How to Set Default Programs / Applications in macOS

default programs macOS

Do you prefer using a certain program to open documents or other files on your Mac? Maybe you use Microsoft Word, and then start using Pages and decide you like it better and want to change the default program to that instead. Perhaps Preview’s just not your cup of tea for opening .png files and you prefer to use Snagit.

You can change the default program or application that’s associated with opening particular file types on your Mac—we’ll show you how.

Set or Change Defaults

To set or change the default program that opens a file, here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Right-click by touching two fingers to your Mac’s trackpad and click or right-click your mouse on the file.  Open with
  2. Next, select “Get Info” and a long, rectangular box will appear on your Mac’s screen.                                          get info
  3. Go down to where it says “Open with.” Click the arrows in the selector box.                                                                       Open
  4. Choose one of the programs or apps listed to open this type of file in the future. Optionally, you can select “App Store” or “Other” if the program you want to use as a default isn’t listed.                                                                                                                    Select Default

Pretty easy and straightforward, right? Once you’ve done it a few times, it’ll become second nature to you.

Use a Program Once to Open a File

What if you wanted to use a particular program to open a file once, but not make it the default program? We’re going to tell you how to do that, too. Follow along.

  1. Right-click by touching two fingers to your Mac’s trackpad and click or right-click your mouse on the file.  Open with
  2. Next, select “Open With,” and a box of selected programs or applications to open the file with appears. Choose the one you’d like to open the file with this time.                                                                                                                     choose

There you have it: How to set a default program or application to open specific files on your Mac, or use a different program as needed.

Posted by Heather on July 7, 2016

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