Help! My Documents Open In The Wrong Application

| MGG Answers


Jedd asks: I did a File->Get Info on a Microsoft Word .doc file and chose Open With: Word 2004. I also clicked Change All as well, to make all .doc files open with Word 2004. However, when I double click .doc files, it often they open in Word 2008. I don’t want to delete Word 2008, but I want things to open in Word 2004 by default. Why did “Change All” not fix this?


Sounds like you need to (a) reset your Mac’s LaunchServices database and (b) then remap .doc files to Word 2004. I like Onyx for the first part; it’s free, and it gets the job done without mucking about in the terminal. If, for whatever reason, you must do it in the terminal, there are more than a few opinions on the right way to do this. Trust us, just use Onyx. 

Once you’ve reset LaunchServices, the same path you used above to remap to Word 2004 should work fine: 

  1. Go to the Finder
  2. Highlight a .doc file
  3. Choose File->Get Info
  4. Select Word 2004
  5. Click “Change All…”

That should do it!


This question was originally answered on MGG 252: Word Processor Defaults, Drive Formatting Differences, Audio Streaming

About MGG Answers:

Each week Dave Hamilton and John F. Braun provide some great troubleshooting advice to listeners of the Mac Geek Gab podcast. Here with MGG Answers we share some of those tips with the rest of the world!


John F. Braun

RCDefaultApp is another good way to examine and change the various ways your Mac determines what app to use to open a file.  I have used this to help someone figure out why some of their html files were being launched with Safari, and others with Firefox.  As it turns out .html was mapped to Safari, while .htm was mapped to Firefox.  Check it out here:

Dave Hamilton

Thanks for putting that here, John. You mentioned it during our talk on the show, and it’s important to have it here, too!


When I ran into a similar problem with a tool that launches apps from keyboard shortcuts I renamed all the Office 2004 applications. I find it easier to cope with having two different versions of the same app when they bear different filenames.


“Trust us, just use Onyx.”

Even though I paid for Cocktail, I still use Onyx for most of my housekeeping chores.  But for one-off tasks like rebuilding LauanchServices, or repairing Permissions, you can’t beat the convenience of MainMenu.  I don’t have to stop what I am doing to launch another program, because is is all there in my menu bar, and I can keep working while the task is running.

This is not a commercial ??I am just enthusiastic about MainMenu.

Dave Hamilton

Even though I paid for Cocktail, I still use Onyx for most of my housekeeping chores

I paid for Cocktail, too, and yet I still use Onyx like you.

I’d forgotten about MainMenu - I’ll check it out again. Thanks!


Dave ? In a way, it’s kind of shocking that Apple haven’t included something like MainMenu in OS X.  I seem to remember something like it back in the OS 7, 8, & 9 days.  Under the Apple menu, I think it was.

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