Introduction to Quick Look Programming Guide

Quick Look is a technology introduced in OS X version 10.5 that enables client applications, such as Spotlight and the Finder, to display thumbnail images and full-size previews of documents. For documents of common content types—notably HTML, RTF, plain text, TIFF, PNG, JPEG, PDF, DAE, and QuickTime movies—this support is automatic. However, applications with documents that are of less common or even private content types can still take advantage of the Quick Look feature. Those applications can include Quick Look generators: plug-ins that convert a given document from its native format into a format that Quick Look can display to users.

This document describes the Quick Look technology and explains how you, as an application developer, can create a generator so Quick Look can display thumbnail and preview images of your documents. Although Quick Look generators are designed as CFPlugIn-style bundles, all the gritty details of plug-in implementation are handled for you. And although the programmatic interface for Quick Look generators is an ANSI C interface, you can write generators using Objective-C code that calls methods of the Cocoa frameworks.

Organization of This Document

The Quick Look Programming Guide has the following chapters:

See Also

Consult the following documents for descriptions of Quick Look generator functions and constants:

Because generating a thumbnail or preview image often requires drawing or the creation of an image, the following documents might be of help: