How To Cut Or Copy Text In Quick Look [OS X Tips]

text selection

Quick Look is a fantastic bit of tech, letting you view any file up close and personal with a quick tap on the Spacebar. It works in the Finder, in Open and Save dialogs, and across a ton of other apps like iPhoto.

It’s basically the best new thing ever.

There are times, though, that I forget I’m previewing a file with Quick Look and I head up to the text in a document to copy and paste it elsewhere, only to be rebuffed. You just can’t do this.

Unless, of course, you enable this feature using Terminal.

Quick Look TextLaunch Terminal on your Mac, and then type or paste in the following command:

defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool true

Then restart the Finder with the following command:

killall Finder

Once the Finder restarts, you’ll be able to quickly select and cut or copy text from any document with editable text in it while using Quick Look, which just got even more awesome. Wahoo!

  • dcj001

    “[Quick Look is] basically the best new thing ever.”

    Quick Look is not new.

    • Rob LeFebvre

      depends on your timeline, really. :)

  • JAS

    Oh yeah! Works like a charm.

  • Kathy Hopper

    Is there a way to make this work in Word 2011? It works fine with other types of documents, even Excel, but not with Word files.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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