In previous versions of OS X a plist addition to com.apple.finder (outlined here for instance) could be used to enable select and copy in quicklook previews.

This (hidden) feature doesn't appear to work anymore in Mavericks. Any workarounds? Or is the setting merely named differently?

2 Answers 2



defaults write -g QLEnableTextSelection -bool true

and relaunching applications works for me. defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool true only applies to Finder but defaults write -g QLEnableTextSelection -bool true applies to all applications.

If it doesn't work, see what Quick Look generator handles plain text files:

$ qlmanage -m|grep public.plain-text
  public.plain-text -> /System/Library/QuickLook/Text.qlgenerator (555.0)

If it is not Text.qlgenerator, try to delete it and run qlmanage -r.

  • Deleting the third party generator and running qlmanage -r worked. Thanks. Nov 24, 2013 at 10:30
  • Doesn't work for me with qlmanage -p on 10.8.5.
    – Dominique
    Mar 29, 2014 at 1:03
  • @Dominique Did you run defaults write -g QLEnableTextSelection -bool true? defaults write com.apple.Finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool true only applies to Finder and not to qlmanage.
    – Lri
    Mar 29, 2014 at 9:14
  • Yes I did. I think this trick works when you use QuickLook from the Finder, but not when you call qlmanage -p from the command line.
    – Dominique
    Mar 30, 2014 at 5:48
  • I'm using 10.9 Running defaults write -g QLEnableTextSelection -bool true does not work for me
    – user87001
    Aug 6, 2014 at 15:12

Please notice that the activation of the "Text-Selection-In-Quicklook"-Feature could lead to the bug described in this question:

QuickLook blanks when displaying some images

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