I just happily discovered that .obj files are viewable in Quick Look and Preview!

An .obj file being shown in Quick Look

I'm assuming this is now standard functionality, rather than the result of some third-party software on my Mac having been bundled with a Quick Look plug-in for OBJ... since Preview appears to have added support at the same time.

Surprisingly, web searches have not revealed much about this feature. All I've found is this GitHub page, but it's for a separate plug-in. Maybe it was released under a license that allowed Apple to make it part of macOS? Curious...

If it is standard, since which version of macOS has this been available? I'd like to know what to tell others when sharing .obj files with them regarding if they can expect to be able to view the data on their Macs without needing to install 3D software.

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    Yeah we VFX guys just realized Preview.app supports Allembic caches AND allows each camera angle to show up as a thumbnail like a pdf page. Someone did their homework and put in a lot of effort to make this happen. Not sre if it support playback, but awesome sauce all the same! Nov 28, 2018 at 21:41
  • I really like this feature as well, but the basic flat shading hurts the ability to see all the detail in a mesh sometimes. even per pixel directional lighting would have been nice...
    – Steven Lu
    Aug 17, 2020 at 15:39

3 Answers 3


Quicklook 3d file preview was available since Mac OS 10.5 Leopard as far as I can remember. Common 3D files like OBJ and Collada DAE works out of box for quicklook and preview, Finder too will generate a nice icon for them. Pretty neat!

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    Thanks. Good to know. I was wondering if it was from a plugin that gets added by Adobe or something, but you're sure it works out of the box without Adobe software being installed?
    – Mentalist
    Sep 8, 2018 at 20:10

I presume it was introduced with the availability of the new Metal framework and MetalKit, ModelIO, in macOS El Capitan 10.11. It also added support for other 3D file formats like .stl or .ply. In macOS Sierra 10.12 they added .usd file support. The current formats supported are listed here: MDLAsset class description


…there was a hack time ago on early os x, where simply adding a text line in a preference file (in my case .lwo) give quicklook the ability to preview 3d objects (in my case lightwave .lwo). im unable to find this hack again…

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