Tip: Quickly zoom and open images with QuickLook

QuickLookIconXWhen browsing files in the Finder, you have the option for previewing them using Apple’s QuickLook feature. This allows you to either see some general information about files such as file size and last modification date, but for supported files you should see a preview of their contents, simply by pressing the Space bar with a file selected. While convenient, for previewing a file or two, you can use QuickLook to zoom in on images, as well as open files you are previewing.


When you quicklook an image, you should see the entire image show in the QuickLook window, so large images will be scaled to fit. However, you can zoom in on the image using a couple of methods:

  1. Pinch Zoom — Apple’s pinch-zoom gesture for its trackpads can be used to zoom to practically any level on a quicklook image.
  2. Option key — By pressing and holding the Option key, you will zoom in to the image’s full size.

Opening files

With the QuickLook window open on any file, you should see a button at the top of the window for opening the file in its default handling application; however, a quick way to open the file is simply to double-click the preview area of it. While a small difference, this may be a more convenient approach than trying to specify the smaller button. Keep in mind this will not work if you have installed some QuickLook add-ons, or have adjusted QuickLook’s default behaviors in any way, including allowing text to be selected.

Do you have any quick QuickLook tips? If so, share them below in the comments!

One thought on “Tip: Quickly zoom and open images with QuickLook

  1. Scott Bayes

    Snow Leopard users:
    – use OPT-mouse click to zoom in, SHF-OPT-mouse click to zoom out
    – use CMD-OPT-mouse click to toggle the zoom between actual size and scaled size
    – while zoomed, the screen pointer should change to a cross with an arrowhead on the end of each arm, to signify you can drag the image around inside the viewing window; no scroll bars, just drag it. Mavericks does similar, but with scrollbars and an unchanged pointer: you can both drag and scroll in Mavericks

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