Seer: better file previews for Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 5, 2016

Seer is a free program for the Windows operating system that brings Mac-like file and folder previews to the Windows operating system.

While Windows ships with its own file preview system in Windows Explorer / File Explorer (use Alt-P to toggle it), it is limited to Explorer and not available elsewhere.

You cannot use it for instance to preview a file on your desktop, unless you open Explorer first, navigate to the desktop to do so.


With Seer, all you do is select the file and tap on the Space-key to display a preview of it on the screen. Tap a second time on Space to kill the preview window.

Seer works automatically after installation and start. The program supports many popular file types by default including video and audio file types, plain text file types, archives, images and more.

File previews may be static, for instance when you are previewing an image, or active which is the case for videos for instance. This means that you can listen to audio or watch a video directly using Seer.

video preview

The same is true for plain text files including scripting or code related file types, and PDF documents, as you can scroll plain text files if they are large.

What you cannot do is edit the file though, but that is beyond the scope of previewing files anyway.

Basic controls are provided for some file types. For videos, you may for instance use a slider to jump to a different position of the file, but the feature is rather limited. There is no volume control for instance.

The functionality that Seer provides is read-only which means that file content is not modified in any way when the program is being used to preview files.


You may extend the preview functionality that Seer adds to Windows systems by adding plugins to the application.

You find all available plugins listed in the Settings (right-click on program icon in the system tray to open the Settings).

Currently, the following plugins are available:

  • Microsoft Office: adds previews for popular Microsoft Office formats such as docx and doc, xlsx and xls, or pptx.
  • Docs: adds previews for docx, odt, and epub.
  • AutoCAD: adds preview support for dwg, dxf and cadc.
  • Font: preview ttf, pfb and otf fonts.
  • Eps: ads preview support for eps files.

To install a plugin, you select it in the settings and hit the download button afterwards. This initiates the download of the plugin file in the default system browser.

All plugins are provided as zip archives which you need to extract on the local system. Afterwards, switch to the local tab under plugins in Seer's settings, and click on add. This opens a file browser which you use to select the json file in the folder you have extracted the archive to.

Once done, support for the new file types has been added to Seer.

Seer Settings

Seer's settings menu reveals additional features of the program. You may use it to add a modifier to the Space-key shortcut, and check out other shortcuts the program supports. These are different depending on the type of file or folder that you are previewing.

One interesting shortcut is Ctrl-Alt-R which opens the file's parent folder in an Explorer window. The Type menu lists all supported file types and an option to add file extensions to the text group. This can be useful if a plain text file type is not supported by Seer out of the box.

As you can see, Seer supports a massive number of file extensions out of the box.

Other features of interest include double-clicking in the preview area to open the file in the default program, hiding the titlebar or control bar, adding line numbers to text documents, or matching file extensions to programs for options to launch matching files in these programs instead of the default application.

Closing Words

Seer is a well designed application that adds a global file preview feature to the Windows operating system. The program itself runs quietly in the background for the most part and springs only to action when you invoke the preview shortcut. (found at Windows Clan)

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  1. streamline said on February 23, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    hi, I have see pro, but it doesn’t open docx and xlsx.
    i’ve installed the plugins but still no luck.
    Windows 10 home + Office 365

  2. Tim Pettus said on April 11, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    How do you download the JSON files for these? Only LibreOffice seems to be available?

  3. yatra said on April 7, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Thanks, great software. Does a portable version exist?

  4. Ray said on April 6, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I use QTTabBar too and you can do the same. Hover over any media files for a direct preview with the sound and video.

  5. Croatoan said on April 5, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    I use Qttab bar for very long time and it has preview for many files that I need :) And you need only hover over file. It doesn’t support desktop file preview but automatic preview is really nice.

  6. Michael said on April 5, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Regarding the inability to preview files on the desktop … that is not true. I have tried Seer with files on the desktop and it works like any other location.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 5, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Michael, I never said that you cannot use Seer for that. I mentioned that Windows Explorer does not offer that.

  7. Ben said on April 5, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    The interesting question is what the engine to creathe thumbs is used.
    Because making a preview for a pdf can be quite dangerous. Same goes for video or image files.

    1. Corey said on April 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      if you turn off “Auto check for updates” in “Settings – General”;
      and delete files named “ssleay32.dll” and “libeay32.dll” in installation folder.

      Then Seer could work without internet.

      You could see the description in

  8. Tom Hawack said on April 5, 2016 at 11:41 am

    What a pity this project be hosted by Sourceforge.

    I have banned (blacklisted on my HOSTS file) all three sites depending of Slashdotmedia : slashdotmedia dot com, slashdot dot org, sourceforge dot net

    Why? No longer for security reasons but rather for Slashdotmedia’s unacceptable zeal to comply to the EU cookie law. This law obliges sites reached from the EU to notify the user of the cookie implications but not to block the access to such a site if the user refuses the cookie. Slashdotmedia makes the acceptation of the cookie a condition to enter one of their sites, and that is not in the EU law.

