QLI Explorer

This software is Licenced under the GPL v3 open source license.

QLI Thumbnail and CSQ Thumbnail Plugin for Windows File Explorer

To download the QLI Explorer installer, qli_explorer_setup.exe, see the download and README links below. This software is free and available under the terms of the open source GPL v3 public license.

Thumbnail and Preview Plugin

This software installs a .CSQ and .QLI file format preview and thumbnail plugin for Windows 8 and 10. Note that the Windows installation needs to be 64 bit mode. (It will not work for 32 bit Windows systems.)

This means you can see your QLI and CSQ files in the regular Windows file explorer tool. It makes it very easy to visually scan hundreds of QLI and CSQ files. Kim uses this tool to show customers all the files directly from her computer, you don't need to be running Creative Studio.


This software also installs some command line tools called qlitool that performs some management operations on QLI and CSQ files. This is a console program and can to be run from a command line (cmd.exe). qlitool has the following sub-commands:




To get help on these commands, from a command line run:

  qlitool arrange --help

  qlitool clean_files --help

  qlitool to_svg --help


"arrange" will copy all qli and csq files in the given files and folders into an "arrangement" directory. If files already exist in the arrangement directory, they are not copied. Files are compared by file content (not file names). If two different files names but have the same file name, they are both copied but one with the file names suffixed with a '-vN'.

This tools is for people who copy their QLI and CSQ files to various other places and have some on thumb drives or different locations on the hard drive. This will copy all the files into a single directory only if it does not already exist in that directory or the sub-driectories. So, if you have a bunch of directories where you have arranges CSQ and QLI files in various directories, and you don't know if you have already copied the files from a thumb drive into that directory, the arrange tool will scan your thumb drive (or any location you choose) and then only copy the QLI and CSQ files that are not already in the destination directory.


"clean_files" will rename any .qli files that are invalid (not readable by Creative Studio) to a different suffix so Creative Studio will not crash. Sometimes Creative Studio wil stop unexpectedly when searching for a QLI or CSQ file becuase the file is corrpted. (Bad Creative Studio). qlitool clean_files will check a directory (and sub directories recursively) looking for files that are not valid/corrupted so that Creative Studio will not try to read them and crash.


"to_svg" performs conversion from QLI and CSQ files to SVG (Scaleable Vector Graphics) format which allows the patterns to be viewed from web pages. This will work with both CSQ and QLI files.


Kim seems to be satisfied with the this for now. The software has been running on her computers for 2 years. There is an occasional problem with the preview COM server crashing on CSQ files on some computers, but I haven't taken the time to diagnose it. As far as fidelity goes, I have'nt yet found a file it won't render so we're good but please send me QLI or CSQ files that you think it doesn't handle properly so I can debug it.

I might take the time to write an SVG to CSQ converter or even a QLI to CSQ converter but currently I'm working on a 3D printing tools and have just now released PythonOpenScad where I plan to create some tools for making 3D models via Python code.

Source Code

The full source code for qli_explorer is available here. (Not on the master branch, on the v1.91 branch). The code here is much more than just qli_explorer. qlitool will run on Linux as well as Windows but I have yet to write a GTK thumbnailer for Linux.


Building qli_explorer on Windows is best done using MS Visual Studio and Cygwin (Cygwin is used for build tools, not code generation). The QLI parser code uses Boost C++ Spirit. I had to work around a compiler code generation bug that was exposed by the Spirit parser generator template magic so that might be a problem porting to newer versions of Visual Studio. (Use v1.92 for new builds, there are fixes for Arm builds.) 


The sha256 hash for v1.91 qli_explorer_setup.exe is as below:

e7be17be884790e0747463aaf64aa46b2d790a375570b35572b019054334bbae  qli_explorer_setup.exe

Download links for the setup.exe for QLI Explorer and qlitools is below.