Change the Default Application a File Opens With on Your Mac

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MORE: How to Force Quit an App in Mac OS X

Open with what application?

One of the nice things about the Mac is that when you double click on a file, it automatically opens in a default application. For example, double clicking on a Microsoft Word file should open that document in Word. Sometimes, however, the default setting isn't very helpful. Perhaps every JPG photo you double click is opening in Photoshop when you just want to preview it. Fortunately, it's easy to change your file associations in Mac OS X, if you follow these steps.

1. Select a file with the format you want to change (ex: an MP3, a JPG picture, an HTML file) in the Finder.

select the file in Finder

2. Right click on the file and choose “Get Info.”

Get Info


3. Change the application in the “Open with:” drop down. If you just want to change it for just this file, then stop here.

Change the Open With App

4. Click the Change All button and then choose “Continue.” This will cause all files of that type to open in the new application.

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Author Bio
Jennifer Kyrnin
Jennifer Kyrnin,
Jennifer Kyrnin has been building websites since 1995, and teaching others how to do it since 1997. She's written several books on the topic, and is probably working on another one right now. And she does it all on her beloved iMac and sometimes her MacBook Air.
Jennifer Kyrnin, on
Add a comment
  • Veera Says:

    This post saved me from annoying file opening errors. Thanks a lot.

  • Tucker Says:

    This was very helpful for reallocating all of my offline documents to open in Chrome so that I can use Google Docs. Thank you!!

  • Sandra Haven Says:

    Thanks! Exactly what I needed.

  • Shelly Says:

    This was very helpful. Thank you!

  • John Smith Says:

    This post was very helpful. Thank you!

  • Mark c Says:

    Step 5. Reboot
    Verified on osx 10.6.8

  • oussak Says:

    great, very helpful...............

  • Susan Says:

    Super helpful and easy to do. Thanks for posting!

  • Phill Says:

    Very quick and helpful, thank you very much :)

  • Dave R Says:

    Great instructions except they do not work on my Mid-2012 MacBook Pro running El Capitan. I'm trying to set the default audio player to VLC from Flip and cannot ever find any screen that gives me a choice to change the default player. As soon as I click on "open with" the file begins to play in the chosen player, but FLIP remains set as the default. Nothing in either the information box allows me to change the default, nor does anything in either the VLC or FLIP player buttons and their drop downs menus. I've been trying various routes now for over 2 hours. Maybe I have to first delete the FLIP player?

  • sebastien Says:

    Tricky Question: I try to use 2 software "default" to open certain extensions, one or the other depending on the location of the files.
    For example, I want the *.pdf file types in a 1 tree open with Reader and the *.pdf file type in a 2 tree open with Skim.
    Do you have an idea ?

  • aman kataria Says:


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