Raw Right Away  3.5.1

Transform MacOS Finder into a better place to manage your Nikon Raw (.NEF), Canon Raw 2 (.CR2), Sony Raw (.ARW) and JPEG image files.

Caption text size is now adjustable!

Raw Right Away supports the new Nikon D850, Canon 6D Mark II, and Sony Alpha 9

Video Tour


Instant previews!

Metadata at-a-glance

Restore file timestamps

Tagging and searching

Raw Right Away is a fast OS X Quick Look generator and suite of basic metadata utilities for Nikon Raw (.NEF), Canon Raw 2 (.CR2), Sony Raw (.ARW) and JPEG image files. The preview generator runs very quickly, so you are no longer made to wait while browsing raw images.

In Finder, select any file of these types and press spacebar. The system will automatically call Raw Right Away to generate an enhanced preview that includes photo metadata and a graphical summary of exposure settings.

You can customize the appearance of previews and thumbnails in Finder with embedded captions that include timestamp, frame number, or file name.

Raw Right Away also provides several image metadata utilities directly within Finder. They include services to restore timestamps and to export metadata as tags.


  1. Purchase Raw Right Away from the Mac App Store.
  2. Run /Applications/Raw Right Away once.


Raw Right Away is invoked automatically by MacOS so it is always available. To preview a .NEF, .CR2, .ARW, or JPEG file, just select the file(s) in Finder and press spacebar (or Command-Y) as you would normally. There is no separate application to run.

Spacebar previews also work with files that appear as desktop icons, in file dialog listings, and in Spotlight search results. Raw Right Away does not change the file association, so the same image viewer or editor will be launched when you double-click.


Previews include an exposure summary in the right margin as well as a full page of metadata.

Multiple files

To preview multiple files: select the files, press spacebar, and press the grid-view button at the upper left of the preview window. The example below shows optional fixed-ratio thumbnails and timestamp + frame number captions enabled.





Preview aspect ratio

Thumbnail aspect ratio

Under MacOS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and newer, configuration options are set in the preferences dialog. To access preferences, launch the Raw Right Away application and select Raw Right Away > Preferences (keyboard shortcut ⌘,). The default values are shown below:


For best performance with slow disks, Raw Right Away may display previews and thumbnails at lower resolutions. This option lets you override this feature.


By default, all Raw Right Away previews are enhanced by an additional page of image metadata and an exposure metadata summary. The multiple preview pages can be selected from the right sidebar.

This preference option determines when these additional pages appear. You can suppress metadata for images without exposure information (i.e. images not generated by digital cameras, such as a JPEG screen capture), or disable the metadata displays for all images.

Note that captions and the fixed-ratio thumbnail/preview options are also disabled when metadata is not shown.


Raw Right Away can embed an informational caption within the image itself. Note that this option makes no changes to the original file; it only changes its appearance in previews and thumbnails.

The five caption modes are Off, Timestamp, Frame number, Timestamp and frame number, and File name. An example of each mode is shown below:

The caption text size can be set to small, medium, or large. The samples above show large captions.

Preview aspect ratio

Sets the aspect ratio of the preview window. A fixed ratio (landscape, portrait or square) will not move around as you scroll through images of varying dimensions.

Thumbnail aspect ratio

Sets the aspect ratio of image thumbnails (the file icons that appear in Finder and on the Desktop).

Alternative method: numeric option codes (for MacOS X 10.9 Mavericks)

Unfortunately, the preferences dialog cannot be used to set options under 10.9. Instead, the options must be set by inserting a number code in the name of the Raw Right Away application itself. The number code is the sum of the individual option codes. The codes are:

Resolution (choose one): automatic=0, always high=64, always low=128. Metadata (choose one): show always=0, only when exposure information is available=32768, disable=65536. Captions (choose one): off=0, timestamp=512, frame number=1024, timetamp and frame number=1536, file name=2048. Caption text size (choose one): large=0, medium=4096, small=8192. Preview aspect ratio (choose one): landscape=0, portrait=1, square=2, variable=3. Thumbnail aspect ratio (choose one): landscape=0, portrait=8, square=16, variable=24. Metadata language (choose one): automatic=0, English=16777216, Spanish=33554432, French=50331648, Italian=67108864, German=83886080.

