Getting the Most Out of Leopard’s Quick Look Feature

I imagine most people using OS 10.5 have become acquainted with Quick Look, which is one of my favorite Leopard features. Quick Look’s basic function, as its name suggests, is as a quick and convenient way to take a peek at what’s in a file without actually opening the file, switching Finder views or opening the file’s corresponding application.

A quick recap for folks who may have gotten their first Mac for Christmas or recently upgraded to Leopard and not yet discovered Quick Look, just highlight the desired file’s icon in the Finder and press the Spacebar.

If the file is a text document, you’ll see a preview something like this. If it’s not big enough, click an arrow button at the bottom of the Quick Look window and it will zoom to full screen display.

If it’s an image file, the preview will appear like this with another icon beside the full screen zoom toggle icon that you can click if you want to add the picture to your iPhoto photo collection. Quick Look can preview all popular graphics formats such as JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, Camera RAW, and Photoshop, as well as PDF.

Speaking of PDFs, Quick Look can not only open PDF images, but also is able to scroll through multipage PDF documents right in the QL preview window, which is draggable and resizable.

Quick Look can also preview movie and audio files, which are playable in the preview window, which includes a navigation slider. As with graphics, most popular file formats are supported, including MP3, MIDI, AIFF, AAC, and MPEG4.

Document files of Apple’s iLife apps are supported by Quick Look. Some third-party productivity application formats may not be, but certain widely-used ones like Microsoft Office documents are. Quick Look also previews HTML documents.

Folders opened in Quick Look appear like this, with contents data shown.

There’s more. How cool is this? Open a font file in Quick Look and the preview displays a preview of the typeface.

Finally, if you highlight and open a group of documents simultaneously in Quick Look, more viewing options are offered, including a nifty built-in full-screen slideshow in which images change at about three-second intervals. The Quick Look slideshow feature works with any type of file QL supports — not just images.

There is also an index view that displays thumbnail previews of all items in a folder.

Do you find yourself using Quick Look often? What items do you tend to preview most?

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