How to Batch Convert Images Using macOS Preview

by

Preview appThere are many third-party apps available for Mac that will batch convert images for you (Permute is one example). And then there's Preview, the powerful file viewer that's built into macOS.

Preview will happily convert several images for you in one go. If you have lots of photos on your Mac in Apple's HEIC format, for instance, you can use Preview to quickly convert them to the more accessible JPEG format.

In fact, what's not obvious to many users is that Preview is capable of converting files in 18 different image formats, including the following:

  • GIF
  • HEIC
  • ICNS
  • JPEG
  • JEPG-2000
  • KTX
  • Microsoft BMP
  • Microsoft Icon
  • OpenEXR
  • PBM/PGM/PPM
  • PDF
  • PNG
  • PVRTC
  • Photoshop
  • PostScript
  • QuickTime Movie
  • TGA
  • TIFF

The secret to accessing all of the available format export options in Preview is with the Option (⌥) key. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

How to Batch Convert Images in Preview

  1. In a Finder window, hold down the Command (⌘) key and individually click all the images you want to convert; if they're grouped together consecutively, hold down Shift and click the first and then the last file, and all of them will be selected.
    how to batch convert images in preview03

  2. Double-click one of the selected images to open them all in Preview. If Preview isn't your default image viewer, right-click (Ctrl-click) instead and choose Open With -> Preview from the dropdown menu.
  3. Click inside the Preview sidebar. (if it's not showing, click the View Menu button and select Thumbnails.) Alternatively, if you're using the Contact Sheet view, drag a box over all the images to select them.
    batch convert images in Preview

  4. Select Edit -> Select All from the Preview menu bar, or use the Command-A keyboard shortcut to select all the open images.
    how to batch convert images in preview 03

  5. Select File -> Export Selected Images... from the menu bar.
    how to batch convert images in preview02

  6. Choose a location to export your converted images.
    how to batch convert images in preview 08

  7. Click the Options button in the Export window.
    how to batch convert images in preview04

  8. Drag the Quality slider to the desired level (keep an eye on the file size).
  9. Select an image type from the Format dropdown. Pro tip: Hold down the Option (⌥) key when you click the Format button to reveal several more image formats available to you.
    how to batch convert images in preview05

  10. Click Choose.

A progress indicator bar will replace Preview's Export window. Once it has completed you'll find your exported images in the chosen location and format, ready for use in your projects.

Note that you can also batch resize images using the method outlined above. After Step 4, select Tools -> Adjust Size... from the menu bar, input the resolution you want all the selected images to take, and click Resize. Note: You may need to select all the images again for export.

Tag: Preview

Top Rated Comments

fairuz Avatar
29 months ago
Preview is one of those secretly really powerful Mac apps for which there's no good replacement elsewhere. At least not that I've seen.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
29 months ago

These How-To articles are the best of MacRumors.

Agreed. I would totally visit a MacRumors spinoff site... MacHints (or maybe something catchier?)

[USER=3]@MacRumors[/USER]: could you guys at least tag these all with "Hints" or something?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Solomani Avatar
29 months ago
These How-To articles are the best of MacRumors.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AlumaMac Avatar
29 months ago

If anyone can tell me how to access all of Preview's format conversion options in Automator, I'd be very grateful.

Looks like Automator hasn't been updated and I doubt it will. You could add a terminal command to your Automator Workflow that runs the 'sips' command to do additional filetype conversions. (i.e. sips -s format jpeg filename.gif --out newfilename.jpg)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
outskirtsofinfinity Avatar
29 months ago
How do you know which buttons have "hidden" features that are revealed using the Option button? Is there a GUI style convention (say, the way the button is shaded when you hover over it, or something?) that suggests that more hidden options are available? Or is it just impossible to tell and you have to try the Option button everywhere you go to try to reveal hidden treasure... i.e., is it considered more of an "easter egg" kind of thing to delight the ones that stumble across these treasures and allow them to write a 'macOS Secrets revealed' kind of book or article? It just seems so stupid... it's something I'd expect from some hopeless nerd Android programmer (or the self indulgent programmers of the Tesla user interface), not from Apple. E.g., how's my mother in law supposed to figure it out?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Undecided Avatar
29 months ago
Is there a way to do file conversions like this that preserves the meta data (original image date, etc.)?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
pat gelsinger intel

Incoming Intel CEO Derides Company's Inability to 'Deliver Better Products' Than Apple's M1 Chip

Friday January 15, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Incoming Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has said that the company must "deliver better products" than Apple, which he described as a "lifestyle company," and says that Intel's best days are "in front of it" (via The Oregonian). Speaking at an Intel all-hands meeting yesterday, Gelsinger derisively implied that Apple is merely a "lifestyle company," so Intel must be able to surpass its technology: ...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...