For example, to enable portrait previews (1) and file name captions (2048), rename /Applications/Raw Right Away to /Applications/Raw Right Away.2049.


Copy Metadata

Apply Camera Timestamp

Apply World Timestamp

Export Metadata to Tags

Clear Exported Tags

Raw Right Away includes five metadata utilities that appear as Services within Finder. To run a Service, select one or more image files and right-click for the Services menu (you can also select the service from the menu bar as shown below).

Copy Metadata

This service copies metadata from the selected file(s) to the pasteboard so it can be pasted into an e-mail message, text document, etc.

In Finder, highlight the image files you want select either Finder > Services > Copy Metadata from the menu bar, or right-click for the context menu and select Copy Metadata from there:

Apply Camera Timestamp

This service sets the selected file(s) creation and modification times to the timestamp embedded within the image. The timestamp is not adjusted for time zone, so a photo of the Eiffel Tower taken at noon would be assigned a timestamp of noon, even if your computer is located in California.

Apply World Timestamp

This service is the same as Apply Camera Timestamp, except it adjusts for time zone. If time zone information is unavailable, the unadjusted timestamp is applied.

Export Metadata to Tags

This service assigns MacOS X tags to the selected files based on their metadata. These tags make it easy to search for photos in the Finder search box by reviewing lists of what's available — such as camera model, camera serial numbers, lens, angle-of-view ranges, scene brightness ranges, shutter speed ranges, and so on.

Note: tagging does not work reliably with some remote filesystems. This is a limitation of the operating environment.

Export Metadata to Tags must be run before an image file's metadata is available for searching by tag. Tags persist until cleared, however, so it is not necessary to export them again. The tags that will be exported appear in red text within the preview's metadata display.

To search metadata by tag, enter the beginning of the tag string in the Finder search box. Finder will produce a list of matching tags as you type. For example, to search for images taken with a specific lens, type lens: in the search box:

You can narrow the search further by specifying additional tags. The number of choices available will diminish as you continue.

These tag categories are available: camera (camera model), cameraserial (body serial number), aspect (landscape | portrait | square), flash (on or off), lens (genericized lens description), angle (angle of view), shutter (shutter speed range), wideopen (yes or no), and brightness (LV range).

Clear Exported Tags

This service removes Raw Right Away tags but leaves other tags alone.


Nikon NEF

Canon CR2

Sony ARW


Raw Right Away Previews support four formats: NEF, CR2, ARW, and JPEG.

Raw Right Away Services (e.g. Export Metadata to Tags, Apply Camera Timestamp, etc.) provide the same support for NEF, CR2, ARW and JPEG — and also provide limited support for other image formats supported by the operating system such as TIFF and DNG.

System Requirements

Raw Right Away 3.5.1 runs on MacOS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or newer. JPEG file support and the Preferences dialog require MacOS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or newer. Important information for MacOS X 10.9 Mavericks users .

Nikon Raw (.NEF)

Raw Right Away has been tested with .NEF files from these Nikon cameras: D1x, D2h, D2x, D2xs, D3, D3s, D3x, D4, D4s, D5, Df, D40, D50, D60, D70, D70s, D80, D90, D100, D200, D300, D300s, D500, D600, D610, D700, D750, D800, D800e, D810, D810a, D850, D3000, D3100, D3200, D3300, D3400, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500, D5600, D7000, D7100, D7200, D7500, Nikon 1 AW1, Nikon 1 J1, Nikon 1 J2, Nikon 1 J3, Nikon 1 J4, Nikon 1 J5, Nikon 1 S1, Nikon 1 S2, Nikon 1 V1, Nikon 1 V2 and Nikon 1 V3.