    Regarding sourceforge dot net oddly enough sites such as xyz dot sourceforge dot net are not affected, only sourceforge dot net/xyz, For instance configfox dot sourceforge dot net is not affected …

    This zeal is unavoidable and there is no workaround as there is for other sites : the user is blocked with a full-page warning and this page seems to be totally unavoidable : hpics dot li/6b13111

    Slashdotmedia is a perfect example of a company taking advantage of a law to gain a benefit for itself beyond the law’s requirements. Unacceptable therefor banished here.

    1. stilofilos said on April 6, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      Tom, according to Flagfox, i get Sourceforge content delivered from a server in the USA , you probably from one in the EU ?. That’s maybe causing the difference…?
      These americans surely don’t bother about EU laws…
      Not sure about this (never thought about an in-depth look at it) , but why didn’t I think about looking so far earlier… (age, no doubt…)
      Also, Ghacks is coming via the US , and my european newspapers I sometimes get via the US, at other times straight from Europe, or via Singapore or HongKong. No idea how that switching works.

    2. stilofilos said on April 6, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Tom, My IP is in Thailand… And no VPN. Even more bizarre is that on other EU sites I do get such messages , only not on this one …
      I, too, have uBlock Origin running, and still ABP as well, but I did nothing specific in this respect.
      I had checked once, found no cookie, then ran Ccleaner and Wise Care to remove eventual occurances secretly hidden in IE (that I never use by the way). Then checked again, after reloading the page.
      I only use Firefox and PaleMoon, with Better Privacy addon in the battle against LSO’s , set to destroy them within 1 second. It gave no alert in this case. Strange, never ever seen such EU alerts for LSO’s… although they are reknowned to be more dirty and harmful than the usual kind of cookies, they say.

      I see only one possible explication : I am a belgian, no frenchman… Not from Molenbeek nor Vorst, so maybe quantite negligeable for some… ?
      Courage in your quest !

    3. stilofilos said on April 5, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      Bizarroide… I do not get that cookie alert on this site, nor the blocking, not on its title page and not for the download.
      I systematically block them all everywhere though, and did only make an exception for my e-mail provider and my banks.
      I also checked if eventually a cookie would have been dropped sneakily, but that is not the case. No LSO either.

      I wonder whether such blockings couldn’t be removed in CSS.
      I couldn’t try it as I never encountered such a (indeed) nasty site, but i did remove other blocking cases where sites are blackened out behind aggressive messages. Possibly just as easy.

      1. Tom Hawack said on April 5, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        Bizarre, bizarre …

        @stilofilos, your IP I guess is within the EU and you don’t use a VPN, you block all cookies by default (meaning sourceforge cookie reminder not appearing wouldn’t be because of cookie already installed). Bizarre.

        I try to be as fit as possible when it comes to privacy and security issues. Cookies is the basis, one potential issue among many other of which far more sophisticated but they remain a major tracking vector and I handle them as such. I cannot possibly understand how you may not encounter this Slashdotmedia EU cookie full-page reminder on sourceforge. It would be impossible, basically.

        Here, Firefox ‘Self-Destructing cookies’ add-on, ‘uBlock origin’ with a dedicated EU Cookie management (block) filter called ‘I don’t care about cookies‎’ which blocks practically all EU Cookie Law ‘reminders’, and when not I handle them with a simple add to a dedicated CSS style … there is as far as I’ve battled to find one, no workaround : Slashdotmedia EU cookie full-page reminder is unavoidable because it relies on no style, on no script and if cookie acceptation is not deliberately, explicitly performed by the user required page does not open. If the user blocks cookies (Web-wide or targeted for a Slashdotmedia site) and clicks on ‘Accept’ the cookie the page won’t open as well : the cookie has to be in place for the page to open, and that contains the totality of my complaint.

        stilofilos, your experience is bizarre indeed, and that’s putting it mildly, extra-mildly :) Are you sure your IP is within the EU?!

    4. Corey said on April 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      check this out:

      You could find the contact email at bottom.
      Send a email, then you will get installation file.
      : )

      1. Tom Hawack said on April 5, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        Thanks Corey, your advice is pertinent and I certainly should proceed as such with all websites hosting their files at Sourceforge, but,
        1- What a hassle to repeat such an operation with every project/file hosted at Sourceforge;
        2- I wish not to discriminate a company by repeated assaults on its EU cookie policy interpretation performed on a wide public scale because between the intention and its echo the Net may render that intention as a true confrontation far beyond my sole grief : the EU cookie law interpretation and no more, a company’s quality as a whole. My grief is not a pretext and I know enough how one word may become a novel when it comes to its dispatch. Moreover are concerned users within the EU only, this is not a world-wide flaw, fortunately. Right now I’d love to be in Central Park, gorgeous at spring time :)

        As for Seer itself I could as well disable temporarily in my HOSTS file ((#, avoid expressing here my irritation and carry on. Perhaps I’ve bounced on another example. Sometimes one gets fed up!

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