The double click just isn't always good enough
January 8, 2008 3:23 AM   Subscribe

Is there a fast and easy way, in Windows XP, to open a file in another than the default application?

I know how to link a certain kind of file to a default application. For instance, I prefer to watch .pdf files with FoxIt, Adobe Acrobat being the terribly slow loading buggy piece of crap that it is. So my pdf's will open in FoxIt after a double click.

However, sometimes such a .pdf needs some trimming, or other adjustments, for which it is necessary after all to open Adobe Acrobat.

Right now, what I'll do is, to select such a file, shift right click on it so the option menu opens. I than move my mouse to the option "Open with...", and choose Acrobat from the choices given.

Is it possible to skip this part, and simple add another default application to a file type? So that a pdf, in this case, opens in FoxIt, after a double click, but automatically opens in Acrobat after shift double click, or command doucle click, or whatever easy trick there may be?
posted by ijsbrand to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If this is your only problem (i.e. PDFs) you could use a change to add Adobe Acrobat to your right click contect menu. If you put Acorbat in the Send To -> Menu you should be able to 'send' your PDF document to Acrobat...

Good Old Lifehacker shows the way.

However, if there is more than just one program you require, maybe look into the advanced file associations under Tools, Folder options, File Types in Windows Explorer. I'd have a go myself but, I'm at work and - woo boy - are tehse computers locked down hard..
posted by moocheen at 3:36 AM on January 8, 2008

You can do what moocheen suggests in Folder Options.

Another thing you can do is put the applications you want in, say, the Quick Launch toolbar, and then drag and drop your documents on them.
posted by grouse at 3:46 AM on January 8, 2008

there is a way to associate opening a file with one application and editing it with another. (so right click, edit would appear). its major registry kung foo though, so im not sure how to do it (ive seen it done with other applications though).
posted by dnc at 4:07 AM on January 8, 2008

Best answer: Control Panel -> Folder Options -> File Types -> PDF -> Advanced -> New
Action: "Edit"
Application used: "C:\Path\to\Application\App.exe" "%1"
posted by yeoz at 4:19 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]

Doing that will add a new option to the right click menu, so it would become right click -> click, rather than whatever you're doing now.
posted by yeoz at 4:21 AM on January 8, 2008

Response by poster: I think dnc nails it. It's not only .pdfs, I have this with .jpgs or with .html pages as well. Most often I simply want to view them, a bit less often I want to edit those files --- yet often enough to want to open them quickly.
posted by ijsbrand at 4:34 AM on January 8, 2008

You don't need to edit the registry for this, as Windows provides an interface for you to do it. Control Panel -> Folder Options -> File Types

Why anyone would recommend making registry edits over using the built-in interface for something to anyone is beyond me.
posted by yeoz at 4:38 AM on January 8, 2008

I just tried yeoz's instructions to allow me to edit .bat files in my favorite text editor instead of notepad. It worked very well. Thanks, yeoz!
posted by SteveTheRed at 4:51 AM on January 8, 2008

The simplest way is just to hold shift and right click the file. You will then have "open with..." added as an option and you can then CHECK the "make this my default for this file" on the app selection screen.
posted by ijoyner at 5:54 AM on January 8, 2008

Response by poster: ijoyner, that's the option I already use, more or less.

Thank you all for your input. To broaden yeoz's solution a bit more, within that interface it's possible to add and link commands like "print" or "sentto" to other default applications as well, so these options are immediately visible on the right click menu as well.
posted by ijsbrand at 6:10 AM on January 8, 2008

IIRC, if you "open with..." but choose NOT to make it a default, it will remembered by windows as a choice in a "open with" sub-menu, so that you don't have to go through the dialog each time.

Somehow the "open with..." option is always available on my work computer. I'm not sure if that's a setting I enabled, something specific with XP pro, or a side-effect of something on my computer.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:56 AM on January 8, 2008

Different mappings for "edit" and "open" look like a good solution.. It would be nice to have an easier way to access the "edit" action than opening the context menu though.

Personally, I hate the "open with..." sub menu. It doesn't happen at the right pace, it is too fussy.. Fine if you are looking for the fifth most likely application once every month or two, but not if you are regularly switching between two major choices.
posted by Chuckles at 10:15 AM on January 8, 2008

I think the fastest way is definitely to put an extra icon on your desktop for Acrobat, etc., and drag and drop the files onto the icon of the app you want to open it with.
posted by anaelith at 2:23 PM on January 8, 2008

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