How to Open a File with a Different Program - dummies

How to Open a File with a Different Program

By Dan Gookin

Windows uses File Association to tell it what program to use to open a specific file. When you want to open an icon by using a program other than the one it is associated with, you can take advantage of the Open With command. It’s simple:

  1. Right-click the icon you want to open.

  2. From the shortcut menu, choose the Open With submenu.


  3. Choose the program to open the file.

    The file opens in that program.

If the program you want to use isn’t on the Open With submenu, choose the last command on the submenu — either Choose Default Program or Choose Program. You can then browse for a program to use for opening the file.

When browsing for the program, remember to remove the check mark by the item Always Use the Selected Program to Open This Kind of File! If you fail to remove this item, the association is changed for all files of the same type — forever.

  • You can also open any icon by using drag-and-drop. The only limitation is that you need to see both the icon you’re opening and the icon for the program file. Just drag one icon onto the other and the file opens, using that program.

  • You can use the Open or Preview button on the toolbar in Windows 7 and Windows Vista to choose a program for opening a file, or to change file associations.