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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview Apps
A few days ago, someone posted a hint on how to change the font in text annotation boxes in Adobe Acrobat. As a heavy user of annotations in Preview, I have always been annoyed at the huge, impractical and unchangeable font used for annotations in that program. The Acrobat hint got me motivated to see if there was a way to make the Preview annotation text more reasonable.

After much digging about, I realized that the annotation text in Preview is apparently hardcoded to use the system font of Lucida Grande 13 pt. On a hunch, I opened up TinkerTool and set the System Font to Lucida Grande 9 pt. To my pleasant surprise, Preview recognized the change.

There are two caveats to this. First, other apps that use the System font may also display in the smaller point size (the Finder doesn't). Secondly, if you change the font to something other than Lucida Grande, Preview and some other apps will still use Lucida Grande, but will use the kerning and spacing for the other fonts causing clipping in your dialog boxes and sheets.

You can also use the Silk haxie from Unsanity to set a theme font for Preview. Your annotations will use that font, and that setting will be preserved when you save the document.
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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview | 9 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview
Authored by: mantrid on Mar 07, '07 09:22:58AM
Since the caveats both deal with the effect of this hint on other apps, why not set the size just for Preview?
defaults write com.apple.preview NSSystemFontSize -int 9

Using defaults also avoids the need for 3rd party apps to change the setting.

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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview
Authored by: frgough on Mar 07, '07 11:36:29AM

Um, because I'm not a UNIX geek and so didn't know how to do that?



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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview
Authored by: billclinton on Mar 07, '07 01:24:40PM

You can edit property lists using Property List Editor in your Utilities folder. Frankly, it annoys me when people suggest the defaults command without also mentioning Property List Editor. They're just showing off.



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Property List Editor isn't in the default install, is it?
Authored by: SuperCrisp on Mar 07, '07 02:38:12PM

I'm pretty sure you have to install the dev tools to get Property List Editor.



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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview
Authored by: gerbouille on Mar 07, '07 03:28:52PM

Since the caveats both deal with the effect of this hint on other apps, why not set the size just for Preview?
defaults write com.apple.preview NSSystemFontSize -int 9
Actually, it's com.apple.Preview with a capital "P". My filesytem is formatted with case-sensitive HFS+ (not the default).



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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview
Authored by: fud on Mar 07, '07 12:02:58PM

On a somewhat related issue. Does anybody know how to change the Highlight Color when searching pdf's in Preview? On my system it's grey, which I find hard to see. My Highlight Color in System Preferences is set for Yellow which works when dragging text in Preview, but doesn't work for Searching.



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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview
Authored by: moxieboy on Mar 16, '07 11:14:09AM

The highlight color picks up the system default color; however, because the search drawer steals focus, you have to hit Tab to give the document window focus (and the highlight colors it deserves). I haven't seen a way to modify the background highlight color.



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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview
Authored by: fud on Mar 19, '07 09:48:49AM

Thanks! I never noticed this.



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10.4: Change annotation text size in Preview
Authored by: billclinton on Mar 07, '07 01:27:54PM

As usual, use Silk, as well as the other Unsanity hacks, at your own risk. They write into the application's memory space by using the debugger API, a nasty hack. Since the app doesn't know that its memory has been changed, instability arises. Apparently it's less of a problem if you don't keep apps open for long periods of time.



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