Set File Types to Open with a Specific Program

This article describes how to change which program is used to automatically open certain types of files. For example, if your PDF files automatically open in Adobe Reader, you can change your settings to automatically open PDF's with Adobe Acrobat instead.

In addition, follow the instructions in this article if your computer gives you a notification that "This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Please install a program, or if one is already installed, create an association in the default programs control panel."

Changing the file association is slightly differently in Windows 7, 8, and 10:

Windows 10

  1. Open the control panel by typing “control panel” into the search bar at the bottom left corner of your screen.
  2. From the control panel click Programs, and then click Default Programs.
  3. Select Associate a file type or protocol with specific program.
  4. From the Set Associations menu, select the file type, then click the Change Program button in the upper right corner.

Windows 8

  1. Type “control panel” into the search bar at the bottom left corner of your screen. Select Control Panel to open it.
  2. Click Programs, click Default Programs, then click associate a file type or protocol with a program.
  3. Scroll through the list to find the file type, and click change program...
  4. Choose the app you’d like to use for this file type from the list. Choose More Options if you can’t find the app you’re looking for.

Windows 7

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Programs. Click Default Programs, then choose Associate a file type or protocol with a specific program.
  2. Scroll through the list to find the file type, then click Change program…
  3. Either select the Recommended Program or use the down arrow to choose Other Programs.
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