Get a quick preview of almost any file on your PC

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Back in Windows 7, it was easy to get a “Preview” of an image file that was stored on your computer. Just right click on the file, and choose Preview. That went away in Windows 10. But you can get back the preview option again – and not just for picture files.

Dog kissing booth


Honestly I can’t figure out why Microsoft would do away with the ability to “Preview” an image file on your computer. It was so handy. When I started using Windows 10, I couldn’t believe it. If there was a picture file on my computer, and I wanted to see what it was, I would have to actually double click and OPEN it in a program. For me, that program is Photoshop. So if I wanted to see a picture, I had to wait for Photoshop to open and display it.

Yes, before people start emailing me – I know I could have just changed the display to the largest icons, but those thumbnail images aren’t the same as actually previewing the image in a larger window. So that wasn’t a solution.

So once again, Microsoft had something that was a great feature and very handy to use, and they eliminated it. So many things they do just defy logic.

AND, once again, some brilliant coder has come up with a way to not only bring back that feature that Microsoft took away, but make it so much better.

What I’m talking about is a little program called QuickLook.



It’s available for free download from the Windows Store (here). Just click the button that says “Get” and let it download and install.

I think it’s set by default to run each time you boot up your computer. That’s not something you want to set for every program without thinking about it, but for this program I’ve found that I use it so often it might as well just be running in the background all the time. I don’t notice that it slows down the computer. The icon looks like this in the lower right corner of your screen:

QuickLook icon


Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you have a folder with some pictures and you want to preview one of them. Like this one, where the first 4 files don’t have a meaningful file name:

picture files


All you have to do is click once on a file name to highlight it (like I’ve done in that picture above). Then hit the Space bar.

A new window opens immediately, showing a preview of that picture:

QuickLook preview


Now I am able to see a larger preview of that picture so I know what it is. And that’s not all! There are buttons across the top of the preview window.

Quicklook buttons


Going from left to right, these buttons allow me to:

  • Force the preview window to stay on top of any other window I open
  • Prevent the preview window from closing
  • Open the image file with the program of my choice
  • See the file name
  • Open with Windows Photo Viewer
  • Make the preview window full screen
  • Close the preview window

That’s a LOT more than you used to be able to do with the traditional Windows Preview function. And that’s just with an image preview.

If you have an audio file, such as an mp3, you can preview and actually listen to it from the preview window.

If you have a video file, such as an mp4, you can watch it from the preview window.

You can also preview documents, such as Word or PDF files, or even Excel spreadsheets.

So you can probably see why I think this little app is pretty handy to have available. Try it out and let me know what you think of it.

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