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Windows 7 - Preview other file types as text in Preview Pane

so many times, i have to open config files to confirm they have correct settings.

it would be awesome if there was a quicker way to to see what's inside without having to load the file into a text editor, and than close it.

I am curious if anyone has come across this problem, and if any utilities exist that could offer quick peek on right lick ? i tried a few google searches but nothing interesting came up

  • What could be simpler? Can you explain more? Do you want a program that can give a precis? – Xavierjazz Jan 25 '13 at 20:22
  • From a command line: Cat foo.ini – EBGreen Jan 25 '13 at 20:26
  • i'd have to open command line to that location, and than type it out.. how's that quicker than just right click > open in editor ? – Sonic Soul Jan 25 '13 at 20:28
  • @Xavierjazz looking for a utility to peek into a text file while in windows UI w/out having to open the file in some editor – Sonic Soul Jan 25 '13 at 20:28
  • @SonicSoul It's not, but nothing really is. That is why it was a comment not an answer. – EBGreen Jan 25 '13 at 20:28

In Windows Explorer you can press Alt-P to bring up the preview pane that shows you previews of txt files (and various other file types) out of the box. As for text files that have a different suffix, this has been answered in Windows 7 - Preview other file types as text in Preview Pane

  • EXACTLY what i was looking for. i was not aware of this cool hack, thanks! – Sonic Soul Jan 28 '13 at 14:58

There's always findstr if you're looking for a command-line utility.


This would allow you to search multiple docs to find out if any of them have the value you're looking for.

If you're looking for something like a preview pane... Dolphin maybe? Previews are generally used for pictures as they're easier to verify by thumbnail. text not so much. You'd either need to find an embedded editor or a file manager that supports this.

  • that's a cool util! not really what i was looking for.. i'm just trying to preview what's in a specific file.. but always good to find new tools :) – Sonic Soul Jan 28 '13 at 14:59

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