  • Shutter count is available for the D2x and all Nikon models released after 2005.
  • Nikon D1x, D2h and D100 previews appear at lower resolution.
  • Nikon D1 (original 1999 model): no preview image support, metadata only.
  • Coolpix .NRW files are not handled by Raw Right Away. They will be previewed by the default generator.

Canon Raw 2 (.CR2)

Raw Right Away has been tested with .CR2 files from these Canon cameras: EOS-1D Mark II, EOS-1D Mark II N, EOS-1D Mark III, EOS-1D Mark IV, EOS-1D X, EOS-1D X Mark II, EOS-1Ds Mark II, EOS-1Ds Mark III, EOS 5D, EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 5D Mark IV, EOS 5DS, EOS 5DS R, EOS 6D, EOS 6D Mark II, EOS 7D, EOS 7D Mark II, EOS 20D, EOS 30D, EOS 40D, EOS 50D, EOS 60D, EOS 70D, EOS 77D, EOS 80D, EOS 100D/Rebel SL1, EOS 200D/Rebel SL2, EOS 350D, EOS 400D, EOS 450D, EOS 500D/Rebel T1i, EOS 550D/Rebel T2i, EOS 600D/Rebel T3i, EOS 650D/Rebel T4i, EOS 700D/Rebel T5i, EOS 760D/Rebel T6s, EOS 800D/Rebel T7i, EOS 1000D/Rebel XS, EOS 1100D/Rebel T3, EOS 1200D/Rebel T5, EOS 1300D/Rebel T6, EOS M, EOS M3, EOS M5, EOS M6, EOS M100, PowerShot G1 X, PowerShot G7 X, PowerShot G7 X Mark II, PowerShot G9, PowerShot G9 X, PowerShot G9X Mark II, PowerShot G10, PowerShot G11, PowerShot G12, PowerShot G15, PowerShot G16, PowerShot S90, PowerShot S95, PowerShot S100, PowerShot S110, PowerShot S120, PowerShot SX1 IS and PowerShot SX50 HS.

  • Shutter count is not available for Canon cameras.

Sony Raw (.ARW)

Raw Right Away has been tested with .ARW files from these Sony cameras: DSC-RX1, DSC-RX1R, DSC-RX1RM2, DSC-RX10, DSC-RX10M2, DSC-RX10M3, DSC-RX100, DSC-RX100M2, DSC-RX100M3, DSC-RX100M4, DSC-RX100M5, DSLR-A230, DSLR-A290, DSLR-A330, DSLR-A350, DSLR-A380, DSLR-A450, DSLR-A500, DSLR-A550, DSLR-A560, DSLR-A580, DSLR-A850, DSLR-A900, ILCA-77M2, ILCA-99M2, ILCE-3000, ILCE-5000, ILCE-5100, ILCE-6000, ILCE-6300, ILCE-6500, ILCE-7, ILCE-7M2, ILCE-7R, ILCE-7RM2, ILCE-7S, ILCE-7SM2, ILCE-9, ILCE-QX1, NEX-3N, NEX-5, NEX-5N, NEX-5R, NEX-5T, NEX-6, NEX-7, NEX-C3, NEX-F3, SLT-A33, SLT-A35, SLT-A37, SLT-A55V, SLT-A57, SLT-A58, SLT-A65V, SLT-A77V, and SLT-A99V. Models with names ending in 'V' are generally file compatible with their non-V counterpart.

