Mac OSX – Make Specific App Default File Opener

I have been meaning for a long time to set some configuration parameters for specific file types including which applications open them by default. I deal with a lot of different file types and I am typically having to scroll through a long list of Mac applications to select the one that I want to open the file. Since its not easy to do this in one spot on Mac OSX Mountain Lion without adding a third party application I started looking around to see what was available and ended up with Default Apps by Rubicode. Below I describe installing Default Apps and how it works.

Setting Default Application Opener In Mac OSX Mountain Lion

On OSX you can always set a single file types default application by selecting Get Info from the pop up menu when right clicking on the file itself which will open a details window about the specific file as shown in the below example image.

Mac OSX File Get Info Details Popup Window

Mac OSX File Get Info Details Popup Window

The Get Info details window has numerous sections of information about the file including Spotlight Comments, General, More Info, Name & Extension, Open With, Preview and Sharing & Permissions. In the image above the Open With section is expanded to show how you can set the default open with application. In this location you can also set the default open with application for all files of this file type or all files with this specific file ending. To modify the default open with application just click the drop down that shows the current open with application and navigate to the application you prefer to be the default open with application for this file from the menu that appears as shown in the below example image.

Mac Application Default Open With Drop Down Menu

Mac Application Default Open With Drop Down Menu

If you want all files of this file type to open with this newly set application just click the “Change All…” button which will set the new application for all files of this type which in this example happens to be PDF files. It is great to be able to set this functionality in this location and its pretty cool that you can set different default open with applications for different files of the same file type however if you really wanted to customize your environment it can be a pain to have to open the Get Info window for so many file types to make this modification. The good news is there is a free third party application that does an excellent job called RCDefaultApp which we provide more information about below.

RCDefaultApp – Mac OSX Default Apps

As noted in the first paragraph RCDefaultApp was created by Rubicode and its pretty amazing. RCDefaultApp provides a central location to modify default open with applications for all file types on OSX. You can download RCDefaultApp by clicking here and follow the easy install instructions after double clicking the download to begin the Default Apps installation process. Once installed it provides an icon in the OSX System Preferences window as shown in the example below so you can easily navigate to the Default Apps configuration window at any time.

OSX – Default Apps

RCDefaultApp - Default Apps In System Preferences Window

Notice the Default Apps icon in the lower left corner of the System Preferences window above. Now open System Preferences on your Mac computer and click on the Default Apps icon to launch the RCDefaultApps application. Default Apps will launch a window similar to the below that provides an easy to use interface that allows modifying the default applications used for various tasks and for specific file extensions. The initial Default Apps window will highlight Internet tasks which allows you to set the default web browser, email client, rss feed reader, and more as shown in the below example image.

Default Apps – Internet Tasks Default Applications

Default Apps - Internet Tasks Default Open With Application

As it relates to this article we are interested in changing specific file types default open with applications so click on the Extensions tab located near the top of the Default Apps window near the middle. The below example image shows what the Default Apps Extensions configuration window looks like.

Default Apps – File Extensions

Default Apps - File Extensions Default Open With Application

As you can see in the example image and by scrolling through the list of file extensions yourself it provides every file extension you can think of. Some of the file extensions that are likely the most popular in the Default Apps extensions list are html, css, mp3, mp4, mov, mpg, mpeg, txt, pdf, dmg, psd, avi, perl, php, php5, plist, png, gif, jpg, raw, rb, xhtml, and many more. The other tabs available in Default Apps include Media, Apps, URLs, UTIs, MIME Types, and File Types.

With Default Apps in your System Preferences window you now have a one stop shop for modifying the way files open on your Macintosh computer running OSX!


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