I have the problem that QuickLook does not allow me to preview .txt files, despite being plain text. For instance here

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you see—no preview. Pressing Space does not help

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However, Spotlight does show me the preview

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How can this be? I am quite sure that originally, text file previews worked. Could this have to do with MacVim being the default application for this file type? I am on 10.10.4 and have the following QL plugins installed:

  • BetterZipQL
  • iBooksAuthor
  • iWork
  • QLColorCode
  • qlImageSize
  • QLMarkdown
  • QLStephen
  • QuickLookJSON
  • Suspicious Package
  • Video
  • WebP

2 Answers 2


You're using the QuickLook Plugin with whatever app you've set as default to open text file. You can probably find that in Your_Application.app/Contents/Library/QuickLook.

As @Julien said:

Generators embedded in applications are always preferred to plug-ins in ~/Library/QuickLook (which are preferred to the ones in /Library/QuickLook, which are preferred to the ones in /System/Library/QuickLook).

And there is no way to change that preference order. If you want to make sure it's the custom generator you can see the file with the default QL plugin with the following command in Terminal:

qlmanage -g /System/Library/QuickLook/Text.qlgenerator -c public.plain-text -p <path_to_text_file>

You can try to delete the app's QL plug-in, that could work but GateKeeper may stop you from opening the app, since it won't match it code signature.

  • So what I'm seeing is probably cause by MacVim not having and QL plugin in its app directory, right?
    – oarfish
    Sep 22, 2015 at 16:37
  • @oarfish Yes, that is correct. Did you try to use the default QL Plugin from Terminal?
    – user14492
    Sep 23, 2015 at 20:07

A fix for this has been made available in the feature/quicklook branch in the MacVim repository. See the github issue here. I think it has been merged into master already. You may need to compile it yourself.

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