IMac / Mac osx - how do I change the default text editor

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Changing the default text editor program on a Mac OS X system

'Get info' screen showing Open with & Change all options

For individual files

You can change the default text editor for individual text files by:

  • Right click the specific file you wish to open
  • Select open with
  • Pick your application from the pre-defined list of application programs.

If the application you wish to use is not listed:

  • Right click the specific file you wish to open
  • Select open with
  • Select other
  • This will open the Choose application window.
  • With Recommended Applications selected, only programs associated with the file type will be enabled, others will be greyed out.
  • With All Applications selected, you are able to choose any application

Note: With this method, you do need to be certain that the program you have chosen is compatible with your file-type.

The above methods will only affect the file that you right-clicked. All other text files will still open with the default text editor. To change that behaviour, follow the steps below.

For all files

To alter the default text editor for all file types with a specific file suffix such as .txt

  • Right click any file with a .txt extension
  • Select get info
  • Expand Open with and select the application you wish to use for opening all .txt files on your system
  • Click Change all
  • That's it!

See also