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Changing the Default "Save As" File Type in Preview

Posted on 2011-04-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
How do I change the default Image File Type in Preview. I'm opening a JPG scan that has multiple images in it, selecting the image with marquee, clicking copy, then new and then saving the resulting file. It always defaults to PNG despite the original being JPG. Is there any way, presumably in Terminal, to change this default? There is nothing in the Preferences for Preview.
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Question by:Will Loving
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Expert Comment

by:makazaru
ID: 35734978
Hi Willmcn

After some research including examination of the binary behind Preview itself - I do not believe there is any way to change this default.
A rather ugly workaround is to take screen-grabs using Shift-Apple-4. This supports changing the output format which can be achieved by running the following in Terminal.
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type image_format
killall SystemUIServer

Open in new window

Be aware that this will not scale resolution correctly - rather you will get exactly what you see on your screen - be sure you have the original file displayed at 100% before taking a grab.

The alternative to all this, is to save the copied portion of the files then write a simple Automator script to change the file type from .png to .jpg. This would be far more effective for large batches.

Regards
Mak
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Author Comment

by:Will Loving
ID: 35737605
Thanks for your suggestion and taking the time to look at the binary. It's too bad Apple doesn't support changing this even in Terminal. You can change the default file format for screen grabs via Terminal or various freebie utilities so it seems odd that Preview doesn't off any kind of change. However, I like you suggestion of doing screen grabs. I'll have to see if these multi-image scans I'm receiving can be displayed at 100% and still be completely visible within the window but it might work.

I'm wondering if there is any image degradation by going to a screen shot rather than saving from the original?
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makazaru earned 2000 total points
ID: 35743467
I'm not an expert on image publishing, however I am led to believe any repeated modification or transposition of jpg format images will lead to eventual image degradation - most designers work from TIFF for this reason.
 It is possible that for speed, storage or ease of use reasons, the screenshot engine significantly compresses the image, which will indeed lead to degradation.
Aside from this important point, I do not see any particular reason why there would be significant resolution degradation caused by taking a screenshot of the 100% display image - 100px in the image (should) = 100px on the screen (should) = 100px in the screenshot.
In terms of resolution, there should be no change, however compression will most likely lead to quality loss.
As I mentioned above, my personal preference for this would be to create an automator action which automatically converts any files dropped into the folder to .jpg - instructions for this can be found here - http://www.nzmac.com/features/how-to/using-automator-to-batch-convert-images.html

Additionally, I made a minor flub in the command to be run above - it should read
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg
killall SystemUIServer

Open in new window

You can replace 'jpg' with 'png', 'tiff', 'bmp', 'gif' - even 'pdf' !

Regards
Mak
Mak.
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by:Will Loving
ID: 35743610
Thanks Mak!
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