Microsoft PowertoysSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

What you need to know

  • A group of Microsoft engineers created a prototype of a PowerToys tool for previewing files.
  • The feature, known as Peek, can preview files in as little as 40 milliseconds.
  • A similar feature called Quick Look is available on macOS.

Microsoft PowerToys could potentially get a feature called Peek that would allow users to preview files quickly. A Microsoft engineer shared a video of the feature on Reddit. While the tool is only a prototype, it could find its way onto PowerToys at some point.

Peek is similar to a feature on macOS called Quick Look, which is quite popular. Third-party apps QuickLook and Seer attempt to replicate macOS's previewing capabilities on Windows as well.

Peek supports customizable keyboard shortcuts for previewing files. In its current form, you have to use a combination of keys to preview a file rather than simply pressing the spacebar.

For those questioning the need for a tool for previewing files, a Microsoft engineer explained the project on Reddit:

I guess the main difference between Peek and Photos is that Photos is a fully fledged viewer with viewing, editing and managing capabilities. Peek aims to be a super light-weight file previewer. On a similar machine to yours, opening the same file was around 40ms with Peek compared to 400ms with Photos. Although 400ms is quite fast, if you simply want to see a preview of a file without an enhanced viewing/editing experience, I'd say using the app that opens the file in 40ms is a no brainer.

While some files can be opened quickly, booting up an entire program just to double-check that a photo or file is correct may be a waste of time.

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PowerToys is a collection of utilities aimed at power users on Windows. It has tools for renaming files, previewing images, and searching through Windows.

Free at GitHub