Revisiting Quicklook, a Mac-like file previewer for Windows
I reviewed Quicklook, a free portable and open source program for Microsoft's Windows operating system back in 2017 when the program was first released. The program brings the quick preview functionality known from Mac OS systems to Windows; all you have to do is tap on the Space key while a file is selected to preview it, provided that its file type is supported.
Previewing worked really well back then already, and the main point of criticism I had back then was that it tended to consume a lot of memory and CPU while in use.
Tip: Quicklook is not the only program of its kind, you may also want to check out Seer, which offers similar functionality.
Four years later, it is time to take another look at Quicklook. The program has matured a lot, jumped from version 0.3 that I reviewed in 2017 to version 3.6.11. Have the CPU and memory usage issues been improved? What about new features and other improvements? Let's find out.
Quicklook is still open source, and you can download it from the project's GitHub page as a MSI installer or a portable program. A Windows Store application is also available.
The main feature that is provided by the application has not changed: select a file on your system and tap on the Space-bar to preview it. The preview feature works well with several file types out of the box including images and text files.
The application opens its own preview window when you invoke it using the shortcut. Several shortcuts are available, including using the mouse or the arrow keys to navigate to other files in the same directory, using Enter to launch the file in the default viewer/program, using the mouse wheel to zoom in and out, or decrease the volume. Another tap on Space closes the preview window again.
One of the main changes is that QuickLook uses Microsoft Edge's WebView2 now (instead of Internet Explorer), and that support for use on multi-monitor systems with different monitor DPI settings has improved.
Plugins are available to add support for additional file types, including an Office plugin to preview Office documents without Office installed, an EPUB and font viewer, and an APK viewer to preview Android packages.
It may take a moment before files are opened in the preview window. Things may be different on fast systems but on a Surface Go test system, the delay was noticeable and not as fast as it could be.
Memory and CPU usage appears to have been improved, as memory usage hovered usually around the 100 Megabytes mark and not the 350 Megabytes mark experienced in 2017.
- Support for long file paths (longer than 255 characters)
- New file types supported out of the box, e.g. EMF and WMF vector image formats, aif and m4r formats.
- Videos can be looped.
- dark theme support.
- New Ctrl-F option to display a search bar when previewing text documents.
Quicklook has matured a lot since our last review. The author added support for plugins to the application to extend its functionality, tamed memory and CPU usage, migrated to the newer WebView2, and improved the overall usability in other areas, e.g. on multi-monitor systems, as well.
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