Review: Quick View Plus lets you read nearly any business file

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Quick View Plus Standard 12

    PCWorld Rating

    If you have older files you need to view, or want to enhance Windows' preview capabilities, this utility will do it.

Quick View Plus 12 Standard ($49, 30-day free trial) is nifty file-viewing utility for business users. It allows easy viewing—without having to open the originating program—of literally hundreds of file types, including word processing docs, spreadsheets, databases, and even compressed file archives produced by a myriad of programs. The kicker is that handles many older file types that you may no longer have the software for.

The list of supported files types supported by Quick View Plus 12 is impressive and can be found in a .pdf fact sheet available at vendor Avantstar Inc's website. New for version 12 are updated import filters for Adobe PDF, AutoCAD, Corel WordPerfect Office, some more esoteric Microsoft Office types, Open Office, Star Office, 7Zip archives, and a number or new MIME and email formats.

Quick View Plus integrates into Vista and Windows 7 and lets you use the existing Explorer preview pane, rather than open QVP's own, somewhat primitive, three-pane browsing/viewing application (which is all you get under XP). It also integrates with Outlook, the 32-bit Adobe Acrobat Reader X, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, and Mozilla Firefox 4 through 8 to provide preview capabilities. It also lets you view any type of file as text or hexadecimal, as well as copy information for pasting into other documents.

Quick View Plus Standard 12's standalone interface is capable, but boring.

I used Quick View Plus to preview dozens of different file types. The program handled all the graphics files I threw at it, with the exception of an EPS file of a bitmap graphic saved from Photoshop 5. It also handled all the Office files I threw at it, including the docx, xlsx, etc. formats of Office 2007 and 2010. My only complaint was that the PDF previews didn't seem as cleanly rendered as with Adobe Reader or Foxit Reader, and the color was reversed on some scanned PDF files.  Quick View Plus displays file and header info is displayed for file types it doesn't understand.

With the plethora of multimedia players available, it probably doesn't make sense for Avantstar to include music and video playback, but it would be nice—especially in the Professional version, which costs $495. The pro version adds features that most users won't need, but could be key for some corporate citizens, such as deeper support for Microsoft Office revisions, hidden columns, speaker presentation notes, etc. Vector formats and PDF graphics (perhaps those that didn't display properly for my in the standard version), are also handled more accurately.

Quick View Plus may not be necessary for everyone, but if you need it, it's indispensable.

Quick View Plus is a niche product and not worth the price for most of us, who will be just fine with the native Windows preview capabilities. Those of stuck with the Windows 8 needn't even try QVP, which isn't supported on Win8. But it can be worth its weight in gold for those looking to preview obsolete file types, or for anyone who regularly needs to search or preview lots of less common document types.

Note: The Download button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software appropriate to your system.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    If you have older files you need to view, or want to enhance Windows' preview capabilities, this utility will do it.

    Pros

    • Previews hundreds of file types
    • Integrates into Windows/File Explorer and apps
    • No Windows 8 support

    Cons

    • Still no support for movies or music
    • Clunky standalone interface
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