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There are times when I want to preview file content in Windows Explorer.  The Preview pane in Explorer makes this a simple task.  Just click the Preview pane button and select the file as shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2.


Figure 1: The preview pane button.



Figure 2: Viewing a .txt file.

In this example I am previewing a .txt file.   Use the Ctrl + mouse wheel to change the zoom level on the text. Also, ALT+P toggles the preview pane.

Adding your own extensions

Making a simple registry edit allows you to see other files, like .csproj and .xaml, in the preview pane.

Here’s how I did the XAML extension (see Figure 3).  

  • Open the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xaml key in Regedit. 
  • Add a string key named PerceivedType.
  • Set the value of the PerceivedType key to ‘text’.



Figure 3:  Adding a registry key.


Now you can preview the content.


Figure 4: Viewing the .xaml file

4 Responses to “Customize Windows 7 Preview pane for XAML files”

  1. [...] Customize the Windows 7 Preview Pane for XAML Files (Walt Ritscher) [...]

    • Lloyd Sheen says:

      Very cool. Any reason that does not work with all file types? I thought if you can do for XAML then why not .vb files. When I opened the .vb file extension in regedit it already has the PerceivedType key set to “text”. The preview tab will not show the contents saying “No Preview Available”

      • Walt Ritscher says:

        No, it should work. On my computer, the .cs extension works this way. But I just checked and .vb doesn’t work on mine. I also setup .vbproj and doesn’t show either. Time for some more research.

  2. [...] Preview pane for XAML files [...]

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