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There's more to Quick Look in OS X than you might think

Open a Finder window to view your documents, images and other files and some you may recognise, but others you won't. Using descriptive filenames for everything is a big help, but not everything has one and sometimes there are obscure filenames that mean very little. It may be because you forgot to name a file properly, you got the file from someone else who didn't give it a descriptive name, maybe you just ran out of ideas, or perhaps the description meant something at the time, but you have now forgotten.

For various reasons there are files that make you wonder what they contain. If you are looking for a file one of the most useful features of OS X on the Mac is Quick Look. You may have used it to view photos and other images, but it does more than you might think.

Right click a file in a Finder window and choose Quick Look from the menu, select Quick Look from the File menu, or simply press Command+Y or the spacebar. It's useful to learn the keyboard shortcuts. You may not have realised that multiple files can be selected and then viewed in Quick Look, which makes it easy to see what a collection of files are. You do this by clicking the first file you want to view in Finder's list view and then Shift+clicking the last. You can also Command+click individual files to select them before hitting Command+Y or space to Quick Look them. This is useful if the group of files you want to view aren't next to each other in the Finder window.

There are some obvious controls at the bottom of the Quick Look window and you can display the next or previous file, play a slide show of images, add a photo to iPhoto and so on. There is a less obvious function of Quick Look though.

Suppose you are looking for a particular document and there are several in the Finder window that might be the one that you want, but you can't tell from the filename. All you need to do is to select the documents in the Finder window and press Command+Y to Quick Look them. Quick Look can display many different file types, including doc, txt, Pages and Numbers documents, PDFs and so on. It's not just for images, so try it on a range of file types.

After selecting a number of files and invoking Quick View, you can either go through each of them one at a time or you can click the Index Sheet icon at the bottom of the Quick Look window. When you find the document you want, just double click it in the Quick Look window. The app that the document is associated with, such as TextEdit, Pages, Numbers and so on, will open and automatically load the document ready for editing. It's really useful being able to launch an application from Quick Look.

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