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Feature Friday, February 24, 2012, 11:30 am PT (02:30 pm ET)

Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: a Preview of how Apple plans to revamp the toolbar


Preview's new document relevant toolbar

Rather than presenting a single, configurable toolbar for all documents, the new Preview uses one icon layout for graphics files (with a View pulldown, Zoom, Share Sheets, Crop, Rotate and Edit buttons, as show above) and one for PDF documents (which replaces Crop and Rotate buttons with a Markup tool for underlining, highlighting or striking through text and a search field, shown below).



The new Edit button displays a Format Bar of editing tools (shown below), making it easy to access draw buttons (to add a rectangle, oval, line, arrow, text, thought or speech bubbles); style buttons (for a color picker, line weight, and font panel); selection buttons (for making rectangle, oval, lasso, Smart Lasso or Instant Alpha selections) and controls to display an iPhoto-like Adjust Color panel (second window below) and display the standard Adjust Size sheet (third window below).





The new design indicates a new direction in making the default toolbar relevant and functional so that users don't need to rearrange it just to make it sensible. The View menu, reminiscent of iWork apps, shifts the window appearance to show Content Only, optionally add Thumbnails in a gutter to the left (first window below), alternatively present a textual Table of Contents (for a PDF), list Highlights and Notes (also unique to PDF), or display a Contact Sheet (second image below). The View can also pick between Continuous Scroll, Single Page or facing Two Pages views, and a final option shows or hides the image's or document's background.





Preview's new toolbar is a reflection of Apple's increasing efforts to simplify the user interface without reducing its feature set. In fact, Preview 6.0 is now far more useful simply because it's easier to navigate the user interface. Features that are present but hidden behind clumsy pulldown menu buttons in today's Lion are now obvious and accessible because they're easy to find.

Office 2011 vs iWork 09


This iWork-style toolbar direction is a marked contrast from Microsoft's Ribbon user interface, which seeks to display all the buttons and control options a user may ever want to access into the document window.

However, the new Mountain Lion toolbar isn't the only thing that's changed in Preview 6.0. The next segment will highlight what other innovations Mountain Lion makes available to modern apps, using Preview to highlight examples of these changes.