How to Quickly Preview a File in Ubuntu’s File Manager (Like “Quick Look” in macOS)

00_lead_image_previewing_a_file

Sometimes, you don’t need to open an image in a photo editor–you just want to make sure which file is which. Instead of opening each file, you can preview each one in Ubuntu’s file manager program, Nautilus, without opening them.

We’ll show you how to install and use an add-in for Nautilus, called GNOME Sushi, that will allow you to preview image files, text files, PDF files, LibreOffice files, and even media files by pressing the spacebar. It’s similar to the Quick Look feature in macOS.

To install GNOME Sushi using Ubuntu Software, click the following link: apt://gnome-sushi

You can also copy and paste that link into the address bar in a browser and press Enter.

The following dialog box displays. Click “Install”.

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The Authenticate dialog box displays. Enter the password for your Ubuntu account in the box and click “Authenticate”.

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Ubuntu will install the software and show you its progress.

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Once GNOME Sushi is installed, open Nautilus by clicking the Files icon on the Unity bar.

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Find a file you want to preview and select it. For our first example, we’re going to preview an image file.

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Press the Spacebar to preview the file. A preview window shows the image and a diagonal double arrow button is available when you move the mouse cursor over the image preview. Click this double-arrow button to enlarge the image preview.

NOTE: The previewer should work immediately without logging out and back in or restarting. If not, exit Nautilus and reopen it.

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A larger preview of the image displays, also with the double-arrow button. Clicking the double-arrow button returns you to the original preview size. Press the Spacebar or the Esc key to close the preview window.

Hit the Spacebar or the Esc key to close the preview window.

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You can also preview text files. Again, select the text file you want to preview and press the Spacebar to preview the file.

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The text file opens in the preview window and you can scroll through the file using your mouse’s scroll button or the scroll bar on the right. The text does not wrap, so there is also a scroll bar on the bottom for scrolling to the end of the lines. When previewing text files, you can open them from the preview window. Click on the button at the bottom with the document icon on it. The file will open in the default text editor.

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In addition to text files, you can also view LibreOffice files. For our example, we’ll select an .odt file, which is a LibreOffice Writer file.

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To view a LibreOffice file, you must install an additional software package, if you don’t already have it. Click “Install” on the Install additional software package that displays.

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Enter your password on the Authenticate dialog box and click “Authenticate”.

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The Installing packages dialog box displays as the additional package is installed.

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Once the additional software has been installed, the LibreOffice file displays in the preview window. For multi-page LibreOffice documents, you can scroll down through the pages of the document, or you can use the right and left page arrows. You can also enlarge the preview by clicking the diagonal double-arrow button.

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To quickly preview a long list of files, you can select the first one, press the Spacebar to preview the file, press the Spacebar again to close the preview window, and then press the down arrow key to select the next file. Repeat this procedure to quickly preview one file after the other.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.