enable text selection in Quick Look

using quick look

One neat little feature of Quick Look is that if you want to copy some text from one pdf, rtf, or txt file (as far as I can tell, it doesn’t work with .doc and .docx) to another without opening the source file, you can browse through the Finder, hit the spacebar, and select the text from within the Quick Look preview.

However, if you find that you can’t select text inside a QL preview window, you may need to enable it in your defaults settings. To do this, triple-click the line below, copy and paste it into a Terminal window and hit ‘return’.

defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool true



About philastokes

Independent Software Developer, Technical Writer and Researcher at SentinelOne. Explaining the unexplainable with images, video and text. Scripting anything imaginable in AppleScript, Bash, Python and Swift.

Posted on January 24, 2014, in Finder and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi Phil, doesn’t seemed to work for me. Copied and paste that 1-line into terminal already. I can select the whole page, but not sections of the text. But copy and paste after selection does not work. Appreciate your advise.


    • What file format or app are you trying it with? It doesn’t work with Word, but should do on Pages. Have you tried it on PDFs?

      If it’s not working on any kind of file format, try logging out and then in again. See if that helps.

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