How to enable text selection in OS X Quick Look

You don’t have to open a document to copy its contents anymore.

Find a document in the Finder you want to open and press the space bar. The document doesn’t open, but you are allowed to look inside. That’s OS X’s Quick Look feature. It’s been around for years — ever since Apple released OS X 10.5 “Leopard” in 2007. Quick Look lets you look but not touch: You can see the contents of a file, but you can’t select its text. Up to now, you’ve had to open the document in an application to get at its contents. That’s something you can fix with a quick visit to our good friend the Terminal application.

For many of us, opening an application to get inside a document isn’t that big of a deal. But it can slow you down, and if you just need to copy a sentence or a paragraph from a document with text in it, this tip can come in handy.

Obviously this tip is only applicable to files with text content, as opposed to image files, MP3s and other non-text file types that work with Quick Look.

How to enable Quick Look text selection

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Type defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool TRUE and press return.
  3. Type killall Finder and press return. (You can copy and paste each of these lines of text into Terminal if you’d prefer.)

  4. Close Terminal

Et voilà, when you peek inside of a document with Quick Look, you’ll now be able to select and copy the text without having to open the document in another application first.

Source: iMore

About Bhavesh Rabari

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