How To Enable SVG preview with Windows Explorer


Windows File Explorer is arguably the most used “app” in Windows. While it gives you detailed information on what this file is, there are limitations on what you can see with certain file types .SVG is a good example where it’s technically an image in a vector format. Still, Windows Explorer treats this type of vector image differently from its counterparts, such as .jpg or .png, which are all raster-based images.

Windows itself rely on external applications to parse and open certain files. Out of the box File, Explorer cannot render a .SVG and show it as a preview with other image thumbnails. Thankfully, Microsoft’s PowerToys has a quick and easy way to add the ability to preview .SVG files like how it treats other images.

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Launch PowerToys, and find the File Explorer section. There are two options you can turn on the previews. The first is for preview panels, and the other probably what most people are looking for is the icon thumbnails preview. If you don’t use Preview Panel, you can leave it off.

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The result is something like this above. Windows File Explorer will show a tiny browser icon that is used to render this .svg preview. Here I have Microsoft Edge as the default browser. If your system uses Chrome, you will see a different icon on the SVG preview’s bottom corner.

Same thing with Preview Panel. Here is a comparison between when you have this function turned on vs off.

As a web developer by day, the ability to preview an .SVG file inside the Windows File Explorer can increase productivity and higher productivity happier life 🙂 Hope you find this useful as I do.


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