As the title says: is there a way to permanently show the markup toolbar in Preview?

(working on OSX 10.10.1 Yosemite)

  • 2
    Still no answers! Pretty sure it remembered your last setting before the upgrade to Yosemite ... annoying if you regularly use the markup toolbar – tdc Sep 7 '15 at 16:04
  • This question is almost 5 yrs old. Is there maybe now an option available in 10.15 Catalina? – greenforest Aug 25 '20 at 9:45

In addition to the already mentioned Shortcut ++A Preview in El Capitan (and Yosemite I guess) features a toolbar icon that allows to open the markup toolbar with a single click instead of clicking through the View menu:

Markup Toolbar Icon

To make the Toolbar visible, go to View > Show Toolbar in the menu. (Thanks to Rachel for this aditional hint!)

  • 1
    To elaborate on Wedi's comment, you need to go to View> Show Toolbar. Then you will have access to the toolbox icon on the top to easily access the markup toolbar each and every time you exit and open a preview window. – Rachel Mar 2 '17 at 16:27
  • On High Sierra the icon looks like this – KostasX Feb 16 '18 at 12:21

No, the toolbar seems to reset every time a new image is opened.

However you can use the shortcut ++A to toggle the option to show/hide it.


Similar to what Al said

Go to View -> Customize Toolbar

Drag the markup tool up into your toolbar for it to always be available (in one click).

  • Thank you, that's a really useful suggestion. You can also get rid of the "highlight" button which I mistake for being useful almost every time. Brilliant. – yeliabsalohcin Dec 8 '20 at 16:03

I use keyboard maestro to effectively "pin" the menu to show. I just setup a rule so when the window title changes in preview it selects "show markup toolbar" if the menu option is available. Technically it is clicking the menu, but it happens so fast it just looks like it's always on.


  • How do I set this up? I have a macro which runs when Preview "Opens" as an Application trigger, but then don't know how to set a trigger for when the window title changes and also don't know how to do a menu clicking action based upon a trigger. – Dhruv Ghulati Dec 31 '17 at 15:51

I found out! Just press cmd+ many times (zoom in), then press cmd- as often and it should appear again. I found this out by accident!

Hope this helps


I know this thread is quite old, but here's something I put together using Automator and Applescript...One caveat, I had to allow both Script Editor and Finder access in the Settings > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility.

  • In Automator > Create a new Quick Action, I named mine Open-Preview
  • Click Utilities
  • Click and Drag Run Shell Script into the Automator
  • Click and Drag Run Applescript into the Automator
  • Make sure the Applescript is the second task and not the first.
  • In the Shell script, Check and/or set Pass input: as arguments.
  • Add the following code to the Shell script Task
    open -a Preview "$*"
  • In the Applescript, paste the following code block :
on run {input, parameters}
    if application "Preview" is running then
        tell application "System Events"
            tell process "Preview"
                tell menu bar 1
                    tell menu bar item "View"
                        tell menu "View"
                            get properties
                            click menu item "Show Markup Toolbar"
                        end tell
                    end tell
                end tell
            end tell
        end tell
    end if
end run
  • Save the file.
  • Now right-click on an Image file and select Open-Preview.
  • Preview will open and then the Markup Toolbar will show.

This works on my Mac OS Catalina, 10.15.7. I only have 1 Macbook, so I can't test this with other versions.

Hope this helps, Adym

  • Aside from the fact as written there are some important steps missing, there is also coding issues. When one selects Pass input: [as arguments] where is one supposed to put open -a Preview "$*" in relation to the default code inserted by selecting [as arguments]? The Run Shell Script action fails because it doesn't process open -a Preview "$*" properly as "$*"' should be "$@", however, a Run Shell Script action isn't even necessary because the Run AppleScript action can handle all that's necessary. See this code example. – user3439894 Mar 28 at 23:11
  • There also is no need for get properties in the AppleScript code. Feel free to use my example AppleScript code when editing in the important missing steps. – user3439894 Mar 28 at 23:17
  • The code example link in my first comment expired. Here's a new one: code example – user3439894 Mar 30 at 2:20

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