Using QuickLook with VoiceOver
Guest Post by Esther.
Leopard has very useful feature called QuickLook that lets you preview the contents of various files without opening them in an application. Have you ever wanted to quickly check a file just to identify its contents? What's in those mp3 files named Track01.mp3 and Track02.mp3? Do you have multiple drafts of a letter, and need to find your preferred version? Using QuickLook, you can even preview a music track without opening it or adding it to iTunes.
Using QuickLook from the Finder, simply select the file you want to preview and press the space bar. Audio files are the simplest to start with - select an mp3 file in finder and press space bar to start listening. Press space bar again when you want to stop. That's all there is to it!
QuickLook displays a wide variety of file types including:
- Plain text files
- Document files
- PDF files
- Music files
- Video files
- AppleScript files
- Some types of system files such as preference files
QuickLook will not display DRM-protected files from third parties - if you can't read a protected PDF file, don't expect QuickLook to give you more than a summary of the file properties. QuickLook will also not provide a way around inaccessible formats - open an Excel spreadsheet with QuickLook and it gets displayed as an image.
QuickLook can also be used to examine items moved to your Trash - this saves fuss since you would otherwise have to move or copy these items out of the Trash to open them.
You can also use QuickLook to preview multiple selections; but mixing media types can get confusing for VoiceOver users as you need to access a "play" button. If you select a series of text files or PDF files and start QuickLook by pressing the space bar, just use your right or left arrow keys to navigate through the sequence, then press space bar to end the QuickLook session. If you select a group of audio files and start your QuickLook by pressing space bar, you should use VO-right arrow to the set of buttons for: "Show previous item", "Play", and "Show next item". Your multi-selection files will not automatically start playing with QuickLook until you press the "Play" button with VO-space and you pause by using VO-space to press the button again. Similarly, you would VO-right or VO-left to and press to select the previous or next buttons with VO-space, then press space bar again to end your QuickLook session.
In the case of mp3 files and some other types of audio files, you'll hear tag information for the song, if this is present. Using only the arrow keys to navigate through the selections just tells you the tag information. To play the files you need to VO-right to the player controls, and then you can use the buttons there to navigate through your selections.
VoiceOver users should ignore the two buttons beyond "Show next item". These are selection display mode options for "Show Index Sheet" and "Full Screen Mode". Pressing these changes the display appearance of your selected items but doesn't appear to provide additional functionality with VoiceOver, and if you press either of these buttons you will need to press escape to exit those display modes and recover the ability to use the navigation and play buttons.