Mac Finder has a built-in Quicklook feature that gives you thumbnail views of many types of files. This is especially useful for browsing graphic files, as you can see in the Cover Flow view whether the image is a house, a horse, or a butterfly. In terms of video files, however, Apple has spared little; the factory-installed Quicklook only previewed .mov and MPEG formats. When you browse the Cover Flow style through .flv or other types of files, you only get the general video file icon. The good news is that you can expand the capabilities of Quicklook QLVideo, free plug-in software that adds video types to Quicklook.

Configuration required

The QLVideo plug-in works on Macs running OS X / macOS version 10.9 (Mavericks) or later. The installation package file is only 14 MB in size, so the extension can easily access Mac resources.

Where to get it

The latest version of QLVideo is available download from GitHub. You can find information and other resources on QLVideo the main GitHub archive.


QLVideo is installed like any Mac application. Locate the double-downloaded .pkg file (for example, QLVideo_187.pkg) and double-click it. The installer will guide you through a few steps, such as accepting the software license and selecting the destination drive. Enter the administrator password when prompted. The installer displays a message when the plug-in has been successfully installed.

Using QLVideo


After installing QLVideo and before using it for the first time, restart the Finder by logging out and then logging in again. Click the Finder icon in the Dock and navigate to the folder that contains the video files, especially .flv and others that are not original on the Mac world. In the Finder, click the “Cover Flow” icon to change the view as needed. At first, you may only see common icons. After a few minutes, quicklook framework creates preview images of videos that appear instead of common icons. Scroll images back and forth in the same way as any Cover Flow view.



The Finder can play .mp4 files and related files in Cover Flow. When you browse Cover Flow files, a play button appears on the video thumbnail. However, even with the QLVideo plug-in, you need a separate player application, such as VLC or MplayerX, to play .flv and other non-native video formats.

quicklook on mac

Interleaving problem

Some video files use a trick called “interleaving” that provides smooth movement and reduces the amount of data required. With QLVideo, thumbnails of interlaced videos may appear blurry or distorted.

How to remove

There is a good chance that you will never need to uninstall the QLVideo plug-in from your Mac. However, if you find it necessary, the developer has made the process quite simple, albeit a bit technical. First, open a Terminal window. Copy and paste the following text into the terminal window and press Enter:

Enter the Mac administrator password when prompted.


For video thumbnails, Finder’s Quicklook only covers a handful of file types. However, you can extend its features with third-party extension files. One of these extensions, called QLVideo, adds avi, flv, and several other videos to the Quicklook directory. QLVideo makes browsing files easier for those with large video libraries.

About the author


Leave a Comment