OS X Lion: New Quick Look Features

| Tips

In Lion, Quick Look’s been redesigned a little bit, and I love the changes. You can now choose a program to open your file right from that window, and you can even add pictures to iPhoto from it. Plus, Mail now has a way to Quick Look web pages without opening your browser. Here’s how you can use these spankin’ new features.

In Finder, select the file you’d like to preview, and as you’ve probably been doing for forever now, tap the spacebar to activate Quick Look. The familiar window appears, but with a new option—in the upper-right corner, you’ll note that “Open with [default program]” appears. Neat!

And if you click and hold on that button, you can select from other programs to open the file with. Super neat!

You even get a tooltip with the application’s location if you hover over it.


Finally, if you Quick Look some types of files, you’ll be presented with other options. For example, when you preview an image file, included in that list is “Add to iPhoto.” I think my head just exploded! Nope, still typing.*

Another great new Quick Look feature is included in Mail. If you hover over a web address in a message, a disclosure triangle will appear. Click that, and you’ll get a preview of the page, all without leaving the comfort of Mail.

If you’d prefer, you can then click the same “Open with” button in the upper-right of your preview window, which shows your default browser. You can also click any link on the page you’re previewing to be taken directly to that link in your browser. OK, now my head really did explode.

Here’s the preview of a web page from within Mail. Good job, Apple.




*It’s possible chickens may be able to type without heads, but I can’t.

Popular TMO Stories


Miche Doherty

Looks good. I haven’t had time to upgrade to Lion yet.

One point: the ability to add pictures to iPhoto from Quick Look isn’t new. It’s there in Snow Leopard (and I think was in Leopard). But it was/is via an icon at the bottom of the Quick Look window, rather than a menu.


I love the new Quick Look functionality, but the new design—the blocky, opaque gray frame/border/bevel—is so unMac-like (and, frankly, ugly). It’s also inconsistent with the Snow Leopard translucent, smoked glass effect that remains in Lion for Stacks.  I’m hoping someone figures out a way to revert Quick Look to the Snow Leopard look while preserving the new Lion functionality.


I agree with Matt.

Lion may have made the login screen look better, but the whole gray thing (gray sidebar icons, gray quick looks border) is rather ugly.  The new look of widgets doesn’t bother me at least.

Lee Dronick

I am with Matt and webjprgm the muted gray with little contrast is depressing. Not that it has to be garish like a casino, but more color and contrast would be uplifting.


+2 for Matt.

There are certain parts of the interface that absolutely lends itself towards transparencies.

I know Apple has been tweaking things towards a more subtle, no-nonsense look over the past couple of .1’s, but in Lion they’ve weirdly gone in both directions with the UI. Slightly more clean and refined in some areas, and downright tacky *cough*iCal*cough*Address Book*cough in others.

Is there no management in Apple’s current GUI team?!?


but the new design?the blocky, opaque gray frame/border/bevel?is so unMac-like (and, frankly, ugly)

It actually is translucent. Look again with some open windows behind the Quick Look. It may not be as overtly so as in Snow Leopard, but it is there.

I think we may see some cosmetic updates in the coming weeks.

Lee Dronick

I have no problems with the look of the new Address Book, but I understand that others do.

Mail’s look on the other hand I am not liking so much. I have toggled the Use Classic Layout and have gone back to the new one, but am not sure that I will stick with it.


It actually is translucent.

You’re right, wab95.  It is transparent. —But only barely.  And, if I’m not mistaken, the transparency is on a gradient.  It’s almost completely opaque at the top (maybe 95% so) and somewhat less towards the bottom (maybe 75% opaque).  I can really only see it when I Quick Look something that renders only as an icon (like my root drive), as opposed to an actual document.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account