How to Get Mac’s QuickLook Function In Ubuntu

In Mac, the QuickLook feature allows you to preview your files without opening them. For Linux users, particularly for those with Gnome desktop, you can also get a similar QuickLook functionality in your desktop with Gloobus-Preview.

Gloobus-Preview is an extension for the Gnome desktop designed to enable a full screen preview of any kind of file. You can use it to preview your presentation slides, pdf files or even to listen to a mp3 track, all without having to open their default applications.

Gloobus-Preview currently supports over 40 commonly used file formats, ranging from images, documents to audio and video. Here is the complete list of file formats that it supports:

  • Images: jpeg / png / icns / bmp / svg / gif / psd / xcf
  • Documents: pdf / cbr / cbz / doc / xls / odf / ods / odp / ppt
  • Source: c++ / c# / java / javascript / php / xml / log / sh / python
  • Audio: mp3 / ogg / midi / 3gp / wav
  • Video: mpg /avi / ogg / 3gp / mkv / flv
  • Other: folders / ttf / srt / plain-text


While you can download and install the deb file, I would advise you to install via the PPA repository so that it can be upgraded automatically when a new version is released.

Adding repository in Ubuntu Karmic

open a terminal and type:


When the installation is completed, logout of your desktop and login again (The instruction at the developer’s site is to restart Nautilus. However I find that restarting Nautilus does not work for me, so on the safe side, it is better to logout and login again.)

To preview your files, either in the desktop or in Nautilus, highlight the file and press the [Space] button on your keyboard. The preview window will now appear and show the content of your file. Press [Space] button again to close it.

Here are some screenshots:

Previewing a movie

Previewing an image

Listening to a song

Tell us in the comments how you like this preview feature in your Linux desktop.

Damien Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.


  1. KDE 4.3.4 and above (and possibly below) has this built-in to the Dolphin file manager, within the Info side panel. It is very nice indeed.

  2. That's an useful mod. I am sure it will be helpful to all Mac users and QuickLook lovers.

  3. hey its showing the preview on the default application.
    nyway but the proble i the preview didit gets closed after pressing the space key again.

  4. yes….but i behaving its behaving like regular one i was thinking that i would close by pressing space key/

  5. That is awesome. I've been waiting for something like that. The only problem is that, I think I need to know more about apt because in update/upgrade somewhere it removed openoffice 3.2, which I spent last night installing (from this site). So, I'll get it, but just wondering if I should have made a “clause” in apt before one of the upgrade/update and so forth.
    But really love the preview. My wife will love it for pictures.

  6. Your system won't remove open office unless you explicitly tell it to. I guess you must have accidentally checked the uninstall box. Anyway, you can easily install OpenOffice via the Ubuntu Software center.

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