The Preview app has markup / annotate tools like rectangle, oval, line, text, speech bubble, thought bubble. Is there a pen or pencil tool that lets you draw lines in a freehand way?

(I'm using Preview version 7.0 (826.4) in OS X Mavericks 10.9.5)

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  • 1
    Just as a side note: there is a freehand sketch tool under OS X 10.10, though this may not be the prime reason to upgrade for you.
    – Asmus
    Feb 19, 2015 at 19:24
  • An additional (side) note: if you are simply looking for a freehand tool, and don't mind discarding Preview, you might give Skim a try. Skim has an excellent freehand drawing tool.
    – Eric Fail
    Feb 14, 2017 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


Yes, Preview in OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) has a freehand tool. Access it within Preview from the "Markup Toolbar" icon of the .JPG or .PDF file you have open.

OS X Preview tool "markup toolbar" icon

When you click on that icon, the Markup toolbar appears, and the freehand "sketch" tool is the 3rd icon from the left, in blue in the image below.

OS X Preview tool "sketch" tool

and it offers a smoothing option as well as a freehand mode.

  • Thanks @Charles_Lindsay! Alas, I'm still on Mavericks, reluctant to switch to Yosemite, so I don't have the freehand tool. Nice to know it is in Yosemite though. Maybe one of these days I'll take the risk and upgrade to Yosemite. Feb 19, 2015 at 22:48
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    Any way to make Preview suggest replacements but not automatically replace? So to make it keep the originaö drawing? Oct 13, 2016 at 9:48
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    @LinusGeffarth That's the most annoying feature ever. It suggests some shape 90% of the time and every time it does I have to change it back. Not once have I ever wanted it to change the original drawing. It makes annotating PDFs really painful because I have to go and click a button after every stroke. I've searched and searched but haven't found a solution other than using a different program. Apr 12, 2021 at 0:38

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