Setting the default application for documents

How to set the default application in OS X. This controls what program opens when you double click a document that may be viewable by more than one program, for example PDF files can be read by Preview or Adobe Reader, and .DOC files can be read by Microsoft Word, Textedit, and Pages.

Select a document that has multiple application associations


Highlight the documument by clicking only once on the icon.

Get Info on the selected file


Note the section called Open with. This is a drop down menu that lets you choose what application you want to lauch, or open, the files of that type.



The list of available programs may be quite long, as in the case above. Each program listed knows how to handle files of type PDF. Simply mouse over the one you want to use and release the mouse button. Don’t worry about making a mistake here, because it’s easily fixed. If you don’t like the result, head back to step one and change it back!

Applying this to all documents of the same type


The previous step changed the default application for only the document shown; pressing Change All… will affect all documents of that type.

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One Response

  1. […] The Preview application is found in the Applications folder or on your Dock. You can also double click on a PDF file and it may open in Preview. If not, see this tip for information on setting default applications. […]

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