Open Files with Default Apps in Ubuntu 17.10 / 18.04

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When you double click a file in Ubuntu, it automatically opens the application that was configured as the default application to open that file type. In Ubuntu and modern operating systems, you can change the default application that is used to open a given file type easily.

This will allow you to open a particular file type with your preferred application instead of others assigned by Ubuntu. For example, you might want VLC Media Player to open when you double-click a video file instead of Ubuntu default video application.

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to change the default application for opening files.When you’re ready to learn how to open files with preferred application of change the default application to open a particular file, continue with the steps below:

Step 1: Change Ubuntu Default Application

Again, you can change the default application that is used to open a particular file type. When you change the default application, everytime time you double-click the particular file type, your preferred application should launch and open the file.

To do that, select a file of the type whose default application you want to change. then right-click the file and select Properties as shown below.

Ubuntu default application

Next, click the Open With tab and select the application you want to always open the file and click Set as default. It will automatically move under Default Applications from the Recommended Application list.

Ubuntu default application

Step 2: Open File with Other Applications

To open a file other than the default, right-click the file and select Open With Others Application

Ubuntu default application

Then select the application you want from the top of the menu. If you do not see the application you want, select Open With Other Application. By default, Ubuntu file manager shows applications that are known to handle such file types.

Ubuntu default apps

To view look through all the applications installed on your computer, click View All Applications.

If you still can’t find the application you’re looking for to open the particular file type, click Find New Applications. The file manager will search online for packages containing applications that are known to handle files of that type.

That’s it!

This is how to configure Ubuntu default application for particular file types.


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  1. This does not work for the installed program MATLAB R2019b. Why?

  2. It also isn’t working for Geany on Ubuntu 20.04.

  3. Ubuntu 18.04
    Right click the file, choose open with “Other…”.
    Find the app you want to use (with search or by category).
    Check the box “Remember application association for all files of type “x””.
    Click OK.

  4. We really aren’t asking for a solution (why?) to our problem; the only thing we’re asking for is why are our files/apps not opening. We appreciate the “Right-click icon, then scroll down to…” type approaches, but these approaches rarely work (mucho problemo in Microsoft circles, where all the mods do is try to give the user point-n-click solutions to much failure). Why not just tell us why the native programs aren’t opening our apps? This way, we can use our minds to solve the problems ourselves. We do have an enormous wealth of information (the internet) to help guide us, you know…

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