Microsoft’s PowerToys tools collection could soon become a new feature that is taking inspiration from Mac OS’ file preview feature. Called Peek, the tool allows users to preview many file formats, including media and text documents, directly in File Explorer.
Once installed, all that is required is to tap on Space-key while a file is selected to preview it directly in File Explorer. The preview is displayed in an overlay on the screen and the entire operation is quick and fluent.
File Explorer does have a preview feature for certain file types, but it takes away from the File Explorer window when activated and previews are limited in size.
A demo video is available that highlights controls and the preview feature for still images. The user selects several images in File Explorer and uses the shortcut to preview them directly in the overlay that opens immediately after the shortcut is triggered.
The actual previewing of images is quick and fluent, but PowerToys has a limitation that may reduce the experience for users. Unlike the Mac OS tool or the third-party Windows tools mentioned before, PowerToys does not support single-key shortcuts. Hitting Space to preview a file in File Explorer is not supported and because of that, Shift-Space is being used.
Good news is that it is possible to change the keyboard shortcut, but it always needs to be a combination of keys that need to be pressed to trigger the preview feature.
The initial release in PowerToys would support more features according to the poster on Reddit. Nothing has been mentioned yet in regards to these features.
PowerToys Peek is “much faster” than the file preview feature of Quicklook, according to MSFT-SAM, who published the information on Reddit.
We’ve had similar experiences when testing other apps. We did some performance tests and concluded that our prototype was much faster to show the preview than Quicklook. Something like 10x faster on average. Our performances were similar, at times better, than the File Explorer Preview Pane.
Quicklook is an excellent feature that improves file previewing in the default file manager significantly. Windows users may use third-party tools for that, which support the single-key shortcut that the Mac OS feature supports, or PowerToys, provided that the feature lands in a development version and later a stable release version.
Now You: what is your take on PowerToys? Do you run them on your devices?