How do I change file icons and the default application on my Mac?
How do I change the program associated with specific file types and the icons associated with specific file types? For example, I want to change all my PDF icons...
There are two parts to this question, so let's tackle the harder one first. To actually change the icon associated with a specific file type you need to munge around with the innards of Mac OS X. This, as you might expect, isn't recommended for most users, so I would instead strongly advise you to check out some of the great shareware applications that have arisen to help you accomplish just this task.
A quick visit to VersionTracker reveals quite a few choices. Of these, the 800 pound gorilla is Candy Bar which lets you do tons of cool things with your Mac interface, if you're into that kind of thing! A geekier and more sophisticated alternative is Iconographer X, and Duality GT.
To change a single icon on a single file is easy, however, which is why there are so many icon libraries on the Web. To do that, well, let's answer your other question, then come back to this question, okay?
To change the application associated with a specific file type, click on an icon of the specific file type, then choose File --> Get Info. You'll see the following:
Notice the "Open with" section - which here shows that Preview is my PDF application of choice - and that there's a pop-up menu of possible applications that are registered with the OS as being able to handle this particular file type (PDF). If I click on that menu item, I see:
If I choose a different application, say Adobe Reader 6.0, then the "Change All..." button suddenly becomes active and the small print immediately above it becomes far more interesting. It says: "Use this application to open all documents like this."
The OS reminds me that this is a significant change by asking:
I'm ready to make the change, so I click "Continue" and suddenly all the icons of all the PDF files on my system change to reflect that they're now tied to Adobe Reader, not Preview.
That's all there is to it.
Oh! And if you want to change just one icon on your Mac system, open up two Get Info windows, one that shows the information on a specific file that has the icon you want to copy, and the other that has the destination file that has the boring old icon. Now click on the new icon, choose Edit --> Copy, then click on the old icon (in the other Get Info window) and choose Edit --> Paste. Close both Get Info windows and, poof! Same old file, cool new icon.
Hope that's helpful!
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