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Have you used Quicklook?

A person that goes by the handle RG-6 mentioned in the comments of yesterday's post that Quicklook was an amazing feature that a lot of Mac users either don't know about or even use. I had heard about it but I never bothered to try it out. Instead I did what I used to do in Windows if I wanted to see what was in a file - I'd open it in the program that normally works with a file of that type.

This is such a slow process. It's just a PDF file, do I really need to load Acrobat Reader? Do I have to get Excel fired up just to take a quick look at some of the values in a spreadsheet? Quicklook saves all that and is about as easy to use as it get.

All you need to do is open the Finder and select a file, then hit the Space bar. Quicklook loads a preview nearly instantly that shows you the contents of most files. Since I've been moving a lot of files between machines lately this is a great way to look at a file really quickly.

You can even select a group of files (Command-Click) and then hit Space and you will have the option of viewing an index sheet of your files so you can scan through them quickly. It really is a fantastic little feature.

If you haven't used Quicklook yet you should take a quick look at it.

Sorry about that last one, I had to.

15 comments:

VesperDEM said...

Wow, I'm really surprised you hadn't tried out QuickLook. It's got to be "the" foremost feature of Leopard that I can't live without.

Mind you, I have watched all the Steve Jobs Keynotes about Leopard and also the tour that Apple posted on their site about Leopard. So I have seen many demo's of the larger features of Leopard.

Still, there has been so much talk about the top features of Leopard, I am just surprised that there could be some folks that don't know about them.

There are a couple of "tips" sites that I keep up with that help me learn, not only about things like QuickLook, but a bunch of "hidden" features that can be found by holding the Option and/or Command keys down when looking at menu items or just keyboard shortcuts.

http://www.macosxtips.co.uk/
http://www.macosxhints.com/
http://tips4mac.blogspot.com/

Those are just a few of them. They are great for newer Mac users (including myself) for learning about things that I otherwise didn't know about.

For example, did you know that if you hold down the Control and Shift keys while moving your mouse cursor over your Dock, that even though you have Dock magnification turned off, it will be turned on temporarily while Shift and Control are held down? I had no idea about that until I read about it on one of those hints/tips sites.

David Alison said...

@Vesperdem: I actually had been using Quicklook for about a month now but forgot to mention it. What I didn't know what that I could get an index sheet if I selected multiple files. With the new large screen real estate I have on the Mac Pro it's great! As I'm plowing through a bunch of older Word documents moved over from my PC I simply select them as a group and I can see both the thumbnail and open each and scroll through it.

Didn't know about the Ctrl-Shift feature for the Dock. Don't know that I'd use it but it is cool. Heck, this morning I just found out what Option-Shift-K does when you are typing into text! Only appears for Safari users though: 

William said...

Character Pal is a dashboard widget the shows tons of character short cuts, including 

Mike said...

David, it has been fun to read as you discover all the awesome nooks and crannies to OS X and especially Leopard. I made the switch 5 or 6 years ago and really don't think I could go back. Initially I made the switch purely on the beauty of the hardware. Now its much about the operating system. All of these little features, like Quicklook or Spaces or Dashboard, though replicated piecemeal elsewhere, make OS X feel like a finely crafted luxury item. When you use the OS you feel the thought and work that has gone into it and that makes it satisfying to me.

David Alison said...

@Mike: It's been fun writing about it. I've really enjoyed learning all of the cool things I can do with my Macs that I didn't with Windows. I really like that I'm continuing to find cool stuff.

To date though one of my favorite comments was on my post about the Option key functionality. Someone that had been using Macs for 17 years learned something from one of my posts!

Since this is all still new to me I'm spending an inordinate amount of time playing and discovering. After 16+ years of using Windows everything had become... meh. A utility. It has breathed some fresh life into my passion for this stuff.

RG-6 said...

@David - Thanks for the shout out!

After I upgraded to Leopard, I had a now what moment. I checked out Apple's website that lists all 300+ new features and tried out things that sounded interesting / useful. There is a lot of stuff in 10.5.

Speaking of cool new in Leopard things. Have you tried the Screen Saver using Photos and the Mosaic or Collage setting? Cool Stuff!

David Alison said...

@RG-6: I have indeed done that one. You can even have your desktop background use an image and have it change them out every X minutes. I did that but found myself so distracted I couldn't really function too well! Thanks again for the reminder about Quicklook!

Chris S said...

I love quicklook. I use it all the time. Huge time saver. Be aware that you can look at the whole file and not just the front page of something. First time I used it I didn't realize that there was a scroll bar. I use it for just reading a PDF or other document. Good job Apple. Also, quicklook is extensible. There are extensions to quicklook that allow it to open files that it doesn't know about.

David Alison said...

@Chris S: Yep, that's one of the better features of it. I was surprised to find that if I opened an Excel spreadsheet with it I also could navigate through tabs of the different worksheets within the spreadsheet! Such a great "hidden" feature.

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous of you all. It will be a while before I can upgrade to Leopard. That is one feature I will use a lot. It was great playing with it at my local Apple store. I wish I could upgrade now. I'm starting to see a bit of software that is Leopard only. Sleepy

Eric said...

System Prefs > Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver > Pictures Folder > Mosaic options > 100 Rows, Fastest Speed

That must look amazing on a dual screen 8-core Mac!

My 1.5GHz Powerbook can't process that much information :/

devburke said...

I hope you're still talking about Windows when you say you use Acrobat for PDFs! Anything that tells you you need it is wrong, and probably assuming you're on Windows. Preview can load them much, much faster than Acrobat, and as of Leopard is getting pretty powerful. Plus, if you use Safari, it can open PDFs without any kind of plugin or resorting to another program.

As for Quick Look, I haven't done this myself, but there are tons of plugins out there for it, most of them adding functionality for file types that wouldn't already be compatible with Quick Look.

David Alison said...

@Devburke: I use Quicklook and Preview for nearly every PDF, though every once in a while I need to use Acrobat. I've gotten PDFs that contain embedded video that only seem to work in Acrobat. Changing the default PDF viewer was also something I covered a little while back.

silent lurker said...

Here's a use for it that I haven't seen mentioned here yet- quickly scanning folders of image files. I have many thousands of images on my MacBook Pro and importing them all into a viewing and sorting application like Lightroom or even iPhoto would be the effort of days if not weeks. So to quickly preview shots off the digital cameras I use Quicklook, decide on the keepers- or at least which images are worth working with further, then import them into LR to do the generalized fixes, then if I want to publish them to the web, import the fixed images into iPhoto and create a web page from there using iWeb.
Very handy.
Karl C.

David Alison said...

@Karl C: Handy indeed - thanks man!