Opening Files with Different Applications

In Windows opening files with different applications is simple. Learn how to open files with different applications in this free lesson.

Opening files with different applications

When you open a file in Windows, it will usually open in the default application for that type of file. For example, a photo will open in Windows Photo Viewer (or the Photos application in Windows 8) by default. But you may not always want this. In this lesson, we'll show you how to open a file in a different application, as well as how to change the default application so a file will always open in your preferred program.

If you're using Windows 8, files will usually open in a Start screen application, even if you opened it from the desktop. If you prefer to work in the desktop, you can choose to open the file with a desktop application. For example, a jpeg picture in Windows 8 will open in the Photos application by default, but you can open it on the desktop in Windows Photo Viewer instead.

Opening a file in the default application

As you learned in our lesson on Working with Files, you can locate and double-click a file to open it. It will open in the default application for that type of file.

To open a file in a different application:

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

  1. From the desktop, right-click the desired file.
  2. From the drop-down menu, click Open with, then select the desired application. In this example, we'll select Paint.
  3. The file will open in the selected application.

To change the default application:

You may prefer to change the default application 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 application.

  1. From the desktop, right-click the desired file, select Open with, and click Choose another app from the menu that appears.
  2. Select the desired application. If you don't see the one you want, click More apps or Look for an app in the Store to look for other applications. In this example, we want to open the file in Windows Photo Viewer. Then check off Always use this app to open .jpg files and click OK.
  3. The file will open in the new application. The next time you double-click a file of that type, it will open in the new default application.