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How to Optimize Preview Functionality with MacOS QuickLook Plugins

By Carrie Murray, Tuesday, December 05, 2017

QuickLook, developed by Apple Inc., is one of the most useful features that you should never miss. It enables very quick preview of file including full-resolution images, video previews, text files, and more while tapping the Spacebar. However, to expand QuickLook's functionality, you may want to get more QuickLook plugins to optimize preview functionalities on Mac.

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MacOS QuickLook Plugins

Know More About QuickLook Plugins

QuickLook Plugins can help people preview the file contents without launching the specific app. There are some built-in QuickLook plugins such as iBooks Author.qlgenerator and iWord qlgenerator. Besides, you can also download and install the third-party plugins from around the Web. Those plugins are easy to identify and they always carry with a .qlgenerator file extension.

Quick Look plugins will be located in "~/Library/QuickLook" or "/Library/QuickLook". So what is the difference between the two similar file paths? The two locations are related to the different accounts on your Macintosh. If you want to install a QuickLook plugin only for yourself to use, you can save them to "~/Library/QuickLook". Instead, you can locate it on "/Library/QuickLook" if you prefer to enable the plugin for every accounts.

How to Install QuickLook Plugins for Mac?

Find out the download source of the QuickLook plugins you want to install. Now, you should check for the format of the plugins. If it is a package installer with a .pkg or .mpkg file extension, you can easily install the Quick Look plugins easily by double-clicking the file and follow the instructions to get it installed on your Mac. However, if the plugin is a .qlgenrator file which doesn't have its own installer, you can follow the below guide and I will take QLImageSize plugin as an example to show you how to install QuickLook plugins on your computer.

1. Download QLImageSize on your Mac and copy the .qlgenerator file.

2. Navigate to "/Library/QuickLook" or "~/Library/QuickLook" directory by using Spotlight search and paste the copied item into the folder.

Note: As what I said in the first part, moving the .qlgenrator file to "/Library/QuickLook" is for every user on your Mac, while "~/Library/QuickLook" is only for yourself.

Paste QLImageSize

3. Open the Terminal app by using SpotLight or Siri.

4. Type "qlmanage –r" command in the Terminal and press Enter.

Type Command Terminal

5. The Terminal will perform a "resetting quicklookd" process and then you can enjoy the convenience that QLImageSize plugin brings. Just open a photo on your Mac to check the result!

MacOS QuickLook Plugins Check Result

Recommend|Best QuickLook plugins for Mac in 2018


QLImageSize is one of my favorite plugins that can help users check many files information and easily preview the image, identify its dimension, as well as figure out the file size, etc.


With the QLBitRate plugin, you are able to view the bitrate (in kbps) of an MP3 file in the title bar of the QuickLook window.



QLVideo display slideshow preview for DRM-encumbered MPEG-4 files. It supports .avi, .mkv, and .flv file. But .webm preview doesn't seem to be well compatible.


If you have ever tried, you can find out that it is impossible to preview CSV files as the layout of the text is in a mass. But with QuickLookCSV plugin, you can preview CSV files in a spreadsheet-like manner, which shows columns and rows with info.


How to Manage QuickLook Plugins on Your Mac

Now, as more and more QuickLook plugins for Sierra are installed on your Mac, some are looking for a tool that can help them preview all the installed plugins in one place and enable unified management on the items. Here I recommend  MacMaster program. Please check on the following steps to see how it works.

Step 1 Get MacMaster Program on Mac

To begin with, you should get MacMaster program on your Mac by clicking the button below. Then follow the instruction to install it!


Step 2 Scan QuickLook Plugins on Computer

Head to "Extensions" option on the left pane of the program and you will see the interface as below. Now, click on the "Scan" button and the MacMaster program will start to scan your Mac looking for all of the QuickLook Plugins for Sierra, El Capitan or other versions.

Scan Extensions on Mac

Step 3 Manage Mac Plugins or Extensions

After the scanning process, you can see all of the plugins on your Mac are displayed. Go the "QuickLook" option and choose the desirable one to enable or disable.

Manage Mac Plugins or Extensions

Can the above tricks optimize the preview functionalities on your Mac? If it fails to help, please drop us a comment below to let us know!

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