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Scott Dorman Microsoft MVP, Software Architect, Developer, Author

Windows 7 includes a lot of improvements in the Windows Explorer. Most of them are fairly obvious, but the new preview pane is likely to go unnoticed (or passed over as the same as Vista’s preview pane) by a lot of people.

The new preview pane supports a much wider range of formats than the Windows XP and Windows Vista preview pane did, including the ability to preview HTML, text files, XML files, images, videos, music, and WordPad files without any additional software installed. If you have Microsoft Office installed, you get previews for all of the Office document formats and if Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed, you can preview PDF files.

To enable the preview pane, you can use the explorer toolbar button, the Organize menu, or by pressing Alt+P:

image image

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Posted on Saturday, May 16, 2009 5:18 PM Windows 7 | Back to top


Comments on this post: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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I'm very happy with Windows 7 so far. I think Microsoft has a REAL winner on their hands. I remain impressed with the speed and snappyness in which the OS works.

I agree that the preview pane is rather nice... I just so happened to be playing with it a bit this weekend. Thank you for this post!

EricSB
http://www.twitter.com/EricSB
Left by EricSB on May 18, 2009 8:17 AM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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Well yes, it's a great feature, but I've found the Adobe Acrobat Reader function doesn't actually work in practice. I can't determine if its a problem with Windows or with Acrobat, but my PDFs are not showing previews.
Left by Bill Bennett on Oct 15, 2009 3:35 PM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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Neither do any Office 2003 documents on Win 7 x64
Left by VJ on Oct 19, 2009 4:07 PM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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Hey Bill, I stumbled over the solution for PDF preview before recognizing there´s a problem with it... Look here: http://www.ditii.com/2009/09/11/fix-for-adobe-pdf-preview-handler-bug-in-64-bit-windows/
Since it is meant for 64bit-Windows, applying it to 32bit-Windows is quite easy: just leave out the "Wow6432Node" branch in the registry path.

Dirk
Left by Dirk Schwarzmann on Oct 20, 2009 6:46 PM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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The fix in teh registry change posted everywhere does not work for me. I am running windows 7 home premium
Left by help on Dec 02, 2009 9:39 AM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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The fix in the registry change posted everywhere does not work for me. I am running windows 7 home premium
Left by help on Dec 02, 2009 9:40 AM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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Is there any fix to WinExplorer Win 7 64 bit NOT previewing Office 2003 files (doc, xls, etc).....no one seems to be bothered about it but it is a royal pain for me....or any WinExplorer substitutes...PowerDesk was my favorite but does NOT work with Win 7...arrrgh!
Left by David Putnam on Feb 03, 2010 3:47 PM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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How do you keep the preview pane the same size evertime you open a folder, without having to drag it to the size you want. With vista the preview ane would stay the same size with windows 7 you have to resize it everytime you turn you comuter back on. This become a real pain!
Left by M Mike on Apr 02, 2010 9:10 AM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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Preview pane shows all the office documents but the power point presentation! Is there any setting to preview ppt. Please help.
Left by MA Hussain on Nov 23, 2010 6:44 AM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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I'm having an issue with this. I only see the tiles in either of the windows of explorer - should I not be able to see the image - hence the name "preview pane"? what have I not turned on???
Left by Dario Mavric on Nov 28, 2010 9:06 PM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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i have problem with preview pane option ... its working with sum files and giving problem with sum files is any solution ????
Left by Babu Desai on Feb 02, 2011 3:39 AM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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How to preview files with another application, according to the extension?
Left by MRT on Apr 05, 2012 2:35 AM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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Even without Adobe installed, you can preview PDF files with PDF Preview Handler offered by Vivid Document Solutions free of charge,

http://www.win7pdf.com/pdf-preview.html
Left by Alicia Martinez on Apr 27, 2012 9:59 PM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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I dont see the preview icon where it should be. Not under the layout nor under the menu bar. What shall I do???
Left by Bikram Singh on Nov 28, 2012 9:11 PM

# re: Windows 7 Explorer Preview Pane
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Dear Team,

i am not able to see the preview of my Autocad files in preview pane .....i have done all the basic exercise with the help of google browsing ....but it doesnt work for me ...........please help me to fix it
Left by Yogesh on Jul 11, 2013 1:52 AM

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