Inside Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Preview: Office file viewing, new text and signature annotation

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
In Mac OS X Lion, Preview 5.5 gains the ability to view Excel, PowerPoint and Word documents and expands its PDF annotation features.



Mac OS X's Preview app originated as a way to view graphics and PDF documents without needing to install third party Reader software from Adobe. Apple has continuously made minor improvements to the app, and Lion's updates reflects the overall goals of the new operating system.



For example, Preview is now a Full Screen app, and it also drops its nonstandard "bubble" toolbar icons reminiscent of Mail.app to adopt the new squared-off, monochromatic iPad-like buttons of other Lion apps (including the new Mail).







Expanded Previews



A key new feature of Preview is the ability to open and preview Microsoft Office documents, sparing users from having to obtain and install Office or iWork just to play a slideshow or work with spreadsheet. In Lion, Preview is now the default app for presentation and spreadsheet documents until you install something else. Word documents continue to default to open in TextEdit.



The new support for Office documents appears to connected to Quick Look, which already previews Office documents from the Finder. In Preview, documents that can be viewed in Quick Look can be opened in a fixed window, or even Full Screen for quick reference via Mission Control, something the temporary Quick Look window can't do.



Documents opened in Quick Look now sport a button that launches Preview and opens the document for more permanent perusal, changing the app from being just an Adobe Reader substitute into a full fledged, general purpose document viewer.



A new Magnifier tool in Preview works similar the loupe in Aperture, blowing up an area of graphic files for closer examination.







Enhanced PDF annotations



Creating annotations on PDF documents is also significantly expanded in Lion's Preview, with annotation tools now presented in a more sensible (and iPad-like) location below the toolbar, rather than at the bottom of the window. In addition to simple text, colored lines, arrows and rectangles or circle outlines, Preview now supports filled shapes, outlined text, and cartoon-like speech or thought bubbles.







Another new annotation feature is the ability to capture and add a handwritten signature. From preferences, Preview allows users to hold up a handwritten signature that is captured by the system's camera to yield a line art signature that can be digitally added to PDF documents.







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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    dualiedualie Posts: 331member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post






    Another new annotation feature is the ability to capture and add a handwritten signature. From preferences, Preview allows users to hold up a handwritten signature that is captured by the system's camera to yield a line art signature that can be digitally added to PDF documents.





    Technically, a picture is not line art. It is a bitmap image. Line art is vector art using paths with strokes and fills. This is not a trivial distinction in the world of high quality print, though it's probably irrelevant when talking about something that is only viewed on-screen.
  • Reply 2 of 61
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Preview allows users to hold up a handwritten signature that is captured by the system's camera to yield a line art signature that can be digitally added to PDF documents.





    All cool stuff, but for seven bucks, doesn't this signature do the same, but with more features and options?

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  • Reply 3 of 61
    myapplelovemyapplelove Posts: 1,515member
    Quote:

    adopt the new squared-off, monochromatic iPad-like buttons



    sorry guys at apple but this monochromatic hell a la the new itunes you are forcing upon us is SHIT, and it goes against any interface guidelines, including apple's own. Can we please drop this?



    Steve, what the hell is going on with interface design these days? Itunes has become a grey atrocity, including (shoot the guy in the foot who thought of that) itunes preferences for some reason. On the dock the app store is blue, itunes is a similar shade of blue, quicktime is pretty much the same shade of blue, and mail, safari, and finder are essentially blue. Some of the most commonly used apps of the os, are virtually indiscernible, you can only quickly tell settings, ical and address book... and now you guys are making buttons, side bars etc. monochromatic too? Wtf is going on? Is this progress? Greying out, embossing, making monochromatic... what' the upside to this? That they are not distracting? I haven't seen anyone getting distracted by the os's buttons. So what's it for? Change for changes sake? Oh look great now we have these amazing colour accurate displays and we are going to turn everything monochromatic.



    Just because windoze looks like some fisher price shit, doesn't mean you guys have to go the other way, and iron out and obliterate colour coding from the os buttons. Every neuropsychological paper on this is clear that we (and I can quote many) as humans are much faster in telling colours apart than either monochromatic drawings or words. So what exact purpose are you serving here? Making it harder to tell each button apart? Slowing down os usage?



    Good job in making opticians rich... put the horrid glass as standard on the macbooks too so they can become billionaires. Boy would it be great to look on glare-filled screens at embossed monochromatic buttons....



    EPIC fail.



    edit: Dan what's your take on this btw? Do you like this? Do you find it conducive to a better interface?
  • Reply 4 of 61
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    Technically, a picture is not line art. It is a bitmap image. Line art is vector art using paths with strokes and fills. This is not a trivial distinction in the world of high quality print, though it's probably irrelevant when talking about something that is only viewed on-screen.



