Always Open With Finder

The Finder in macOS will default to certain apps when opening the various file types on your Mac. Of course, you can always right click on a file and select Open With, but wouldn’t it be more useful if you could have more control over which apps open your files? The following tutorial will show you how to make files always open with a specific app on Mac.

Interestingly enough, the Finder allows you to open files in a variety of ways with the apps installed on your Mac. It’s quite remarkable how flexible it all is. I’m going to show you two ways to go about opening files with a specific app of your choosing.

The first way allows you to single out a specific file to open in a specific app. It only applies to the one file of your choosing, and doesn’t apply to any other files, even if they’re of the same type.

Open certain files in a specific apps on Mac

Step 1: right click on the file

Step 2: hold down the ⌥ (alt/option) key and you will see the Open With dialogue change to Always Open With

Step 3: select Always Open With and click the app that you wish to permanently assign this file to

The file should then open in the app you selected, and from there on out, it will default to this app. This happens even though it’s not the default app for the particular file type.

How to assign all files of a file type to always open in a specific app (setting default app)

Step 1: right click on the file and choose Get Info

Step 2: expand the Open with disclosure triangle and select the app that you wish to make default from the drop down menu

Open With Get Info Finder

Step 3: click the Change All button below and the app you select will change to the default for all files of this file type

This is particularly helpful if you want to change the default image viewer on Mac from Preview to something else, for example.

To revert back to the original default app, simply follow steps 1-3 again, and select the original app.

If you always find yourself opening a particular file type with an application other than the original default application, then it may be a good idea to save yourself some time and change the default app to your desired application.

Do you have any additional tips, suggestions, or comments about assigning apps to files? If so, sound off down below in the comment section with your thoughts.

  • Next time, don’t forget to clarify that that weird symbol is the alt/option button. Some of us have oversimplified keyboards.

  • James

    I love these OS X posts. I just recently got a macbook and it’s my first time using OS X. I already know some of the stuff you’ve posted but keep posting them. The one about removing the delay was great 🙂

  • James G

    You guys are doing a great job of adding in content that previously would have lived in TUAW’s Mac-101 section.

  • DeRoth

    Nice one …keep coming mate 😛

  • This is something I’ve had trouble with for a long time, but never took the time to figure out how to change it. Thanks for posting!

  • FarmerBobThe1st

    If it only worked. The OS does not retain your selection. You will find your self redoing it many times and it still will not stick.

  • Chris Wagers

    Thanks for the tips! My first MacBook Pro as well. Now if only our iPhones would allow this.

  • audiophile

    That was really helpful! Thanks Jeff!