How to Flip an Image on Mac

We use digital images almost constantly in today’s high-tech world. It’s so easy to snap a picture with your phone or take a screenshot on your computer of something that you need to show a colleague or co-worker. But, the original image may not always be ready to use.

Sometimes a picture is taken as a mirror image or for some reason your phone has saved it upside down. Or, there could be other reasons that you want to flip the image to make it look more aesthetically pleasing. If you’re unsure of how to do this, no worries I will show you how.

My name is Eric. I am a software engineer and I love to figure out how things work on different operating systems and computers. It helps me with software design but I also enjoy passing the information on to others so that they may learn as well.

If you want to learn how to flip an image on your Mac and possibly do a few other image orientation adjustments, stick around and I will show you how easy this really is.

Things to Prepare

There’s not a whole lot you will need to have prepared to do this. Just have the image accessible on your Mac and know where it is located. That’s about all you will need. You won’t be using any special software for this, just Mac’s built-in image viewer Preview.

If you have not used Preview, you might be amazed at how powerful it is. You can do quite a bit of image editing and manipulation with this simple tool that comes free with your macOS.

With this tool, you can flip, rotate, resize, annotate and even remove the background. These aren’t the only things you can do. There is so much more and you can see all the features and settings by taking a look at the user guide provided by Apple.

Simple Image Flip

If you just need to flip an image for whatever reason, there’s no need to worry or panic. This is something that Mac’s Preview can easily and quickly do. After all, it was built to do quick straight forward image editing just like this. 

Follow the steps below and you can flip your image in just a matter of seconds.

Step 1: Locate your file. If you don’t have it on the desktop or already in a Finder window. Just start up the Finder app on your Mac and navigate to the location where you have saved the file. If needed you can use the search field to locate it.

Step 2: Right-click on the file name and then select Open With and then Preview.app.

Step 3: Once the image opens in Preview. You will need to decide if you want to flip it horizontally or vertically. Then look at the menu across the top of the screen.

Step 4: Find the Tools menu and click on it.

Step 5: Then select either Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical, whichever you desire.

Step 6: The image will then be flipped and you can save the modified image by going to the File menu and selecting Save.

Simple Image Rotation

More often than not, we find that our images need to be rotated. Photos that we take on our phones are most often candidates for rotation. It seems to always happen to me. No matter how I position my phone to snap the picture, the final image is improperly rotated left or right.

This is another easy one to fix with Preview, and while you can find the rotate action on the menu, there is also a shortcut icon on the top right of the applications since this is used so often.

In fact, rotation is such a common image editing action that it can also be found and done right from your context menu. If you right-click on the image file and then look for Quick Actions, you will see a rotate action there. 

I prefer to use Preview because I can see the image and ensure that it is rotated properly and looks the way I want it to. So let’s go through the simple steps to do this.

Step 1: Right-click on the file name and then select Open With and then Preview.app.

Step 2: Once the image opens in Preview. You will need to decide if you want to rotate the image right or left.

Step 3: Go to the Tools menu and then select Rotate Left or Rotate Right.

If you don’t want to use the Tools menu you can also rotate your image using the Command key. Just press Command+L to rotate left or Command+R to rotate right.

Step 4: Once your image is orientated the way that you want, go to the File menu and select Save to save your changes.

Annotate Your Image

If you would like to add or annotate text, lines, arrows, rectangular boxes, circles, text bubbles, or other things to your image, you can do this with Preview also. There are quite a few things you can add to your image.

Follow the same steps you used above to open your image in Preview. Once opened go to the Tools menu and look for Annotate. You will see a variety of things that you can add to your image.

Just click on any of the items you wish to add to your image and then you can adjust and move the item around to give whatever effect you are looking for. You might want to first play around with these on a test image to learn how to use them.

Keep in mind if you make a mistake or mess something up in your image, you can always use the Undo feature located under the Edit menu to undo any changes you have made.

Once you make the final annotations to your image don’t forget to save your work. Use the same steps I have given above to save your changes.

Other Image Editing Actions

Preview has other image editing actions such as Adjust Color, Adjust Size, Crop, and more. Just take a look at the Tools menu to see what else is available. You can also read Apple’s official user guide for the application to learn about all that it has to offer.

Final Words

If you need to flip an image, rotate an image, or perform any other simple editing, you don’t need to go out and purchase some fancy image editing software. Mac’s Preview application provides many of the tools you need to do basic image editing. 

If you haven’t ever tried it, give it a chance and check it out. I’m sure that you will find it is much more powerful than you originally imagined and best of all it is free!

What kind of image editing are you able to do with Preview? If you are a frequent user of this app and have any special tricks, let us know. We would love to hear from you and learn any tips you might provide.

Leave a Comment