As many people know I use Mac OS X for my main personal computing operating system, and I’ve been a Apple-head for many, many years. In fact it was OS X that brought me back to the Apple fold after a long hiatus. Over the years most other operating systems, in particular Windows, have learned and copied, and at times improved upon what OS X has done well. With one notable exception… Preview.
One of the gems of OS X is that it has PDF capabilities built into the operating system right from the base. Every print dialog box also has a little “Save as PDF” button you can push to create PDF’s instantly. Additionally, there is the Preview app which contains simple and basic viewing and editing capabilities of both PDF’s and images. It’s the fact that this app contains the ability to work with both types of documents (images and PDFs) that make it so incredibly powerful. After all, PDF’s have become a ubiquitous format for sharing documents online.
Because Preview can work with both, it can also convert between many different formats seamlessly. This means that if you have a PNG or JPG, you can convert it to a PDF with ease. I’ve used this little piece of functionality so many times I can’t even count. Because most websites that require you to submit documents support PDFs it makes it super easy to create the format that you need when you need it. Additionally, Preview allows you to combine PDFs and delete pages from them so you can get just the document you want.
Of all the features that Windows could have copied, it baffles my mind that this functionality hasn’t made it over the wall. It’s been so useful when dealing with online services that I’m shocked and frustrated that the best that Windows can offer is a list of random programs, from third parties, that may or may not provide some part of the functionality that Preview offers.
As much as I’m intrigued by the new Microsoft, and Windows 10, I still wonder when they’re going to get it together and make this piece of functionality as easy as it is on Mac.