When I have (and browse with Finder) a directory with a bunch of photos and videos (from e.g. my camera), I often want to open all the pictures in it.

How can I do that?

Right now, I select all (Apple+A), open (Apple+O) and then quit QuickTime/MPlayer/VLC. But that is a bit annoying.

  • I'm going to take a contrary approach here and ask exactly WHAT you mean by "open"? If for example, there are 200 videos in a folder, are you expecting to see 200 videos playing at once? Or do you simply need to see a thumbnail for each photo or video?
    – David
    Aug 8 '11 at 16:07
  • @David: 'Open' as in Apple+O in Finder.
    – Albert
    Aug 8 '11 at 16:46

If Preview is in the dock, you can drag and drop the folder onto the Preview icon to open only the pictures. I just tried this with a folder of images, wmv, mp4, and mov files and only the images opened in Preview.


You can open all the files with Quicklook by typing:

+A then space

  • Not exactly what I wanted (because it is not Preview.app but the Finder internal preview) but works better than all other solutions. Still, there is no easy way to get from this preview to the real Preview.app (not for a single picture but for all pictures in the directory).
    – Albert
    Aug 8 '11 at 14:53
  • This is not Preview.app, this is Quicklook. Can you edit the answer? Other than that, this answer rocks! Especially in Lion, when you can just enter fullscreen and get Preview-like functionality.
    – Dan
    Sep 24 '11 at 13:13

One approach is to sort by Kind and use the Shift key to select just the range that includes the images you want to open.

Another possibility is to use the spotlight search box in the corner of the Finder window to whittle down to the stuff you want by typing the file extension of interest.

Or if you are really motivated, you might whip up an Automator script and assign a dedicated keyboard shortcut.

  • The first is much too complicated and annoying. The second is way to slow and also too complicated (I have to click that it should only search in the current directory and also that it should search only by filename). But the third sounds interesting. Can you give more details how to do that?
    – Albert
    Aug 8 '11 at 14:55

I use the sort by kind option and shift select all the jpeg.

  • +2 - enters list view
  • scoll to the beginning (or end) of the pictures
  • click once on the first picture
  • scroll to the end (or beginning) of the pictures
  • shift click the other end of the range
  • +O - open them

If I find I have more than one extension or find myself doing this more than once, making a smart folder to select the files is the winningest move.

  • 1
    Seriously - don't overlook the power of cover flow in a large window showing a smart folder.
    – bmike
    Aug 8 '11 at 16:34

Rather than trying to do this in the Finder, I think you should consider a trial of a third-party image-processing program that provides a "Browser" for viewing large thumbnails of lots of images in a folder. I would suggest investigating the features offered by Adobe Photoshop Elements, GraphicConverter, and Google Picasa.


If you want to set up what happens when you open a particular type of file just right click (ctrl click) & then click on get info. Under the open with section you can pick with app you want to open automatically. You will also get the option to use your settings for all files of that particular type

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .