How to customize the Finder Preview Pane options on Mac

The Preview pane can be very helpful when you’re using Finder on your Mac. It gives you a quick glance at the file you select and includes details such as the date it was created, the tags you applied, and when it was last opened. For things like images and video files, you can see even more data like size, dimensions, and resolution.

The Preview pane can also give you Quick Actions, like the ability to rotate or mark up the file with a click. Each of the details you see in the Preview pane depends on the type of file you select, and that information can be customized. Here’s how to change the Finder Preview pane options on Mac to suit your needs.

How to show and use Finder Preview Pane on Mac

Open the Preview pane

If you don’t see the Preview pane on the right side of your Finder window, just open it from the menu bar by clicking View > Show Preview.

Show Preview pane in Finder on Mac

Customize what you see in the Finder Preview pane

For each of the file types below, you can click View > Show Preview Options from the menu bar to customize the details.

Customize image file options

The Preview Options for image files like JPG and PNG are more extensive than the other file types. And maybe even more helpful if you deal with images a lot.

You can choose to see the EXIF data for the images or just certain data. For example, you may want to view the device make and model, ISO speed, and white balance for every image at a glance.

Customize Preview Options for Finder on Mac

When you finish, just close the Preview Options window.

Customize common document options

For documents like Pages, Numbers, Word, Excel, or a text file, you have the same options to choose from for the details you see. First, select such a file. Next, click ViewShow Preview Options, and check or uncheck the details as you want them displayed. You can show tags, dates, and more items like keywords and where the document is from.

Customize common document options

Change PDF file options

With PDF files, you have a few additional options to pick from in the General section, like title, authors, pages, resolution, and description. Select those that you want to see in the Preview pane for PDF files.

PDF Preview Options Mac

Change video and audio file options

Video and audio files currently have the most details available of all file types. Along with the basics, you can choose to display city, state, country, performers, directors, producers, copyright, rating, and genre for video files.

For audio files, you can see details like audio channels, sample rate, bits per sample, codecs, recording date, and musical genre. For those working with video and audio files often, these details in the Preview pane can be very useful.

Video Audio Preview Options Mac

Customize the Quick Actions

At the bottom of the Preview pane, you’ll see Quick Actions that are also different per file type. For images, you’ll see the convert image, create PDF, Markup, and rotate actions. For video files, you’ll see the rotate and trim actions. (What you see here, depends on the macOS version you’re using.)

To adjust these options, click More > Customize. You can then check and uncheck the options here as well.

Customize Quick Actions in Finder Preview pane

If you don’t want to see Quick Actions at all, you can remove them and do this by file type too. Click View > Show Preview Options for that file and uncheck the box at the bottom for Show Quick Actions.

Uncheck Show Quick Actions for Finder Preview pane

Finder Preview sidebar on Mac

The Finder Preview pane is a handy way to see your files and file data quickly without having to open anything. Not only can you see a preview of the file contents, but related information that you might need to get quickly.

What are your thoughts on the Preview pane? Do you use it for everything or certain folders and file types?

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