I use QuickLook a lot to quickly open PDF files. I like the speed and clutter-free presentation more than using Preview.

But unfortunately, it is tied to the Finder and disappears when I change to another app, so that I cannot see it side-by-side with another application. Is there a way to detach the QuickLook window so that it can exist on its own?

1 Answer 1


Yes Thilo, there is a way. It will require a bit of command line wizardry though. As long as you're not allergic you can do the following:

  1. Open Terminal.app
  2. Change directories to the location of the file you want to view using QuickLook.

    • For example, if the file you want to view using QuickLook is on your desktop you would type: "cd ~/Desktop" (no quotes, caps matter, and ~ is a shortcut to your home directory).
  3. Now type: "qlmanage -p filename.pdf" (replacing filename with the name of your file and pdf with the extension of your file).

A new icon will appear in your Dock called "qlmanage". This is the helper application that is usually launched headlessly by the Finder. By launching it from the command line it becomes accessible via the Dock, Command-Tab etc.

Just for the record (and the curios) this little application is stored deep in the OS where mortals are not meant to tread at this location:

  • +1. That's good to know. But if I have to go through Terminal it is not really "quick" anymore. I'll see if I can somehow get this into Alfred or something.
    – Thilo
    Sep 5, 2011 at 7:12
  • 3
    All depends on your perspective :) Terminal is never closed on my machine. That said, I like Alfred too. Here's an Alfred extension you can add to do what I described above: cl.ly/1o3v3d2s3l0E0i0n2D0o It will add an action that can be applied to any file you select with Alfred. There are many other ways we could make this "quick" I'm sure :) Sep 5, 2011 at 7:51

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