Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Quicklook plugins for EPUB files

Some epub apps will install basic epub support for QuickLook. So you may already be able to view epub files with Quicklook. Either way, here are a couple of QuickLook plugins that will provide quick access to the ebook’s cover image (assuming it has one) and to any metadata stored in the epub in both QuickLook and Spotlight.

For example, here’s the QuickLook view of one book on my computer, as generated by this plugin:

Epub quicklook

Follow these steps to achieve this great QuickLook functionality on your Mac:

1) Download the ePub Plugins v1.5.dmg file from here (NB. the version number in the file name might be newer).

2) Open the DMG file and follow the instructions in there. Or the instructions below…

You’ll need to drag the epub.qlgenerator file into /Library/QuickLook (for all users) or ~/Library/QuickLook (for the current user only). I suggest you make life easy and just put it into the one for all users, as there is already a shortcut in the DMG file to drag it to.

Then drag the epub.mdimporter file into /Library/Spotlight (for all users) or ~/Library/Spotlight (for the current user only). Again, if you can just go with the one for all users, as there is a shortcut in the DMG for that.

Kicking Spotlight into life

On my computer, Spotlight automatically pulled in data from my epub files. However, the developer of the plugin indication you may need to first make it index your EPUB files. One way he suggests for doing this is to run and enter this command:

(if you put the plugin into your All Users / System Library)

mdimport -r /Library/Spotlight/epub.mdimporter

or (if you put the plugin into your user library

mdimport -r ~/Library/Spotlight/epub.mdimporter

Spotlight will create a preview similar to this…

Quick Look UI Helper

Kicking QuickLook into life

After a few seconds QuickLook should load new plugin. If it is not loading as quickly as you would like, you can type the following command into to give it a move along.

qlmanage -r

Conflict with other QuickLook generators

epub.qlgenerator can conflict with other QuickLook generators (notably BetterZipQL under OS X 10.6 and earlier). To fix this, rename epub.qlgenerator to come before the conflicting plugin alphabetically (for example AA_epub.qlgenerator should work).

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    • As far as I can tell most, if not all, of the QL plugins I was using (on 10.8.x) are not working on Mavericks. I’ve not put time into finding a solution yet, although I gather something has changed in the way Mavericks handles QL plugins.

      I did come across this statement, “Apple has slowly been shifting from the QTKit framework which allows plugins to the AVKit framework which does not. The change in mavericks is that Quicktime X now uses the AVKit by default, which is why quick look no longer works with non-Apple codecs. ” whilst I was looking for a way to get my various video file formats to display in QL on Mavericks. Which perhaps explains why I can’t quicklook most non-default video formats. But that comment seems to be Quicktime specific, so I can’t say if it has any baring on what we’re discussing.

  1. Many thanks. Works fine on rMBP 15″ with 10.9. Double-clicking on the cover image in Dt opens the epub in iBooks – that’s plenty good enough for me.


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