    The system can?t convert a bitmap image to a vector image so it can scaled more effectively when used? That?s what I thought they were getting it, but I know almost nothing about image tech.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    All cool stuff, but for seven bucks, doesn't this signature do the same, but with more features and options?



    I?ve used that with and without a stylus. The results weren?t much better than using a paint app to do the same thing. This inclusion into Preview lets me use a nicely written signature from a proper writing instrument.
  • Reply 5 of 61
    Not sure if MS Office file conversion/rendering is improved but I just hope some of that love comes over to pages/numbers for iOS and OSX cause currently it is quite bad.



    The only hope outside MS Office itself on OSX is OpenOffice. Perhaps Apple could throw in behind that lot and give it a slick interface... not much chance there I suppose.



    On iOS pickings are even slimmer if you want to make an edit



    (to word/excel files)
  • Reply 6 of 61
    myapplelovemyapplelove Posts: 1,515member
    For the record, from apple's very own human interface guidelines:



    Quote:

    Making each toolbar icon distinct helps the user associate it with its purpose and locate it quickly. Variations in shape, color, and image all help to differentiate one toolbar icon from another.



    So, no variations in color anymore, chucked out of the window...



    and more:

    Quote:

    Designing Icons for Capsule-Style Toolbar Controls

    Icons that look good in capsule-style toolbar controls are simple, colorful images that don’t have lots of detail. As you design an icon for a capsule-style toolbar control, keep the following points in mind:

    (...)

    Consider using bright, clear colors



    So, I guess these guidelines stemming from years of refining the os, were wrong all along, and now color coding is rubbish....



    This is probably the most mind boggling backward step from apple in the os's interface in a long time...
  • Reply 7 of 61
    initiatorinitiator Posts: 104member
    Well said myapplelove. I couldn't agree with you more. I have no idea what is going on with Apple's design team these days, but this mono color scheme has got to go. I hate it!
  • Reply 8 of 61
    I totally agree on the lack of proper use of colours in the GUI. I'm scratching my head on that one.



    Overall, though, I'm liking a lot of the features coming out in Lion.



    As for line art, it was around a LONG time before the digital age and we were deciding whether it was bitmap or vector.



    One colour. No shading. LINES.
  • Reply 9 of 61
    I'm really liking the changes in Lion as well. One change that occurred in SL was in Preview, you could crop a PDF and it would delete the section that I wanted removed. In SL, the section is not deleted, only hidden from view. I don't understand why this is the case. I delete portions of a PDF all of the time and used Preview in Leopard, but in SL they got rid of it and in Lion, it's not back.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,386member
    Even in their color machines, the Next UI was almost monochrome, except for some subtle color here and there. It was praised for its UI. On the other hand, even though I like the color, OS X has been panned because of its heavy use of color. apple has been cutting down on that use with every upgrade.



    Meanwhile, Windows goes the other way, using too much color and flash in its UI.
  • Reply 11 of 61
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,546member
    Great to see Preview develop. I use it every day for scanning, screen grabs, PDF handling Inc annotations. Love it. Not sure about the value of viewing ms office files. Quick View does a great job. Unless Preview will allow you to generate pdf's from office files.
  • Reply 12 of 61
    i switch between Windows XP on my Boot Camp partition and OS X every day.



    Each time I switch back to OS X in the evening I'm actually struck by how monochromatic and washed out it looks. Pale grey against slightly less pale grey. I'm pretty disappointed that Apple appear to be further accentuating this approach in Lion.



    I adore the usability/functionality of OS X but the grey on grey look is starting to lose me.
  • Reply 13 of 61
    I hope Apple adds support for ePub as well. Preview is a great light weight document reader and it's good to see it grow.
  • Reply 14 of 61
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Looks really awesome, once again apple is pushing the envelope and making a "desktop" is sound interesting again.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sachinwalia View Post


    I hope Apple adds support for ePub as well. Preview is a great light weight document reader and it's good to see it grow.



    Totally agree, not being able to read epubs inside iTunes has long struck me as a bit silly, hopefully new preview will be able to take care of that.
  • Reply 15 of 61
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Taste and design change with the times. Nothing stays the same.



    There is a movement in current software design that is about simplicity and minimalism. A belief that the OS and Application should be minimal and give focus to the content being presented.



    "By "chrome" I don't mean Google's browser of that name, but all the pseudo-solid, pseudo-3D visual cruft that infests user interfaces in modern computing."



