For some time now I have a problem in Preview. Whenever something on a PDF looks like it could be a text box or field (such as a horizontal line) and I click in the vicinity of it, above or below the line, then Preview creates a textbox (assuming it is a form that I want to fill in). This behavior is certainly pretty new in Preview, although it might have been around for a few OS updates.

I find this behavior rather annoying and would like to be able to turn it off (or at least I'd like to not have it triggered by a single click ... clicking with some control key pressed down might be useful).

Any hints what I might try, or where else I might look for help would be much welcome!

  • 1
    Just wanted to say I'm annoyed by this behavior as well. I haven't managed to find a workaround.
    – bbxdesign
    May 4, 2020 at 13:52

2 Answers 2


Open the Markup toolbar and switch from Text Selection to Rectangular Selection .

It's not possible to set this as the default — this must be changed each time you want to disable this functionality.

  • 1
    Hmm, but that (obviously) disables the possibility to do markup, copy text, etc. I do want to maintain the ability to select text. The problem is that even though Text Selection is chosen, it behaves as if I had selected the Text Box tool in the vicinity of a horizontal line/box.
    – jan
    Mar 14, 2018 at 20:24
  • @jan Yeah that's a feature of the text selection tool and I'm not aware of any way to change that functionality, other than changing tool to something without the automatic text box creation if you don't want that to happen (obviously other than not clicking randomly on your document?)
    – grg
    Mar 14, 2018 at 20:26

I finally solved this problem! At Preview window, goes to 'Tools', then 'Show Inspector' Goes to 'Annotations' (the pen icon at last), you will see whole list of annotations with Rectangles at Type, just select all, press Delete on your keyboard, Voila ~ all boxes gone !

Hope this helps

  • Thank you for your answer, but that's not really what I was asking . . . I'm hoping to prevent the creation of textboxes.
    – jan
    Sep 30, 2020 at 23:54

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