Leopard Bits: Quick Look and the Finder

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Quick Look
Quick Look is easily the simplest of the most touted changes in Leopard and is definitely the handiest. The basic concept behind Quick Look is to provide a quick and easy way for users to view content. No editing, no manipulation, nothing but the content in its entirety. Just click on an item and hit the spacebar.

Leopard Quick Look One Item

If you invoke Quick Look on multiple items:

Leopard Quick Look Multiple Items

Tile the images and even check it out in full screen. Do the same with video files, audio files, Word documents, PDFs, contact cards, Keynote or PowerPoint presentations, Automator Workflows, etc… If Quick Look runs into something it doesn’t support (like an Application), it will just show its icon and some information about the item. But Quick Look is also based off of a plugin architecture, so if you find a plugin for a filetype that you work with, then just drag it into the plugins, restart the Finder and off you go1.

Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” Finder Icon

The Finder has seen some nice improvements. For one there’s the new Coverflow view. This isn’t exactly the most useful addition (I have rarely used it myself) but I find that it comes in handy when I need to quickly look through a bunch of images.

Another handy addition is the new iTunes-like sidebar. It’s divided into 4 sections: Devices, which links to hard-drives, other partitions, iPods, external drives, etc.; Shared, which lists all the other computers on the network; Places, which are simply just places in your filesystem; and Search For, which can hold smart folders (folders whose contents depend on the criteria you set). Save for Shared, you can drag items in or out of the sections.

Probably the best new feature of the Finder has to do with Shared. Like I said, the Shared section lists all of the computers on the network, both Windows PCs and Macs. Click on any computer and it will list all the different connection methods.

OS X 10.5 “Leopard” Finder Network Computer

Click any of those guest connections and you can see their public folder(s).

OS X 10.5 “Leopard” Finder Network Computer Guest Connected

However, if I were to press the ‘Connect As…’ button, then I would get a login screen followed by an updated view of the network connection. Now that I’ve logged in as a registered user I can see and access that user’s account just as if I were on his computer. And, if I turn on screen sharing on the computer that I want to connect to, I can just as easily start using that computer as if I was sitting in front of it.

None of the changes made to the Finder are, in my opinion, extremely important but they’re solid nonetheless. It makes life on in Mac OS X a bit more convenient and, as Apple usually shows, the small things do add up.

1: I’ll have a list of Quick Look plugins that I use in a later post.


Written by Kumaran Vijayan

January 25, 2008 at 8:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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