Select Text in Quick Look Windows for Mac OS X
Quick Look is one of the better little features of Mac OS X, but a new hidden option in OS X makes QuickLook even better by allowing you to select, highlight, and copy text directly from the windows.
If you use Quick Look to view any files that feature text—such as PDFs or Word documents—you’ll notice that you can’t click and drag to highlight text. Clicking anywhere on the Quick Look window simply moves it around.
However, a secret setting will let you click and drag as usual to highlight text, and you can use the standard key combination of Command+C to copy text. The Quick Look window can still be moved around the screen by clicking and dragging its title bar, as with any other program window.
Enable Text Selection in Quick Look
To activate the hidden Quick Look text selection setting, open a Terminal window (Terminal app is found in the /Applications/Utilities/ directory) and type the following command exactly:
defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool TRUE;killall Finder
Then hit return. The changes take effect immediately as Finder is relaunched.
You can test out the results by using QuickLook (usually the space bar) to see a preview window of text, which is now selectable and can be copied for pasting elsewhere.
To deactivate the text selection setting, and return to default behavior, open a Terminal window again, and this time type the following:
defaults delete com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection;killall Finder
The video below demonstrates enabling this feature:
This works in any new version of OS X from 10.7, 10.8, 10.9 Mavericks, and beyond.
This awesome tip was sent in to us by Keir Thomas, the author of a book called Mac Kung Fu and the guy who discovered the cool iTunes “Now Playing” notification that has since become popular on the Mac web.