[Tutorial] Setting the default program to open files

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[Tutorial] Setting the default program to open files

Postby bobban » Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:42 am

Here are the instructions to set the application to be used to open your files.
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After Windows Vista (Windows 7, 10...)
See this post below: Setting the default program (Windows 7 and following).

Mac OS

See this post below: Setting the default program under Mac OS.

Windows Vista

For Vista, in addition to the XP methods, there is also another way. It's not often I have good things to say about Vista, but I am pleased to announce that this is definitely one occasion where it can make life easier.

Start button->Control Panel->Programs->Default Programs->Set your default programs

Now find OpenOffice or Microsoft Office in the list and after selecting the appropriate one you can either choose 'Set this program as default' to make it the default application for all file types it can handle in one fell swoop, or 'Choose defaults for this program' to quickly pick the file types you would like this program to handle.

Windows XP

Different ways to do this:
  • The easiest method is to simply right click on a file that you want to open. Select 'Open With...', then 'Choose Program...'.
    → From the dialog box that pops up select the program you want to make the default application (if it was a doc file then select swriter if you want OpenOffice to handle these files or Microsoft Word if you prefer that). You should be able to find it, but if you can't you can press 'Browse' and search for the program's main executable file.
    → Select "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file", and press OK. Now this program is the default. You can repeat this process for various file types (e.g. doc, xls etc.).
  • The other option is to open Windows Explorer and then select:
    → Tools->Folder Options...->File Types
    → From here you can find a particular file type such as 'doc', and press 'Change' and you will be presented with the same dialog as in step 1. You can use this list to quickly set the default application for all the relevant file types.
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Setting the default program under Mac OS

Postby lgusaas » Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:21 pm

To change which application a document opens in:

    1. Right click (control-click) on the document’s icon.

    2. Choose File > Get Info.
    3. In the Info window, click the disclosure triangle next to “Open with,” and choose an application to open the document from the “Open with” pop-up menu.

    4. If you want all documents of this file type to open with the same application, click Change All.
Get Info.jpg
Get Info.jpg (19.3 KiB) Viewed 156240 times
File Association.jpg

Beware of the following command:
Control-click on a file that you want to open. Select "Open With...", then "Other".

This method will only change the file association for that specific file.
Last edited by lgusaas on Fri Mar 12, 2021 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Setting the default program (Windows 7 and following)

Postby John_Ha » Sun May 07, 2017 4:31 pm

In Windows 7 or 8 ...

Go Start > Control Panel > Default Programs.


You can now choose Set your default programs which allows you to choose a program like AOO and give the program all (or just some) of its default file types. This is the best approach to follow.

Associate a file type or protocol with a program allows you to select a file type - eg a .rtf file - and specify which program (say Notepad) should open that file type. This overrides the general setting above.

See [Tutorial] Differences between Writer and MS Word files for why you should always work in and save files as .odt.

In Windows 10 ...

Guess what - Windows 10 is different and does not work properly for me. Quelle surprise. Also, there are many forum reports of Windows 10 updates seeming to mess up default programs and assign them (or is it just the displayed icons?) to MS Word, Excel etc. Quelle surprise une autre fois.

Do the following:

1 Go Start > Settings > Apps > Default Apps ..., to get to the stage in the image below.

2. Click Set Defaults by app ..., and choose OpenOffice (or LibreOffice).

3. Click Manage.

This lists all the file types which AOO (LO) can open and the programs currently assigned to open each file type.

4. Choose AOO (LO) for all the file types you want AOO (LO) to open.


You may find it easier to uninstall AOO or LO and then reinstall as AOO or LO will then automatically be given all its defaults during the installation.

See [Tutorial] Differences between Writer and MS Word files for why you should always work in and save files as .odt.
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