    ".......chances are your browser program is designed to look like some sort of machine. It will have been crafted to resemble aluminium or translucent plastic of varying textures, with square or round or rhomboid buttons and widgets in delicate pseudo-3D gradients, so they look solid, and animate with a shadowed depth illusion when you click them."



    AGAINST CHROME: A MANIFESTO





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post


    sorry guys at apple but this monochromatic hell a la the new itunes you are forcing upon us is SHIT, and it goes against any interface guidelines, including apple's own. Can we please drop this?



  • Reply 16 of 61
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Photographers, graphic designers, film/video editors appreciate the gray UI. Various colors in the UI contaminate the color of the work you are looking at.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ameldrum1 View Post


    Each time I switch back to OS X in the evening I'm actually struck by how monochromatic and washed out it looks. Pale grey against slightly less pale grey. I'm pretty disappointed that Apple appear to be further accentuating this approach in Lion.



  • Reply 17 of 61
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,551member
    Hope they improved quick looks rendering of office documents as, at the moment, it's a bit shit and barely usable. Ok, it gives you a very rough idea of the files contents but doesn't pickup any styles or correct formatting.
  • Reply 18 of 61
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    Photographers, graphic designers, film/video editors appreciate the gray UI. Various colors in the UI contaminate the color of the work you are looking at.



    Absolutely and I agree because I fit that description to a "T".



    However... considering that Apple has made huge strides and is catering to the "everyday user and consumer", I do think they should "finally" allow a few more choices other than "Aqua or Silver".



    I as well as most "pros" would have no problem with Apple doing the "full-color rainbow pony" as the default install, as long as we're able to turn it all, or some of it, off by choice. Or even "mod" it? Nah... that would be expecting too much from Apple to give us that type of control.



    I'm not complaining, but I do see (pun intended) where many people are coming from, and their complaints in this regard.
  • Reply 19 of 61
    irelandireland Posts: 17,137member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post


    sorry guys at apple but this monochromatic hell a la the new itunes you are forcing upon us is SHIT, and it goes against any interface guidelines, including apple's own. Can we please drop this?



    oh shut up about interface guidelines. Long dead.
  • Reply 20 of 61
    myapplelovemyapplelove Posts: 1,515member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    oh shut up about interface guidelines. Long dead.



    gotta love a man with a good argument, who's also a gentleman in his responses.



    @melgross Windows is a monstrosity of indiscriminate use of color, we agree there. But as you said subtle use is very much desired AND required. If adding a few touches of colour to differentiate toolbar buttons isn't subtle then what is? I am not asking for anything more.



    @tenobell, like I said I am with, and I will gladly abide with the "chrome manifesto", every time I use a windows machine it's as if I am in la la land or some fisher price fantasy and I hate it. But, there's a grand canyon of a difference between that and turning most or all toolbars and sidebars monochrome. Some of you might have better eyesight than us, but I have ended up spending more time actually reading (eg) the sidebar in itunes instead of spending a split second based on a visual cue to make a choice.



    This isn't my impression (or the impression of other users such as myself) it's reality. Do you really believe that content and minimalism are affected based on a few subtle cues on a toolbar or sidebar? Has anyone complained that they find os x's toolbars distracting? Find me one person who has. I am all for change but not to a cost of functionality, and not when it goes against every research that has been done on visual perception and ease of use. I am not pulling this research out of my ass, it's there. It's also like I said verified with usage, I do take more time when there are no color cues whatsoever to hunt down buttons.



    And let me ask you this, the inane choice of blueing out dock icons, is that a matter of taste and change too? Because I would think it's a matter of huge oversight. Here you have the three most used apps mail, safari, and finder all a shade of blue mostly. You have quicktime a deeper shade of blue and itunes completely different. Then what do they do? Enter itunes as blue as quicktime, then enter the app store AGAIN blue, and of course software update is blue too. Now try differentiating these on an 11" air with the icons on the side...good luck with that. And what's worse itunes is circular, as is quicktime, and is itunes... Essentially what I am saying is that apple designers might be great (they are) but they are not immune to mucking it up, as Steve said they are not infallible.



    Well, that's why we are here, to point these out for our benefit, and for apple's benefit, and that's why I urge everyone to leave feedback to apple on these matters. They do read it and they do that it into account. That's why we had matte back to the macbooks, that's why the orientation/mute switch is now an option on the ipad, that's why the air got two usb ports, etc. etc. There are many examples where apple has taken in the feedback from the apple community, as they should have. Cause it's their job to create products we love, and it's ours to pinpoint to them if anything is not as we 'd like it to be IF it goes against some very real, tangible usability need.
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