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Quick Tip: How To Change a File's Default Application


Have you ever clicked to open a file and up it pops in an Application you never use? Or maybe it's a file type that you access a lot but you only want it to open up in a specific Application, like Preview. You can quickly and easily change the default Application for a single file, or the entire file type across OS X. Let's find out how.

Quick Tip: How To Change A File's Default Application

Changing a Single File's Default Application

To change the default Application associated with a single file, you can right click on the file and select Get Info, or you can select the file and hit the keyboard shortcut Command+I, and the info window will open for that file.

In the info window, you will see all kinds of information about the file you have selected. Towards the middle you will see a section called Open with. Clicking the triangle to twirl it open you can see the information for the associated Application of the file.

Selecting A New Application From The Drop Down Menu Will Change The Application That File Opens With
Selecting A New Application From The Drop Down Menu Will Change The Application That File Opens With

You will see a drop down list of applications that can open and understand the file format. Selecting a new application from this list will make this single file open up with the selected application, instead of the system default application.

Changing the Default Application for a File Format

If you want to change the default application for a file format entirely across OS X, you simply click the button labeled "Change All" after you have selected the desired application.

OS X will give you a dialogue box asking if you want to change the associated application system wide. Click "Continue" and now all of the files that are the same file format (.PDF, .Doc, etc.) will open with the new default application you just assigned.

Keep in mind that any single files you have set to open with an application other than the system default will still open with that application. In other words, the settings for individual files will override the system settings.

Clicking The "Change All" Button Will Change The Default Application Across OS X For That File Format

Any single files you have set to open with an application other than the system default will still open with that application.

Other and App Store

You have two other options at the end of the list of applications that you can assign as the system default. If you have an application that you want to assign but is not in the list, you can select "other" and chose your application.

If you have a file that doesn't seem to have any application that can open it, or if you just want to see what other applications are available, you can select "App Store" to open the App Store and see all the Apps that can understand that file format.

You Can Select An Application Not In The Drop Down Or See Apps In The App Store That Can Be Used With The File Format
You can see apps in the app store that can be used with the file format


As you can see, OS X gives you complete control over opening your files in the applications you want, and also lends a helping hand if you need an application to open a file via the App Store.

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