  • Shutter count is available for these Sony models: DSLR-A230, DSLR-A290, DSLR-A330, DSLR-A380, DSLR-A390, DSLR-A450, DSLR-A500, DSLR-A550, DSLR-A560, DSLR-A580, DSLR-A850, DSLR-A900, ILCA-77M2, ILCA-99M2, ILCE-3000, ILCE-5000, ILCE-5100, ILCE-6000, ILCE-6300, ILCE-6500, ILCE-7, ILCE-7M2, ILCE-7R, ILCE-7RM2, ILCE-7S, ILCE-7SM2, ILCE-QX1, NEX-3, NEX-3N, NEX-5, NEX-5N, NEX-5R, NEX-5T, NEX-6, NEX-7, NEX-C3, NEX-F3, SLT-A33, SLT-A33V, SLT-A35, SLT-A35V, SLT-A37, SLT-A37V, SLT-A55, SLT-A55V, SLT-A57, SLT-A57V, SLT-A58, SLT-A58V, SLT-A65, SLT-A65V, SLT-A77, SLT-A77M2, SLT-A77V, SLT-A99 and SLT-A99V.


Raw Right Away supports valid JPEG files produced by all cameras, including Nikon, Canon and Sony models not listed above, as well as all other manufacturers.

Due to a bug in MacOS X 10.9, JPEG support from Raw Right Away is only available under MacOS X 10.10 and later.

General Notes

Not all metadata is available for all cameras.

Raw Right Away is an image previewer, not an image editor or a plug-in for image editors.

Depending on your image editor settings, Raw Right Away previews may appear with minor color differences from your editor's display.

The MacOS Quick Look system makes extensive use of caching, so option changes may not take effect immediately. This is especially true of image thumbnails (icons). To clear the Quick Look cache, open a terminal window and type qlmanage -r cache. This will help, but the Finder cache may continue to display older thumbnails for a little while.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I just installed Raw Right Away and nothing seems to have changed. What's wrong?

Occasionally Mac OS fails to fully update its Launch Services database after a new Quick Look generator is installed. Reboot your computer and Raw Right Away should work.

2. How do I contact the developer with a help request, comment, suggestion, bug report, or other question?

Send e-mail to rawrightaway@gmail.com.

3. What file formats does Raw Right Away support?

Raw Right Away supports Nikon Raw (.NEF), Canon Raw 2 (.CR2), Sony Raw (.ARW) and JPEG. Coolpix .NRW files and Canon first-generation .CRW files will be previewed by MacOS's default generators. See the compatibility section for more information.

4. Will Raw Right Away alter the contents of my files?

No. Raw Right Away does not alter the contents of image files in any way.

Note that the Raw Right Away services Apply Camera Timestamp and Apply World Timestamp will alter the file creation and modification dates. And the service Export Metadata to Tags and Clear Exported Tags will add/remove Mac OS X tags.

5. Why do some preference changes not take effect immediately?

The MacOS X Quick Look system and Finder itself will cache previously-rendered thumbnail and preview images for better performance.

6. How can I uninstall Raw Right Away?

Delete /Applications/Raw Right Away and empty the Trash. Note that some image thumbnails may remain in the cache for a short while, or until the next login/reboot.

7. How is the "angle:" tag defined?

The "angle:" tag categorizes the apparent magnification of the image according to the diagonal angle-of-view, which is a function of the sensor area and focal length.

With an uncropped full-frame sensor, the five angle categories correspond to the following focal length ranges: ultrawide = <22mm, wide = <35mm, normal = <70mm, telephoto = <300mm, supertelephoto = 300mm+.

8. How is the "shutter:" tag defined?

The "shutter:" tag categorizes shutter speed into five ranges: very fast = <1/2000s, fast = <1/500, moderate = <1/30s, slow = <1s, and very slow = 1s+.

If angle-of-view is available, the reciprocity rule is applied: the range is downgraded to "moderate" if the shutter speed is longer than 1/2f (35mm equivalent) or to "slow" if it is longer than 1/f.

9. How is the "brightness:" tag defined?

The "brightness:" tag categorizes overall scene brightness by light value (LV) of the exposure.

The five brightness ranges are: very low = <0 LV, low = <4 LV, moderate = <8 LV, high = <12 LV, very high = 12+ LV.

10. If I select too many files, the Services options disappear. What gives?

MacOS imposes a limit of 1,000 files per service invocation.

Copyright 2015 Thomas Washburn. All Rights Reserved.