Change default program on Mac: Define program for file type

Assign file types to an app, Apple Mac, iMac, MacBook

If you always want to open certain files or file types with a certain program on the Apple Mac, iMac or MacBook under OS X and macOS, then you can set this quite easily. This works via the options in the Finder, but also via an app that also provides other functions. I have summarized both procedures and a video tutorial for you on the Mac for changing the default program for opening files in this guide.

Change the default program for a file on the Mac: This is how you can set a program for a specific file type - with instructions or

App." width="620″ height="290″ /> Change the default program for a file on the Mac: This is how you can set a program for a specific file type - via instructions or app.

Why change the default program?

As on the Windows PC, on the Apple Mac with macOS or OS X it can be worthwhile to assign individual files or file types to a specific program. Who takes photos directly in Photoshop, Lightroom or Affinity Photo open, you can do this with the following instructions. However, a more popular reason for changing the default program for opening certain file types is videos - many users of the VideoLAN VLC Player prefers; from DVD to video from digital cameras.

Instructions: Change the default program for opening files

First you open a folder in which there is a file of the type that you want to assign to an app. To make this the standard program, click on the file and then call up the file information. This can either be done using the key combination ⌘ + i or CMD + i or via the menu filing and then in it Information.

If you have chosen one of the two ways, this will lead you to a new window in which the file information of the selected file is displayed. One category in the overview is Open with. If there is no roll menu below, you have to expand the area first. Then you can choose a new standard program for the file. To apply this program for the file type and thus for all other files with the same file extension, click on the button Change all ... .

A message then appears in which you can click on the button Continue you have to confirm that you want to assign a new standard program to the files. And that's basically it.

Mac Video Tutorial: Assigning a File Type to a Program

Here is a video that shows you how to change the default program for certain files and file types:

Mac app for specifying programs for files and devices

If you only want to briefly assign certain files or file types to individual programs, then the instructions should be sufficient. But do you want to edit several file extensions or select a program and assign file types to it (i.e. the opposite way) or perhaps set which programs are allowed to access the webcam etc. or which camera should be the standard medium for which program? Then you can RCDefaultApp rubicode help.

Rubicode's RCDefaultApp is freeware and can be downloaded from the Page of the provider downloaded. The program can be used from OS X 10.2, so it tends to be for the current macOS 10.12 Sierra as well. You can also install the app in different languages ​​after downloading it, in addition to English, German, Spanish, Japanese and so on. Apparently the development was stopped in 2009, which is why it is important to try to use the app under Sierra or El Capitan. Here is a screenshot of the app (source: provider website):

The rubicode RCDefaultApp in action. Looks good, but unfortunately I cannot offer a test at the moment.

The rubicode RCDefaultApp in action. Looks good, but unfortunately I cannot offer a test at the moment.

More interesting articles about the Apple operating system


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  1. Sebastian says:


    For a few days (?) I have had the problem that the assigned standard applications of some file types (e.g. .rtf, .txt, .excl, .docx) are misaligned. With .rtf Adobe Illustrator is assigned, with the others the If I put it back, in the info window or via "open with ..." (and tick "always open with ..." there) it is changed again a little later. The phenomenon also occurs in parallel on a MacBook with Mavericks (!), I have (as you may know;)) El Capitan on it ...

    In a forum on the internet I only find a brand new question about it - but no solution

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Sebastian! I also found a few ways how to fix this. One user said that it happens when you have Parallels Desktop installed. But whatever the reason, try these ways:

      1. Instead of selecting the standard program using the right mouse button via "Open with ...", you should try "Mark file", then cmd + I (info window). Then select the appropriate program in the info window below and click "Change for all". As far as I understand, you've already tried this route.

      2. Delete the "Launchservices.plist" file times. You can either do this with the software "OnyX"do (there in the" Optimize "menu) execute the checked maintenance scripts. The above file would then have to be deleted and rebuilt. Alternatively, you can delete it manually. To do this, press and hold the ALT key in the Finder "Go to" menu and select "Library". There you open the "Preferences" folder and then look for the file "", which you throw in the trash (close all programs first!). Then it should work with the file-program assignment, or be carried out again.

      I am sure that afterwards it will work again with the standard program for your files. If you like, you are welcome to provide feedback on whether it has helped you.

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