Pre-2022 content, Uncategorized

Open files in Quick Look instead of full applications in macOS

    Are you a Mac user? Do you LOVE the Quick Look feature because it’s a lightweight way to open a file without a full application? But maybe you wish that when you double-click a file, it opens in Quick Look instead of in Preview or Microsoft Word or whatever. It’s actually a lot easier to do this than you might think. Then again, it’s not super easy, either.

Set up the App

    You ARE installing an app when you do this. But don’t worry – you don’t need to download a single file for this. Just follow these simple directions to quickly build the app yourself! 

    First, hit ⌘+Space. Now type “Script Editor” into Spotlight and hit Return on your keyboard. You’ve now opened Script Editor, where you’ll be creating this script. 

    Type (or Copy and Paste) the following into the window: 

on run

set this_application_file to the path to me

tell application “System Events”

set this_version to (the short version of this_application_file) as string

end tell

set the dialog_title to application_name & space & “v” & this_version


display dialog “Open a file with this app or drop it onto this Dock icon to show it in Quick Look” buttons {“Cool”} default button 1 with icon 1 with title dialog_title

end run

on open these_items

set these_paths to “”

repeat with i from 1 to the count of these_items

set these_paths to these_paths & space & (the quoted form of the POSIX path of (item i of these_items))

end repeat

do shell script “qlmanage -p ” & these_paths & ” >& /dev/null”

end open

    Now, hit ⌘+S. In the following dialog, make sure everything looks EXACTLY like this: 

    Now click Save to continue. Do you want files to open in Quick Look instead of their default application? Or do you just want a way to show a file in Quick Look as if it’s an app?

    Before continuing, I assume you’ll want to give this app a better looking icon. That’s up to you. If you want to, I’m sure you can figure out how. However, if you can’t, here’s a tutorial on how to change a Mac App’s icon. 

Pin to Dock 

    To pin your app to the Mac’s Dock, open your Mac’s Applications folder. Hit ⌘+F, select “Applications”, and search for “Quick Look”. Find the one you think is right. Drag it onto the Dock. Whenever you want to view a file in Quick Look, you now have the option to drag it onto an icon in your Dock to view it in Quick Look. 

Set default app to Quick Look

    If you want a particular file type to always open in a lightweight Quick Look viewer instead of, say, the full-fledged and unnecessarily weighty Preview application, here’s how. 

    First, find the file type that you’re looking for, in this case JPG Images. Highlight it using your cursor, and then hit ⌘+I. Then, in the Open with section, open the dropdown, the click “Other”. Hit ⌘+F again. Search for “Quick Look”. Click the little applet we made earlier and click “Add”. 

    To set all files of this type to open in Quick Look, just hit the Change All button. And that’s all there is to it!