Previewing Images In the Finder

Learn how to preview a large number of images in macOS Finder. You can use the Preview pane, large icons, cover flow, the Quick Look window, the Preview app and the Finder slideshow feature. See how these techniques can help you quickly locate the right image.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Previewing Images In the Finder.

Here's a question I get asked pretty often. Suppose you have a folder filled with images here. You want to find one out of the many very quickly. So you want to be able to look through them very easily. A lot of people are kind of stumped on how to do that. They can see little icons here but they're too small to look through.

If you switch to column view you can get this preview page on the right although some people are not sure how to bring this up. This allows you to flip through them very quickly so you can use the arrow keys here to go through them and see them one at a time. That's one way to do it and you can make this a little bit better by increasing the size of the pane here to the right. Also if you don't see this preview pane go to View and you've got the Show and Hide Preview right here. So make sure that it's Show preview and now you have this preview here only in Column View so you have to select this of each one. You can make this pretty large here. If I increase the size of the window you can see that the preview pane to the right increases there.
So you can flip through them pretty easily.

There are other ways to do it. One way, of course, is to use the Cover Flow View which is the fourth view here. Then you see them in this view like this. I'm using my trackpad to flip through them but I can use the arrow keys by selecting one and down arrow. Then you could see a lot of them at the same time. You can jump around in the list there as well.

Here's another way to do. For instance, let's go back to Icon View. It would be great if these icons were larger. Well you can make them larger. The key is that you want to show the Status Bar if you don't see it already. I'm going to show it and you see it here at the bottom. You've got this slider here. I can slide this all the way to the right and make these pretty large. So now I can actually expand this window and I can much more easily see which image is which.

There are other ways to do it as well. I can do it in any view but let's choose List View. I can select one image, hit the spacebar for QuickView. Now, with this QuickView window open I can use the arrow keys to go through the photos one by one showing me this view. I can shrink this window a little bit. I can shrink this window a little bit and put them side by side if I want. Jump around in the list and use this as a preview window. I can also select multiple ones like I'm going to select the first one here, then shift, select this one, hit the spacebar. It doesn't look like anything has changed much but I can click this button here and now I see the five images I've selected. Pretty large like a contact sheet. I can click on one to zoom in on it and then click on that button again to zoom back out. So it's kind of handy and you can do it with all of these. I'm going to select Command A for all, hit the spacebar, and then go to this contact sheet here. Now I've got a pretty large contact sheet. I can expand this window size here and it will expand the size of the images.

Another thing you can do is you can open up a single image, of course, Preview, double click on it and your default app should be Preview and it opens it up. You can also select them all and then use File, Open and it will open them all up in Preview and you should see the thumbnails on the left side. If not you can click here and select to Show Thumbnails on the sidebar. You can move the line here to make the sidebar bigger. You can flip through these using the arrow keys like that. You can also go to View, Contact Sheet in Preview, and you can see the images here. You can use Command Plus to zoom in. Under View, Zoom In and Zoom Out. So I can see these a little bit bigger. I can scroll through them. Now this will make it a little bit harder to get back to the file so you just kind of note the file name, so this is 270 for instance. I found that's the one I want and I can go back to find 270. Or I can use the image I want right there from inside of Preview. So Preview is another way for you to quickly find an image from a huge folder full of images.

Now one last way I want to show you to do this in the Finder is you have a bunch of images selected. You to File and you can see here is the Quick Look. That's the same as actually hitting the spacebar. Command Y is another shortcut instead of using the spacebar. But if I hold down the Option key, Option Command Y is slideshow 18 items. It brings up a slideshow control and I can move between them with the arrow keys here or the arrow keys on my keyboard. I can also click on Index Sheet here to see this index sheet and move between them, you can see with the arrow keys here, to the one I want. If I hit Return on it, it will go to it. If I hit Escape it leaves the slideshow. So you can see there are many good ways to be able to look through a folder full of images to find the one you want.

Comments: 7 Responses to “Previewing Images In the Finder”

    Ihab A Hosny
    2 years ago

    Nice. Thank you.

    2 years ago

    WOW…thanks Gary for showing so many options for looking at my images. I look forward to getting the transcript as I’ll never remember which view you need to be in to use some of these techniques. As usual, you’re much appreciated…

    2 years ago

    Who knew?
    Many thanks.

    2 years ago

    This was very helpful, Gary!

    2 years ago

    Thanks so much, really appreciate it

    2 years ago

    Awesome picture of the diving station of a very old submarine. From retired submarine sailor.

    2 years ago

    Phil: Thanks. That’s from the USS Bowfin in Pearl Harbor.

Comments Closed.