preview already is a great app. Use it daily.



    On a different not and I know I'll draw some heat here - I find the 'Inspector' (bad name) in the iWork apps annoying. I am not really a fan of floating pallets. I like them being detachable and placeable by me when I need it but floating by default. The Ribbons in MS apps always get slated for being messy etc, but I find them efficient. The images above don't do them justice because you don't have to work with anything showing by default. To mouse up and click the right ribbon is easier for me than to move the mouse off the document to the right, find the right panel, then click the right ribbon type button to reveal the controls... So, I am just saying... the Apple way is not better imo.



    I agree, the inspector is fucking annoying, and awkward to use, forcing you to click a dozen times and jump to so many different sections to make changes. IMO a better implementation would be a vertical sidebar that appear when pressing a button, kind of like the iPhoto edit panel, with everything laid out vertically in sections and viewable at once.
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    I would like to see one of these pieces on how Saving has changed yet again in Mountain Lion.



    Some things are better such as the "Beep! This document is locked" box being gone, but some things are more confusing than before.



    I don't know why they had to introduce Versions to a consumer oriented filesystem. Version control is something that confuses even experienced programmers sometimes.
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