Opening Your Files with Different Apps

In Windows 8 files are varied and come from different places. Learn how to open files with different apps in this free lesson.

Opening your files with different apps

Screenshot of Windows 8Selecting an app

When you open a file in Windows 8, it will usually open with a Start screen app—even if you opened it from the Desktop. But you may not always want this. If you prefer to work in the Desktop, you can choose to open the file with a Desktop app. For example, a JPG picture opens in the Photos app by default, but you can open it in Windows Photo Viewer instead.

In this lesson, we'll show you how to open a file in a different app and also how to change the default app so a file will always open in your preferred app.

To open a file in the default app:

  1. In Desktop view, double-click the desired file.


    Screenshot of Windows 8Double-clicking a file
  2. The file will open in the default app. In this example, it opened in the Photos app.


    Screenshot of Windows 8The Photos app

To open a file in a different app:

Sometimes, you may want to open a file in a different app without changing the default. For example, you may want to open a photo with the Paint app to crop or resize it.

  1. In Desktop view, right-click the desired file.


    Screenshot of Windows 8Right-clicking a file
  2. From the drop-down menu, click Open with and select the desired app.


    Screenshot of Windows 8Selecting an app
  3. The file will open in the app you selected.


    Screenshot of Windows 8The Paint app

To change the default app:

You may prefer to change the default app for certain types of files so they'll always open in the new app when you double-click them. For example, you may want your photos to always open in Windows Photo Viewer instead of the Photos app.

  1. In Desktop view, right-click the desired file.
    Screenshot of Windows 8Right-clicking a file
  2. From the drop-down menu, click Open with and select Choose default program....
    Screenshot of Windows 8Choosing a default app
  3. Select the desired app. If you don't see the app you want, click More options. In this example, we want to open the file in Windows Photo Viewer.
    Screenshot of Windows 8Selecting an app
  4. The file will open in the new app. The next time you double-click a file of that type, it will open in the new default app.
    Screenshot of Windows 8Windows Photo Viewer