6 Great ‘Quick Look’ Features You Probably Don’t Use (Mac)
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00 quicklookApple introduced a nice feature called Quick Look in Leopard. With just a hit on the spacebar (or the combination of Command + Y), users could ‘peek’ into the selected file in the Finder (or some other application).

Instead of opening each file with their own respective application, this feature is really a great time saver for those who just want to have – well – a quick look.

But defining this feature as merely ‘peeking’ is an understatement of its ability. Quick Look for Mac is able to display a wide range of file formats, from simple text to keynote presentations to movies; and is also accessible from within many native Mac OS X applications like Mail, Time Machine, and Trash(!).

Beyond the spacebar

There are a few ‘unused by most’ nifty things that you can do by utilizing Quick Look abilities, such as:

1. View Before Restore/Delete

As mentioned above, you can use Quick Look inside the Trash and Time Machine. I find this ability most useful when I about to bring some files back from the (near) dead. Without Quick Look on your Mac, there’s no way to know the content of the file that you want to restore (or in some case, to completely delete).

01 View Trash

2. View Pictures As Slideshow

If you select several pictures in the finder instead of one and hit the spacebar, you’ll have the additional option at the Quick Look pane to view the items as a slideshow. But you can jump directly into the full-screen slideshow by using the key combination of Command + Option + Y.

02 View Slideshow

3. Using Index Sheet To View Multiple Images

Still on the subject of selecting multiple images and using Quick Look to view them, you could also view all the images in one sheet by clicking the Index Sheet button.

03a Index Sheet

03b Index Sheet 2

4. Quick Zoom

You can zoom the image viewed by Quick Look by clicking the image while holding the Option key (to zoom in) or Option + Shift key (to zoom out).

5. Navigate Between Files

This one should be obvious but it’s possible that some of the users miss it – like I did. When you open a file with Quick Look in Finder, you can move between files by using the Up and Down arrow key.

6. Overcoming The Filetype Limitation

As powerful as it is, there are still many file formats unsupported to be looked quickly. For example, Quick Look cannot play flash movies or show you the content of a folder. User will only get an icon with some information about that file/folder.

04 Quick Look folder

But users can overcome some of these filetype limitations by adding Quick Look Mac plugins. There are lots of options that you can find in the QLPlugins page from plugins for viewing Mobipocket eBooks files to Adobe Illustrator files. The ones that I find most useful are: Zip File Viewer, Folder Viewer, Flash Video Viewer and QuickChm. Different users will find different plugins to fit their individual needs.

Here are the steps to activate the plugins:

  • first, download and uncompress the plugin files.
  • then put the “.qlgenerator” files inside the ~/Library/QuickLook folder
  • restart the Finder by executing this command line using Terminal: killall Finder

05 QuickLook Folder

Similarly, you can uninstall any Quick Look plugin by deleting the files inside the QuickLook folder and restarting the Finder.

Here’s the display of the Quick Look view of a folder after installing the Folder Viewer plugin:

06 Quick Look Folder View

Do you have other Quick Look Mac tips and tricks? Please share them using the comments below.

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  1. IHF
    September 23, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Macs are good, but Windows still has more features than Macs. Also, most people start with Windows.

  2. Alex
    September 14, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    These Quick Look pluggins were working great in Leopard but not working anymore (at all) under the new Snow Leopard. Can anyone help? I really LOVED these!

  3. Nipun
    August 21, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Gaawdd is grreeatt ..

    Mac's Better !

  4. www.stage-drama.com
    August 14, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Mac is Great .....

  5. Waseem
    August 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Apple always surprise us .