MacOS Quicklook plugin for gtf and gff3 files?
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12 months ago
kalavattam ▴ 190

Does anyone know of any MacOS Quicklook plugins that can handle gtf and/or gff3 files? Google searches are turning up nothing.

gtf gff3 MacOS • 1.7k views
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These are text format files so why do you need a plugin?

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Because of their extensions, they seem to not be handled by vanilla Quicklook.

But maybe I don't need a plugin? I'm looking for a quick way to peruse the contents of gtf and gff3 files that I'm writing.

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head in your shell terminal?

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Yeah, this'll work, although it's not ideal for my use case with very large numbers of files, e.g.,

find ./path/etc/ -type f -name "*.gtf" -exec head -20 {} +
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What do you want to do with this functionality? If we are talking about the same quicklook then that is simply a way of looking inside a file. You could also highlight file(s) --> "right click" --> "Open with" --> "TextEdit" to get more or less the same experience.

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Sorry if I was not clear, I was looking for a way to be able to press the space bar to have a Quicklook window open, which would allow a user to quickly see the initial contents of the file. With Quicklook open, the user can use the up and down arrows to quickly view the contents of other gtf/gff3 files in the directory. At least on my system with OS Ventura 13.0.1, your suggestion doesn't facilitate that.

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Change the Finder association so the files are opened with TextWrangler or BBEdit. Preview should then show content for moderately sized files at least.

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12 months ago
GenoMax 142k

I came across this: https://www.addictivetips.com/mac-os/add-quicklook-support-for-text-based-files-on-macos/ Sounds like it may work in your case. You can decide if you want to try it out.

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Thanks, yes, installing and running QLStephen ultimately works well. However, I found that getting the plugin to run properly and recognize gtf and gff3 files was a bit tricky. If anyone reading this encounters issues, here are some links for troubleshooting that I found helpful:

Regarding the last two points, you need to follow the steps in relevant comment #1 to obtain a value to be included in Info.plist as described in relevant comment #2.

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12 months ago
Joe 21k

You just need to tell MacOS to associate those extensions with a text editor.

Find one of the files in Finder -> Press Cmd + I and go to the "Open with" box -> Choose TextEdit (or you preferred app) -> Hit "Change all" to make that the default app for those extensions

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You will need to repeat the process with every extension just FYI.

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In my experience, this does not work. For example, I have my system set up to open gtf and gff3 files with text editor Sublime Text. When I space-bar a gtf or gff3 file via Finder, Quicklook shows me a small window with the name of the file and a Sublime Text graphic—but it does not show the contents of the file.

However, does this work for you? If so, can you post a screenshot of being able to space-bar over a gtf file and see the contents?

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I don't believe this will work with many 3rd party apps, but works with textedit.

I don't have a GTF or GFF3 to hand, but it should work the same as a genbank, so see below.

enter image description here

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Thanks, Joe — I will download a genbank file later and play around with it and some gtf/gff3 files on my other system, which has an unmodified QuickLook. I'll see if I can get QuickLook previews working without the need to install QLStephen.

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For what it's worth, the suggestion given by GenoMax, which is to install and run the QuickLook plugin QLStephen, does work.

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Thanks for confirming that. I moved my comment to an answer to provide closure to this thread.

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I've marked your post as an answer.

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