Anyone know of a way to simply select and copy text from a file open in Quick Look?

Our project managers really enjoy sending out change requests as attached .doc files, and I'd really love to be able to hit spacebar, copy the text, and paste the text into my preferred editor without having to fire up Word (or Office alternative).

2 Answers 2


If you want it in your clipboard, how about:

textutil -convert txt -stdout file.doc | pbcopy

If you want it in a TXT file, textutil can put it right there for you too.

If you aren't on the command line, then you can make this an app via Automator and bind that to a keystroke other than QuickView Space

  • Nice. I didn't even consider textutil. I've added your command to my bash aliases and am passing the filename as an arg. Also, for others reading who may not like CLI, I also forgot about right-clicking and selecting "Open With" TextEdit, which has a much smaller footprint than Office.
    – HaL
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 14:09
  • 1
    @Hal you can also set TextEdit as the default app for .doc, so you don't have to navigate sub-menues, just open it...
    – user588
    Commented May 15, 2011 at 20:27

If you really want to copy text from Quick Look you can try the default

QLEnableTextSelection -bool TRUE

Open Terminal.app and paste this on the command line

defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool TRUE

press return and restart the Finder (or Logout and Login) and you can select and copy text direct in QL.


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