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:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gloobus-dev/gloobus-preview


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gloobus-preview
sudo apt-get upgrade

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 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.

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