Recognizing the utility of Markup annotation tools, Apple has extended their availability in recent versions of iOS, but it's worth bearing in mind that you can access a similar and equally useful annotation toolset within several native Mac applications.

In macOS, accessing an application's Markup toolbar lets you draw on and annotate images or PDF documents within the app using arrows, shapes, and text. You can also use it to quickly sign a document with your digital signature.

macos markup tools
We've highlighted which native apps support Markup in this article. But before you can access the toolset in desktop apps, you'll need to check that the relevant extension is enabled on your Mac. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

How to Enable the Markup Extension in macOS

  1. Click the Apple () symbol in your Mac's menu bar and select System Preferences....
    macos extensions

  2. Click the Extensions preference pane.

  3. Click Actions in the left column of the Extension pane.
    macos Markup extension

  4. If it isn't already ticked, click on the box next to the Markup extension in the right column.

macos mail markup
One of the most useful Markup integrations can be found in Mail. Once you've dragged an image into your message, hover your mouse cursor over it, click the arrow button that appears in the upper right corner, and select Markup from the dropdown menu.

macos mail markup 2
Your attached image will be foregrounded with the Markup toolbar across the top, ready for you to apply your annotations.

Markup can be accessed in the same manner within TextEdit as well as some third-party document editors. To test whether it's available, simply hover your cursor over the image once it's inside your document and look for the arrow in the upper right corner.

macos preview markup
In Preview, the Markup toolbar has its own button next to the Search input field on the right of the taskbar. You also get a few extra Markup tools here, like Adjust Color, Adjust Size, and Crop, so if you can't annotate an image within your application of choice then Preview should be your next stop.

macos photos markup
Finally, the Markup toolset is also accessible in Apple's Photos application: Next time you're editing an image, click the Extensions icon (the three dots in a circle) and select Markup to enter annotation mode.

Top Rated Comments

syklee26 Avatar
82 months ago
Apple pencil support (on trackpad) with more expansive markup tools in macos would be awesome.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chucker23n1 Avatar
82 months ago
Having Markup available in many places (such as Mail and Notes) is cool, but in practice I find the annotation tools a bit baffling. Maybe I just need to get used to them. I want a highlight pen like in Windows Snipping Tool.

Is there a third-party extension that does this?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chucker23n1 Avatar
82 months ago
I browse the internet on an iPad docked to a keyboard/case. No reason this can't happen on a Macbook as well.
There are plenty of reasons. There's plenty Apple would need to do to change macOS to make it suitable for touch, such as adding a virtual keyboard, making the controls suitable in size for touch targets, changing the gestures, …. And you'd roughly end up with the touch experience of Windows 7, which wasn't great.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
satchmo Avatar
82 months ago
Apple pencil support (on trackpad) with more expansive markup tools in macos would be awesome.
I'll go further and suggest touch screens on all Apple products.
I don't understand the opposition.

No, you're not going to draw vertically on an iMac or laptop. But there are plenty of times where a quick finger touch to select a button is quicker than a cursor.

Make it optional. If you don't like using touch...guess what...don't touch the screen.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone SE 4 Vertical Camera Feature

iPhone SE 4 Rumored to Use Same Rear Chassis as iPhone 16

Friday July 19, 2024 7:16 am PDT by
Apple will adopt the same rear chassis manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 that it is using for the upcoming standard iPhone 16, claims a new rumor coming out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker "Fixed Focus Digital," the backplate manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 is "exactly the same" as the standard model in Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 lineup, which is expected to...
iPhone 17 Plus Feature

iPhone 17 Lineup Specs Detail Display Upgrade and New High-End Model

Monday July 22, 2024 4:33 am PDT by
Key details about the overall specifications of the iPhone 17 lineup have been shared by the leaker known as "Ice Universe," clarifying several important aspects of next year's devices. Reports in recent months have converged in agreement that Apple will discontinue the "Plus" iPhone model in 2025 while introducing an all-new iPhone 17 "Slim" model as an even more high-end option sitting...
iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
Apple TV Plus Feature 2 Magenta and Blue

Apple TV+ Curbs Costs After Expensive Projects Fail to Capture Viewers

Monday July 22, 2024 5:11 am PDT by
Apple is scaling back its Hollywood spending after investing over $20 billion in original programming with limited success, Bloomberg reports. This shift comes after the streaming service, which launched in 2019, struggled to capture a significant share of the market, accounting for only 0.2% of TV viewership in the U.S., compared to Netflix's 8%. Despite heavy investment, critical acclaim,...
bsod

Microsoft Blames European Commission for Major Worldwide Outage

Monday July 22, 2024 11:55 am PDT by
Last Friday, a major CrowdStrike outage impacted PCs running Microsoft Windows, causing worldwide issues affecting airlines, retailers, banks, hospitals, rail networks, and more. Computers were stuck in continuous recovery loops, rendering them unusable. The failure was caused by an update to the CrowdStrike Falcon antivirus software that auto-installed on Windows 10 PCs, but Mac and Linux...