Quick Look in Leopard
Mac Tip #314/07-Nov-2007
Mac OS X 10.5, Leopard, is working beautifully on my two main Macs. There are hundreds of new features, small and large, throughout, so I’m still discovering some of them.
My favourites so far are Spaces, which gives you separate work areas on screen, the updated Finder, the translucent Menu Bar, and Quick Look, that lets you quickly see what’s in a file.
Enter Quick Look
To use Quick Look, first select a file in the Finder. Then do one of the following:
- press the Space Bar
- control click and choose the Quick Look item from the contextual menu that appears
- click the Quick look button on the Finder Toolbar
- choose the Quick Look item from the File menu.
I like the Space Bar method myself.
The powerful Quick Look window
Now comes the cool part: a special semi-transparent window appears that allows you to view and scroll through the contents of that file, whether it’s a PDF, a text file, a Word document, an Excel file, a PowerPoint presentation — even if you don’t have Microsoft Office installed.
If it’s a movie or sound file then you can watch or listen in the Quick Look window. It works for image files and font files too, as well as files in Apple’s Pages or Numbers formats.
The thumbnails here show a Quick Look at a movie file, a Microsoft Word document and a font.
Quick Look window controls
The translucent Quick Look window can be resized: use the drag handle in the bottom right corner.
Or make the window fullscreen by clicking the double arrow at bottom centre of the window. Then use the controls at the bottom part of the window to exit fullscreen, pause the playback of a sound or movie or to close the window.
If you play a movie or sound a control bar appears at the bottom of the window, while a timer is displayed at the right hand end. Click on that timer to switch between elapsed and remaining playback time. Drag the playhead (the dot in the control bar) to ‘scrub’ through the track.
For an image, the Quick Look window includes an Add to iPhoto icon. Click that and the photo is added to iPhoto.
While the Quick Look window is displayed: if you press the up or down arrow then the Finder selection moves through the list of available files.
To close the window either press the Space Bar again, or click the Close Box at top left of the window.
Command and arrow keys
Whether or not the Quick Look window is open, but with a file selected, hold down the Command key while pressing the up arrow and the selection moves to the parent folder of the file. Press Command down arrow and one of two things happens: if the selection’s a folder, it opens.
If the selection’s a file then it opens into an appropriate application, such as Preview for an image or iTunes for a music track.
Quick Look elsewhere
Quick look is not restricted just to the Finder. It pops up in Mail.app if there’s an attachment to the message. Watch for it in other places too.
Note: in writing this Tip and making the screenshots I kept discovering more and more features. I suspect Quick look is even more powerful and useful than it first seems.