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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level System 10.4
Tiger only hintThe new Spotlight feature in Tiger does a great job at searching the contents of PDF files. Clicking on the result will open the file in Preview, starting at the first reference. However, the default zoom is so large that the context containing the reference is lost without manually zooming out.

It is possible to change the default zoom when opening PDFs from Spotlight using a plist editor, such as the Property List Editor (part of Xcode) or a third party tool like Plist Edit Pro.

Open the file ~/Library -> Preferences -> com.apple.Preview.plist and look for this key:
Root -> Preview -> PVPDFSpotlightSelectionSize
Change the value to 1, then save the file and quit the editor. Next time a result is opened from Spotlight, the entire page will be displayed.

[robg adds: This works as described -- hooray! No more massively-zoomed-in PDFs from Spotlight. You can also edit the file in the Terminal, if you first convert it to XML via plutil -convert xml1... and then back to binary1 when done.]
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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level | 18 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: tinb on Nov 18, '05 07:55:29AM

Great! Thank you so much!



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: ornette14 on Nov 18, '05 07:58:20AM

Good tip I'm sure but how do you change the value (mine is 28.00000) in Propert List Editor?



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: robg on Nov 18, '05 08:25:05AM

Just highlight the 28, type 1, and then save the file.

-rob.



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HOORAY!
Authored by: nick on Nov 18, '05 08:07:59AM

nice. thanks.



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: Mike A on Nov 18, '05 08:17:39AM

Of course, you can use values other than 1 to set it how you look. Once again, this seems a case of "Why didn't Apple do this in the first place?"

Incidentally, I noticed this while testing:
When you do a search and open a PDF, Preview automatically searches for whatever you typed in to Spotlight. This does, I guess kinda make sense. However, if your original search includes "kind:PDF" this is also included in the search in Preview, which, to my mind, makes no sense!



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: jfa643 on Nov 18, '05 10:59:35AM

Changing the value from 28 to 1 and saving the file back into the Preferences folder does not seem to work; the value reverts to 28! If you encounter this problem, simply save the modified file onto the Desktop, and then drag it into Preferences in order to replace the existing file.



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: soulbarn on Nov 18, '05 02:32:38PM

If only one could get an MS Word preview, as well. That would be really great.



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: ld on Nov 18, '05 04:13:33PM
Easier still... in Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.Preview Preview -dict-add PVPDFSpotlightSelectionSize 1

---
regards,
LD

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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: baltwo on Nov 18, '05 06:13:36PM

Easier still:

$ defaults write com.apple.preview PVPDFSpotlightSelectionSize 1



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: combustible_k on Nov 19, '05 08:24:23AM

This command line worked perfectly. I was so sick of using spotlight to search PDF's only to have them open in an unreadable format. Best hint ever.



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: meikokun on Nov 19, '05 03:27:24AM

fanny-bloody-tastic! this has been bugging me for ages. I use spotlight so many times a day, and mostly with pdfs, so this will save a lot of time having to resize docs so I can read the bleeding sentence. As mentioned, why apple didn't have '1' as the default is beyond me.
Cheers from Sweden!



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: BadgerUMD on Nov 19, '05 07:39:45AM

Awesome hint -- fixed a big annoyance of mine!



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: Peter1 on Nov 19, '05 10:56:47PM

I must be a real dodo! I have tried each of the three ways given in this thread to reduce the size of the search result but no matter what I do the size remains the same - large! I have set the value to 1 and 20 and 28 without the final result changing in size. I have logged out and in, shutdown and restarted to no avail. Any ideas appreciated.
TiPB 867 X 10.4.3



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: donquichote on Nov 20, '05 01:32:09AM

What's a dodo? Maybe I should know this, because I have the same (?) problem. I can change the value in the com.apple.preview.plist, but the size of the previews (which is not that bad as others mentioned) doesn't change.



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: garythemacguy on Nov 20, '05 11:45:07AM

Just a thought chaps - if you're making the edit while you have Preview open, it's almost certainly overwriting your modification when you exit from the application.

Only make changes like this when the application whose plist file you're editing is not running. Hope this helps...



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: Peter1 on Nov 21, '05 07:39:42PM

Thanks very much. That must have been the problem. I made sure that I closed Preview before trying again and the hack worked.

Now: I presume that I can set any value between 1 and 28 to achieve a somewhat middle range zoom size?



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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: shavenyak on Nov 21, '05 05:53:47AM
A dodo is an extinct bird. It's also an expression for a person of less than normal intelligence.

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10.4: Change the default Spotlight Preview zoom level
Authored by: dcottle on May 17, '09 10:54:03AM

This is a great hint, but even so, I'm still annoyed that it takes the time to search for an irrelevant term. For example, searching for my casio S10 manual, it's pointless to find casio S10, and will take me to a page I didn't particularly want to see. Also, the found items replace the contents, which is much more useful.

My solution (for this and in general) is to use cmd-return in spotlight. Rather than open the file, it shows it in the finder. I can open it from there.



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