Quick Look

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Quick Look
Quick Look from 10.8.
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Initial release October 26, 2007
(Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard")
Operating system Mac OS X
License Proprietary
Website Quick Look

Quick Look is a quick preview feature developed by Apple Inc. which was introduced in their operating system, Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard". It was announced and demonstrated at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2007.

While OS X's Finder has always had icon previews, Quick Look allows users to look at the contents of a file in the Finder at full or near-full size, depending on the size of the document relative to the desktop. It can view files such as PDFs, HTML, QuickTime readable media, plain text and RTF text documents, Apple Keynote, Pages and Numbers, ODF documents, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files (including OOXML), RAW camera images.

Quick Look can also be opened in full screen and launched from the command line. Additionally, multi-page documents like PowerPoint slide shows can be navigated using the arrow keys.

Quick Look technology is implemented throughout the Apple suite of software starting with Mac OS X v10.5, including iChat Theater, Time Machine and the Cover Flow view on the Finder.

Quick Look is available to developers via the Quick Look framework on iOS[1] and as part of the Quartz framework on the Mac.[2]

Supported file types by default[edit]

Since its debut, Quick Look has included a number of generators for common file types.

Format Version introduced Notes
AAC 10.5 Cover art in icon view and can play back audio in full preview.
Adobe PhotoShop 10.5
AIFF 10.5
Apple Icon Image format 10.5
AVI 10.5
BMP 10.5
GIF 10.5 Did not animate animated GIFS[3] without additional plugins[4] until MacOS 10.7.[5]
HTML 10.5 Does not load remote resources or execute scripts.
iChat transcripts 10.5
JPEG 10.5
JPEG 2000 10.5
Microsoft Excel 10.5
Microsoft PowerPoint 10.5
Microsoft Word 10.5
MIDI 10.5
MP3 10.5 Cover art in icon view and can play back audio in full preview.
MPEG4 10.5
PDF 10.5
PictureClipping 10.6
PICT 10.5
PNG 10.5
QuickTime movie 10.5 Additional stream formats require the appropriate QuickTime extension to be installed.
RTF 10.5
SVG 10.6
TEXT 10.5
TextClipping 10.6
TIFF 10.5
WAV 10.5


Plug-ins can be added to Quick Look to allow previewing the content of other file formats. Plug-ins can also be used to add additional functionality to Quick Look such as syntax highlighting for source code files.[6]

To add a plug-in to Quick Look it needs to be placed in the folder /Library/QuickLook/. To activate that plug-in, either the computer needs to be restarted or Quick Look needs to be reset with the command

qlmanage -r


There are multiple ways to invoke Quick Look.

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • Cmd-Y
  • space

Command line:[7]

qlmanage -p file


  • File – Quick Look file name
  • Context menu (right-click or Control-mouse click), then Quick Look file name

See also[edit]


External links[edit]