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Fileloupe a solid companion app for the OS X Finder, Photos, iMovie, more

Corduroy Code’s Fileloupe for Mac OS X Yosemite and El Capitan combines the features of a photo viewer, video player and document browser into a single, fast utility the complements several apps that come with the operating system. It can easily handle thousands of files with smooth scrolling and fluid window resizing.

File managers like the OS X Finder are great for performing file management tasks and for showing thumbnails of files in a hierarchical fashion. However, they aren’t particularly designed for displaying files at full size, displaying multiple files at the same time or at showing files in a single window that are located across folder or volume boundaries. 

Harnessing the power of Apple’s Quick Look technology, Fileloupe offers users one of the fastest ways to browse, view and share photos, videos, PDFs and documents. Quick Look is a a quick preview feature that Apple introduced in Mac OS X 10.5. While OS X’s Finder has always had icon previews, Quick Look allows users to look at the contents of a file in the Finder at full or near-full size (depending on the size of the document relative to the screen resolution).

Fileloupe doesn’t require a lengthy import process, doesn’t use a master library and never moves or copies your files. It eliminates the need to have to open multiple windows or multiple applications to quickly view the contents of a folder. Videographers, in particular, will really appreciate Fileloupe’s media browsing capabilities and advanced video playback controls.

The app boasts a fast image viewer for both thumbnail and full size display. There’s copy & paste and drag & drop support for inserting images into third-party applications. And there’s support for most common image formats including RAW photos.

When it comes to photos, FileLoupe isn’t designed to replace apps like Apple’s Photos or Adobe Lightroom, but is a convenient companion tool for when you want to view, but not import, a folder of photos. It’s also useful for browsing images and graphics — items that graphic designers and web developers typically wouldn’t import into photo management software.

For videos, Fileloupe offers a solid solution for videographers. Photos and Lightroom playback video fairly well, but aren’t really designed for that. iMovie and Final Cut Pro X are better at video playback, but their specialty (especially FCPX) is editing and composition. They’re not built for opening a large number of files at once and offer little more than basic support for browsing or previewing files before opening them. 

You can use Fileloupe’s advanced video playback controls to view slow-motion video shot on an iPhone, DSLR or action camera. For example, heavy duty users of action cameras like GoPros and DSLRs can use Fileloupe to quickly see all of the video clips they’ve recorded before importing them to iMovie, FCPX, or Adobe Premiere. 

Plus, you can watch slow-motion GoPro footage and view all videos straight from a memory card. Additional frame-by-frame and scrubbing controls allow for precise frame navigation during viewing, and individual frames can be exported as images. 

For PDFs and documents, Fileloupe offers a useful way to filter and find documents you might be interested in. Just drag a large folder to the app and filter by document type. The optimized PDF mode is best experienced with complex documents like maps and schematics. In fact, Fileloupe’s “View as Drawing” mode is quicker and more efficient than Preview in Mac OS X. 

The Fileloupe PDF viewer lets you view several PDF documents side by side — and examine different sections of a single PDF document within the same window. There’s advanced support for viewing complex PDF documents, like maps and schematics, in a high-performance mode that dramatically improves scrolling and zooming. 

Support for filtering, flagging and sorting makes it easy to find and select specific files for viewing, sharing or to use in another application. Fileloupe is extensible via third-party Quick Look plugins to add previewing support for files that aren’t natively supported by OS X.

You can use Fileloupe’s “Duplicate” feature to create a virtual copy of a selected item. Duplicated items are a great way to view different sections of the same PDF document or video at the same time. Duplicated items are only duplicated within Fileloupe.; the file itself is not duplicated. 

You can use Fileloupe’s “Stage Item” feature to pin an item on the left side of the viewer. A staged item will remain pinned on the left side of the viewer as you continue to navigate. Staging an item offers a handy way to compare similar items side-by-side to find the best one.

Not everyone will need Fileloupe. However, if you find the viewing/browsing features of OS X Finder, Photos, and iMovie a bit limited, this companion tool (which isn’t intended to replace any of those apps) can be a great time-saver although I do wish you could drag and drop items directly from inside Photos or iMove into Fileloupe. Instead, you must drag a folder with pictures, movies, etc., into the app’s window.

However, this apparently isn’t Fileloupe’s fault. The way the new Photos app works is a bit, well, different. Since your photos are “in the cloud,” any time you drag ‘n drop from the Photos application you’re technically exporting the file. Photos doesn’t return the “path” to the file because the path could technically be somewhere deep in Photos’ proprietary library. (Neither Photoshop CC nor Pixelmator can accept drags from Photos either.)

Even if you create a secondary library with Photos and make sure that all the photos you import are referenced files, you still can’t drag-and-drop out of it, even though the original file might easily be located on your Desktop or inside the “Pictures” folder. Photos really doesn’t want other applications “poking around” and accessing the original files. 

I use the Photos application for browsing photos taken with my iPhone 6 Plus because there’s really no other application that can access iCloud in the way that Apple’s apps can. But for other other photos (DSLR, GoPro footage, etc.), they’ree stored in local folders or external drives and easily viewed in Fileloupe without having to go through the length import process with Photos.

Fileloupe costs $29.99. It’s available worldwide through the Mac App Store.

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Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.