How to change default file types and the programs used to open them using RCDefaultApp

RCDefaultApp is a Mac OS X 10.2 or higher preference pane that allows you to set the default application used for various file extensions, file types etc. OS X uses the extension and file type settings to choose the application when opening a file in Finder. In other words, it makes associating file types and the programs used to launch them, much, much easier.

  1. To install RCDefaultApp, simply drag the RCDefaultApp.prefPane file from the .dmg into your /Library/PrefrencePanes or ~/Library/PreferencePanes folder (the latter you may have to create).

  2. click to enlarge

  3. After that’s done, open your System Preferences and you should see Default Apps in the Other category.

  4. click to enlarge

  5. On the Internet tab you can change your default browser, Email client, News client, FTP client and RSS client. Simply select the appropriate application from the drop-down list, or choose Other… and navigate to the program you wish to use.

  6. click to enlarge

  7. The Media tab allows you to change certain behaviors when actions take place. For example, if you don’t want the DVD Player to open automatically when you insert a DVD, change the setting to Ignore.

  8. click to enlarge

  9. Select the Apps tab and then choose an application to see what file types are associated with it. In the example below, I use Cog to open .ape, .flac and .mpc files – but not mp3 files (which I use iTunes for).

  10. click to enlarge

  11. Select the Extensions tab to see which programs are associated with a given file type. In the example below, .shn files (a form of lossless audio) are opened with xAct. Since that’s not the program I want to open when I double-click an .shn file, select the drop-down list and choose Other….

  12. click to enlarge

  13. The program I want to use to open .shn files is Cog, but I can’t select it as it’s been ‘greyed out’. Change the Enable: entry from Recommended Applications to All Applications.

  14. click to enlarge

  15. And then select the program you want to open .shn files with – in this case Cog.

  16. click to enlarge

  17. Now OS X knows that I want Cog to open when I double-click an shn.

  18. click to enlarge

3 thoughts on “How to change default file types and the programs used to open them using RCDefaultApp”

  1. Bob Whitehead

    Hi – I am running an old compaq deskpo as a second computer, running w98se – I have something screwed up can only read the content of dvds and cds when I first load, after that it tells me that they are blank, even though I know they are not. I would also like to get a list of file extensions and the default files used to open them (I think this may have something to do with the problem). As I am pretty much at wits end and about to junk the old beast, which has been a wonderful workhorse, can you possibly help please. Many Thanks

  2. Bob, not to point out the OBVIOUS, but this article is about the Apple Macintosh operating system which actually different than Microsoft Windoze even though they both run on “those new fangled compooter thangs”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *