Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

So I know some questions have already been asked about this like Is there a QuickLook preview for plain-text files with unknown extensions? and QuickLook for files with no extension or an unknown extension, but those questions are regarding fixes as oppose to Apple's reasoning behind not supporting QuickLook for some file types.

I have many text files that I use with TextEdit, some in .rtf format and some in .txt format. I also have many .docx files for school. I'm pretty sure Microsoft created the plugin for QuickLook to work with .docx files. .rtf files are also supported by QuickLook.

Text files seem like the simplest file type, because unlike .rtf files, they lack elaborate text ornamentation and (sometimes) complex formatting.

Why aren't .txt files supported by QuickLook? Are they more elaborate than they seem, or is there something I'm missing?

UPDATE: Here's an illustration of what I'm talking about: enter image description here

share|improve this question
possible duplicate of QuickLook for files with no extension or an unknown extension –  stuffe Aug 6 '12 at 22:58
I selected a .txt file in the Finder, pressed space bar, and got a preview. Seems to work fine for me, out-of-the-box, as long as the Finder can determine its type. So I'm not sure I understand the question -- ? –  Ken Aug 7 '12 at 0:12
Apple created the QuickLook plugin for dock files. It’s an open format, not owned by MS. –  duci9y Aug 7 '12 at 8:50
Quick Look should support normal plain text files by default. Have you tried disabling the qlgenerator bundles in ~/Library/QuickLook/ and /Library/QuickLook/ by for example moving them somewhere else? Or qlmanage -r, which resets Quick Look Server and all Quick Look client's generator cache? –  ؘؘؘؘ Aug 7 '12 at 12:34
@stuffe This question isn't a duplicate. The OP didn't make it as clear, but the question isn't asking for a fix. Rather it is asking for a reason why they aren't supported. –  daviesgeek Aug 14 '12 at 21:27

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Normally, text files are supported by QuickLook. If you have one that isn't, chances are that there is something "odd" about the file, at least from the Finder's point of view.

Try opening the file in TextEdit and then choose "Format" and then "Make Rich Text" as shown here:

  • Type a space (or modify the document in some other minor way).

  • go back to the "Format" menu and choose "Make Plain Text" again.

  • Save the file.

  • Check to see if QuickLook is able to show the file.

share|improve this answer
I tried that and it didn't work... –  pasawaya Aug 7 '12 at 22:13
Bummer. If you create a new plain text document and then copy/paste from the old to the new, and then save it, does the new file work in QuickLook? I presume that you've tried rebooting and qlmanage -r –  TJ Luoma Aug 9 '12 at 18:56
So I've run qlmanage -r in Terminal and rebooted. I then tried to make a new plain text file and copied in the old content, and QuickLook still doesn't work... –  pasawaya Aug 9 '12 at 22:49

I had the same problem, and Lri's comment of using qlmanage -r fixed it right up for me. It also caused .sh and .c files to work with quicklook as well.

I would have commented in that space but StackExchange doesn't think I'm cool enough to do that

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.