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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6 Desktop
Quick Look has a hidden feature that is not enabled by default, and can only be enabled through Terminal. Essentially, when 'X-Ray mode' is turned on, Quick Looking a folder will show, in a way, the contents of the folder.

Instead of just seeing the regular folder icon in Quick Look, the folder icon will be semi-transparent, with previews of the folder's contents visible in the Quick Look window, as seen in the image at right. What's more, the preview images will rotate automatically, moving through each item in the folder (click the image to see a movie of the animation).

To turn this on, quit the Finder (using Activity Monitor, Terminal, etc.), then open Terminal and enter this command:
$ defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableXRayFolders 1
Relaunch the Finder, and enjoy the new folder X-Ray mode in Quick Look. If you ever want to disable it again, quit the Finder, then repeat the above Terminal command, but change the 1 to a 0.

[robg adds: The image and movie above are from my machine; I added them to make it more clear exactly how this feature works. While it's a nice visual effect, I'm not sure how really useful it may be. Update: Hint republished to note that it works in both 10.5 and 10.6.]
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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6 | 35 comments | Create New Account
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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: sd on Sep 30, '09 08:34:34AM

5* hint!
I love it



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: asmeurer on Sep 30, '09 08:39:16AM
This doesn't seem to work in the index sheet mode. I was hoping to get full resolution animated icons using this trick.

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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: cstuder on Sep 30, '09 08:48:20AM

Another thing I noticed: Quick-looking at a .zip-file now shows the files (or at least the images) within the zip without me having to uncompress it.

Nice.



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No zip for me...
Authored by: gabester on Sep 30, '09 09:15:10AM

I have a zip file on my desktop and it doesn't show the contents... nor on any other zip I try. Perhaps you have a plugin that allows you to browse zip files without decompressing them that is enabling this behavior?
g=



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: MJCube on Oct 01, '09 03:03:10PM
Peeking inside zip files doesn't come along with this hint. But it was a different hint here 2 years ago. In a quick search I found two QL plugins that do the job: the one by xdd (1.5MB), and one with more features by Robert Rezabek (BetterZipQL, 5.9MB). I went with the small one because that was plenty of functionality for me.

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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: jbarley on Sep 30, '09 09:08:15AM

Mmmm!, does not work for me using 10.6.1
copy and paste the code into terminal and all I get is "command not found".



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: jwyner on Sep 30, '09 09:10:35AM

jbarley,

I'm going to guess you included the '$' when you copied and pasted. That is the terminal symbol, not part of the code. ;)

All the best,
Josh

---
"The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
-- Albert Einstein



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: jbarley on Sep 30, '09 09:12:02AM

Whoops, sorry, my mistake.
It will work if you do not copy and paste the first character ($)



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: Matti Niemelä on Sep 30, '09 09:14:02AM

Really cool. Not all that useful when the first "wow moment" has passed, but cool none the less.

I didn't even need to restart Finder, just started working right away.



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: BlaatMekker on Sep 30, '09 09:16:55AM
For me it is com.apple.finder (lowercase) on a case-sensitive filesystem.

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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: robg on Sep 30, '09 09:40:32AM

Sorry, my mistake. Fixed it now.

-rob.



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: V.K. on Sep 30, '09 09:27:30AM

a nice find but it's really just eye candy. what I would really like to see is quicklook plugins such as Folderview made compatible with snow leopard.



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: PizzaCake on Sep 30, '09 09:39:54AM

if you keep the quick look window open, the preview animates cycling between documents



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: robg on Sep 30, '09 11:31:47AM

Yes, that's noted in the hint (and in the movie I posted; click the image to watch it).

-rob.



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: benklinger on Sep 30, '09 09:47:02AM

this hint also works on Leopard 10.5.8



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10.6: See folder content previews in Quick Look
Authored by: robg on Sep 30, '09 10:24:57AM

So it does -- I've republished the hint, removing the references to Snow Leopard.

thanks!
-rob.



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: reblerocker4200 on Sep 30, '09 04:34:35PM

this will not work for me. i have a june 2009 13" macbook pro running 10.6.1

when i type into terminal it tells me command not found
am i doing somthing wrong?



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: reblerocker4200 on Sep 30, '09 04:38:29PM

nevermind...i figured it out



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: The Moose on Sep 30, '09 06:48:02PM

Just thought that I'd chime in add say two things I just found when trying this in 10.5.8 on a G4 PowerBook:

First, Terminal didn't like the command, it wanted a capital "F" on finder

And secondly, to get this to work, I had to get rid of a third party QuickLook folder generator I had lying around. just thought these may be of help/interest.



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: gstahara on Sep 30, '09 07:51:38PM

That is so cool. Thanks!



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: dutchbird on Sep 30, '09 11:50:53PM

I had to remove the first $ then it worked.



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: dotMac on Oct 01, '09 06:29:49AM

Quicklooking a Zip file didn't show the content for me :(

But it did enable the animation in the preview section of the Finder inspector window. Select a folder and hit Cmd+I. Check out the preview section.



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: nwfrg on Oct 01, '09 09:18:49AM
If you install the BetterZip Quick Look plugin you'll be able to see a listing of a zip file's contents in QuickLook

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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: ubrgeek on Oct 01, '09 03:58:07PM

Foo. No love in PathFinder.



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: gnarly on Oct 01, '09 04:15:42PM

I tried to quit the finder via Activity monitor and it wouldn't work. So how do I do this in terminal, "kill finder" ?
Also how then do I restart finder ?



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: thaJeztah on Oct 01, '09 10:59:00PM

- Press command + option + escape (the 'force quit application' window pops up)
- click on the finder icon in the popup
- click the 'relaunch' button

good luck!



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: lawnmowerlatte on Oct 02, '09 06:47:09AM

Does anyone know where the folder icon used in the preview lives? It doesn't respect CandyBar modifications.



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: pepersview on Oct 02, '09 09:05:26AM

Could be possible to obtain this image to use later like the folder fixed image?
Thanks



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: Frungi on Oct 09, '09 08:53:39AM

You can see this in the Get Info window as well, at least in 10.6 (I've not used 10.5).



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: Frungi on Oct 09, '09 08:58:15AM

This hint says to quit the Finder, THEN open Terminal? That doesn't make sense…



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: trisbanfi on Oct 13, '09 06:39:41AM

Works fine, except when a folder only contains subfolders, nothing appears in xray mode... it appears as though the main folder is empty, even though it may contain many sub folders.... a real pain...



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: regarp on Oct 15, '09 03:50:41PM

I think it's actually going to be kinda useful. Hint: for the Terminally Averse like me, you can turn this on through a System Preference pane called Secrets. And I had to Force Quit the Finder (which then automatically restarts) to get Xray working.



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: marjiemorical on Nov 14, '09 12:32:18PM

I cannot get this to work on my snowleopard. I would like to be able to see the pictures inside the folder, is that possible?



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: Nick Centi on Jan 17, '10 06:03:12AM

Fantastic! Thanks for the hint.



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See folder content previews in Quick Look in 10.5 and 10.6
Authored by: luomat on Jul 30, '11 02:36:31AM

Sadly this does not seem to work in 10.7



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