Barkings! | The SmallDog Apple Blog

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Have you ever wanted to open a file in a different application than usual? As a web designer, I often find myself opening HTML files in Safari (which is usually what I want), but every once in a while I want to open that same file in my text editor.

It is a relatively easy process to open a file in a different app. Simply use the secondary click command that you have set up — I right click my Magic Mouse (if you don’t know how to use secondary click I will explain that later) but you can always hold down the control key and click. Doing so will open a contextual menu of which the second option from the top is Open With. When you hover your mouse pointer over that menu option, another menu will pop out with a list of apps that can launch that file. Select the app you want to open the file with, and presto-change-o — you’re all set for this one time. If you don’t see the app you want, you can always click on Other… to browse your entire Applications folder for the desired app. You can also go straight to the App Store if you know you don’t have the program you want installed.

So what happens if you want that type of file to always open in that app? Well, you can set a specific file type to always open in a certain application. There are two ways that I know of to do this. The first is to select the file by clicking it once and getting its info with the shortcut command+I. A new window will open up and in the 4th drop down from the top labeled Open with: you can set the app this specific file uses to open. Once you have selected the app you want, hit the Change All… button and every file that has the same extension on your machine currently and in the future will open with that app.

Now, back to secondary clicking. This applies to Macs running OS X Lion (10.7) and newer. If you don’t know what your secondary click is, go to System Preferences > Mouse > Point & Click and make sure the Secondary Click box is checked and underneath is set to the way you want to click. It is the same process if you use a trackpad, except that you go to the trackpad section instead of the mouse section in System Preferences.

I hope this week’s Mac Treat was of benefit to you. It certainly is something that I have to do multiple times a day. As always, if you have any questions about this Mac Treat, email me at

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