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How to use the new Quick Look feature in MacOS Ventura Spotlight

MacOS Ventura includes a number of improvements to simplify your workflow. One such feature makes using the Spotlight search tool even easier.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
Two people looking at a MacBook Pro.

MacOS 13 (Ventura) might not have a collection of game-changing features for some, but it has a few nifty improvements that are sure to help simplify the desktop experience for many. One such feature is found in the Spotlight tool.

For those that don't know, Spotlight is the MacOS search tool that can help you find any number of things on your drive. Of all the desktop search tools I've used, Spotlight is the most reliable and fast. And with this new feature, Spotlight is even more user-friendly.

How Spotlight works is simple. When you hit Command+Space on your keyboard, a search field popup opens. 

Type whatever it is you want to search for in that field and results will automatically appear. 

Also: 3 ways MacOS Ventura could upgrade your worklife

If you see what you're looking for, click it, and the associated application will open. For example, if you click an image, the default image viewer will open. If the file is a document, Pages (or your default document editor) will open with that document ready to use.

The one downfall of that system is that you might not know the exact filename or you have filenames like pic_20221214.jpg, which means you could wind up opening that default image viewer a lot of images before you find the one you need. 

One thing to keep in mind is that you can configure the types of categories you want to appear in Spotlight results. This option is found in System Settings > Siri & Spotlight. In the Spotlight section, you can enable or disable any of the options available to Spotlight.

The MacOS System Preferences tool open to Siri & Spotlight.

Configuring what file types and applications you want to appear as Spotlight search results.

Image: Jack Wallen

You can refine your search results by disabling some of the options you know you won't ever need to search for. Of course, if you change your mind, all you have to do is go back to Settings and enable the option.

Now, about that new feature.

How to use the new Quick Look feature in MacOS Ventura Spotlight

Basically, Quick Look is a new file viewer built into Spotlight that allows you to preview a file before opening it in the associated application. That special preview window also includes an Open With button that automatically detects the file type and the application set as the default. 

Also: MacOS Ventura: How to use your iPhone as a webcam with Continuity Camera 

Quick Look is very easy to use and once you get it into your workflow, you'll find Spotlight to be far more efficient at helping you find and open the right file.

So, how do you use Quick Look? Let me show you.

1. Open Spotlight

The first thing to do is open Spotlight with the Command+Spacebar keyboard combination. 

2. Search for something

Once Spotlight is open, type a search string and wait for the results to appear.

Spotlight search results.

Searching for the term "Linux" in MacOS Spotlight.

Image: Jack Wallen

3. Open Quick Look

When you find a file you need to preview, select it from the results, and then tap the Spacebar on your keyboard.

Also: How to schedule emails in MacOS Ventura

This will open the Quick Look preview for that file.

4. Open the associated application

In the upper right corner of the Quick View preview, click the Open With button, and the default app for that file type will open.

Spotlight Quick Look.

A preview of a novella I recently wrote.

Image: Jack Wallen

And that, my MacOS-using friends, is what the new Spotlight Quick Look feature is and how to use it. Enjoy that newfound simplicity.

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