Find a document in the Finder you want to open, press the space bar, and while the document doesn't open, you are given a peek inside. That's OS X's Quick Look feature. It's been around for years — ever since Apple released OS X Leopard in 2007. Normally, Quick Look lets you look but not touch: You can see the contents of a file, but you can't select its text. To do anything more, you've typically had to open the document in an app. But that's something you can change with a quick visit to our good friend the Terminal application.
For many of us, opening an application to get inside a document isn't that big of a deal. But it can slow you down, especially if you just need to copy a sentence or a paragraph of text. That's where this Terminal pro tip comes in. Obviously, it's only applicable to files with text content, as opposed to image files, MP3s and other non-text file types that work with Quick Look.
How to enable Quick Look text selection
- Open Terminal.
- Type defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool TRUE and press return.
- Type killall Finder and press return. (You can copy and paste each of these lines of text into Terminal if you'd prefer.)
- Close Terminal
Et voilà, when you peek inside of a document with Quick Look, you'll now be able to select and copy the text without having to open the document in another application first.