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In OSX (Yosemite) I've figured out how to switch between showing a file as an icon or as a preview in Finder. I can go to Finder > View > Show View Options and then toggle the Show icon preview checkbox.

What I'm wondering is if there is some way to show the preview for certain file types but not for others. Basically, I want to see the preview if it is an image file, but just see the file type icon for everything else (.doc(x), .pdf, .txt, etc.).

Is there a way to do this, or is it strictly one way or the other?

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It's really one way or the other as you have speculated. Don't worry, it really shouldn't slow things down having these otherwise convenient little thumbnails created for everything you have.

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