Quick Look is a feature that was introduced in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and has remained part of the operating system since, receiving a facelift in the latest release, Mac OS X 10.7.
If you’re browsing through your files in Finder and you’d like to preview a file before opening it, you can simply hit the spacebar and see it without opening a full program. You can’t, however, copy text from within that file. Not by default anyway.
If you want to be able to take text snippets out of a document without opening it in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, then you can use this quick Terminal command to enable just that. Simply open Terminal and type
“defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool TRUE; killall Finder”
From now on, when you open a document in Quick Look, you will be able to select, and therefore copy text from the file without even opening it! To reverse the process, just change “TRUE” to “FALSE” and everything will be back to the way it was again.
Thanks to Rob Harrison for this tip. If you have any more tips, then please send them to johnthompson [at] zath.co.uk.