Changing Default in OS X

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I often check Replyz to give back to the Social Media community and answer questions folks have on a few topics that I have some knowledge of.

One of the frequent questions on using Mac OS is “how do I set the default application for a file type?” It’s actually pretty easy to accomplish this, all you need is a file of the type you want to assign an application to, and a mouse/trackpad.

irst, right-click (or secondary-tap) the file and choose “Get Info.” This will bring up the dialog box shown to the right. You may have to click the little arrows at the top-left of each section to expand that section out.

About half-way down the Info page, you can see an “Open With” section. This contains two objects, a drop-down list for choosing the app, and a “Change All…” button.

To select which application will open this file ONCE, just drop down the menu you see and choose one of the listed applications. This list contains all the installed apps that have registered as able to open that type of file. If the app you want is not on the list, choose either “App Store” or “Other” from the menu (they show up at the bottom of the drop-down list).

If you choose App Store, the Mac App Store opens for you to find and install a software package for this file type. If you choose Other, Finder opens to your Applications directory so you can choose an app you already have installed. Note that you may need to change the drop-down menu under the file view from “Recommended Applications” to “All Applications” in order to see all the apps you have installed.

The “Always open with” checkbox on this page applies ONLY to this one file, so leave it unchecked when you choose the app you want to use for ALL files of this type.

Once you select a file type, you can then click the “Change All…” button under the drop-down menu on the Info window, which will allow you to specify that ALL files of this type should use the selected application to open/view, from now on.

That’s it, from then on, any time you open a file of that type, it will open with the selected application!

Note that there are two instances where the default app will change. 1) you can manually change it again using the same method you just went through. 2) a newly installed application can take the file type over. Usually you get the ability to stop a new app from doing that during installation, but sometimes it happens automatically. If that happens, you will have to manually set the file type to open with your preferred program once more.

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