Matt Gemmell

TOLL is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Quick Look previews in Spotlight menu

guide, interface, software, tech & user experience 1 min read

The recently released Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” (read my review of it at The Guardian) adds a useful feature to the Spotlight menu, allowing inline Quick Look previews of the search results via both mouse and keyboard. This brief article describes how it works.

When you’ve entered a query into the Spotlight menu (you can trigger the menu by pressing Command-Space) and you’re viewing the list of results, you can trigger a Quick Look preview by either:

  • Hovering the mouse pointer over any result, or;
  • Holding the Command key for a moment.

Here’s what it looks like:

Quick Look previews of Spotlight search results in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

The preview popover will follow the selection in the menu, resizing itself appropriately, so you can easily trigger the preview then use the up- and down-arrow keys to skim through the results and find the item you’re looking for.

As an additional touch, when the preview popover is visible, holding the Command key will cause the content of the preview to shrink slightly, revealing a status display along its bottom edge. The display will continuously cycle between the full name and the location of the item (for examples, files will show their path, and emails will show their mailbox).

Yet another useful little improvement in the new version of OS X.

I’ve also been tweeting extensively about Lion recently; you may want to follow me (@mattgemmell) on Twitter.