Mac: Quick Look is one of OS X's best features. Just highlight a file and press the space bar, and you can see a preview of the file. It works best with video and music, but some documents are out in the cold, folders and archives just don't work well, and other file types just don't display properly. With these handy plugins for your Mac, you can use Quick Look on just about any type of file you may want to preview before you open the application required to work with it.
Quick Look is great, but with these plug-ins and tweaks, you can make it much better. Regardless of the type of file, folder or archive you want to open, there's a plug-in or a Terminal command that gets the job done. Here's a list:
- Archives: The Betterz Quick Look Plugin supports users running Lion, and Leopard/Snow Leopard users can use the original Archive.qlgenerator Plugin (Japanese, translated to English) to view the contents of ZIP, RAR and 7z archives before extracting them.
- Folders: The Folder.qlgenerator Plugin works like a dream to show you folder contents on systems running Leopard and Snow Leopard.
- String Files: Thong is a Lion-compatible plugin that allows you to use Quick Look to browse your string files just by pressing the spacebar.
- Code: qlcolorcode may only officially support Leopard and Snow Leopard, but it does a great job of letting you sift through code without opening your text or code editor of choice. If you need an alternative, enscript gets the job done as well and supports additional scripting languages. If <a href="http://macromates.com/"TextMate is your preferred code editor, TextMate in Quick Look is a plugin that uses TextMate's color-coding in Quick Look.
- AppleScripts: ScriptQL allows you to view AppleScript files from the finder without opening them first.
- CSV Files: The quicklook-csv plugin arranges your CSV spreadsheets so they're readable and scrollable in Quick Look.
- Packages and Installers: Suspicious Package, aptly named, lets you check the contents of any package file or installer application before running it to make sure it is what you think it is.
- Animated GIFs: As its name implies, the Animated GIF Quick Look plugin saves you from opening a browser or a media player to see that GIF you downloaded in action ever again.
Whether you live at the command line or you just want a way to beef up Quick Look's features without installing a plugin, these terminal tweaks can help:
- This previously mentioned Terminal trick allows you to view any file in Quick Look right from the terminal — useful for people who live at the command line.
- Viewing a file in Quick Look is great, but if you want to copy text with it, you don't have to open its parent application. terminal command enables x-ray view on your folders, so even if you don't want to install a plugin like folder.qlgenerator, your Leopard or Snow Leopard mac can still see a view of the files inside a folder when you use Quick Look.
Hacks and Tips
Here are a few Quick Look tips that you may not be familiar with:
- If you do have to open the file you're viewing in its parent application, but wish you had more control over which one, this is how you do it.
- You can open a file in Quick Look in full-screen by holding the Option key before pressing space, or by pressing Cmd+Opt+Y (in case you have Opt+Space tied to an app launcher like Alfred.) It's perfect for reading PDFs or other documents without distractions.
You can preview fonts with Quick Look and leverage CoverFlow to flip through files, folders and documents easily.
- If you have Perian installed to add .mkv support to Quicktime, you can leverage Perian in Quick Look with this quick hack.
These are just a few ways to beef up Quick Look so it's even more useful. Do you have a favourite Quick Look plugin, trick, or hack that we missed? Share it in the comments below.