Awesome Open Source
Awesome Open Source


QLStephen is a QuickLook plugin that lets you view text files without their own dedicated QuickLook plugin. Files like:




brew install --cask qlstephen


Manually Compiled

Compiling the project yourself? Run:

make install

Permissions (Quarantine)

If you run into issues with macOS not letting you run the plugin because it's not signed by a verified developer you can follow these steps:

  1. Install the plugin using one of the methods above
  2. run xattr -cr ~/Library/QuickLook/QLStephen.qlgenerator (sudo if needed)
  3. run qlmanage -r
  4. run qlmanage -r cache
  5. Restart Finder by...
    • Restarting your computer
    • or holding down the option key and right click on Finder’s dock icon, then select “Relaunch” from the menu

For more disucssion on this you can read up on #81 starting here


Maximum file size

To keep quickview fast the preview is limited in its number of shown bytes. The default value is 100kB. You can change this using the shell to set your own max size.

defaults write com.whomwah.quicklookstephen maxFileSize 102400


If you’ve installed the plugin, but don’t see any changes:

  • Run qlmanage -m and look for the line to make sure a different application's qlgenerator file hasn't taken precedence. (Not all qlgenerator files are in ~/Library/QuickLook/ or /Library/QuickLook/!)
  • Make sure you are editing (a) the correct plist of (b) the correct bundle. (For example, you might have two QLStephen plugins. It’s possible the plugin in another directory — perhaps /Library/QuickLook/ — is what is being read.)
  • Run qlmanage -r in the Terminal. (This will restart QuickLook, which reloads all plugins.)

If you want to preview some text files that do have extensions (e.g., *.txt), follow these instructions.

Why “QLStephen”?

Because I was listening to Adam and Joe when I first wrote it.


Original author: Duncan Robertson

Special thanks to the following people for submitting patches over the years:


  • Fork the project
  • Send a pull request
  • Don’t change the build number (I’ll do that when I release a new version)

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