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Linux hints and tips

Open a file with any application

When you double click a file linux will look at the file type and check to see if it is associated with a specific application. If it is, it will run the application and then open the file in it for you. It is a great time saver and it's a useful feature. You can see this in action if you have an image file, such as a digital camera photo that is stored as a JPG image. Double click it and it will open in whatever application is associated with it. This could be Eye of GNOME - the GNOME image viewer - or something else. It really depends on the linux distro and what software is installed.

You may find that a particular file type does not open in the application that you want to use and something else loads up when you double click an icon on the desktop or in a file browser window. This is a problem with several easy solutions.

Instead of double clicking a file to open it, right click it. The menu that appears can change with the file type and you might see an Open With menu that leads to a sub-menu. On the sub-menu will be a list of applications. With an image file, for example, you might see Firefox, F-Spot, and GIMP listed. Select an application to start it and open the file in it. Sometimes the applications are listed on the right-click menu itself instead of the Open With submenu. The options are similar though.

In addition to listing suitable alternative applications to the default one that is associated with a file type, there is also an option called Open With Other Application. This displays a long list of applications and you can choose the one you want to use.

Using the Open With menu does not change the default application that is run when a file is double clicked. You can make the selection permanent by right clicking a file and selecting Properties from the menu. Select the Open With tab and then select the application that you always want to use to open this file with. If the application isn't listed, click the Add button to add it to the list. You can then select it.

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