This may have been asked before but I couldn't find any reference to it.

So Control-Click on a file brings up the context menu with "Open", "Open With.." and a number of other options. I often want to open a text based file in something other than the default application – for example, opening an mxml (Flex) file in BBEdit. The default application for that is Flash Builder and I don't want to change the default.

Is there some kind of extension or service I can add to have an "Open with Running Application...(list of open applications)"?

Or if not that, a way a user (me!) can register an app to open certain file types, so for example, BBEdit is listed as an option for mxml but is not the default?

  • 1
    I just realised that in the specific case of BBEdit you should already have "Open File in BBEdit" within the "Services" part of the context menu (at least I do)
    – Asmus
    Dec 18, 2014 at 18:29
  • @Asmus - yes, I just found that too as I was setting up a Service in Automator. Who knew?
    – spring
    Dec 18, 2014 at 18:34

3 Answers 3


Try to use automator. It's simple: create a new service with preferences (what items in which program to open). That's all - on right click menu there will be a new rule - "open in ...".


You could just drag the file onto the App icon in the Dock… [which is very difficult to take a screenshot of…]

enter image description here

[after comments…]
Alternatively, you could…

  • drag the file onto the app switcher - the one you bring up by pressing Cmd ⌘ Tab ⇥


  • use DragThing which has been a kind of substitute Dock since long before the Dock existed.
  • This should be the answer [not only for taking a screenshot whilst dragging chicken paprika onto the dock]! Alternatively, you could drag the file onto the app switcher (the one you bring up by pressing cmd+tab).
    – Asmus
    Dec 18, 2014 at 16:52
  • Nice. That one's new to me. I actually have always used DragThing (since v1.0 in 1995 :-o ) so I automatically drag to that, out of habit.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 18, 2014 at 17:00
  • I do this but I have my dock on the side and on a double monitor system, it is very awkward to drag a Finder item to the dock using a trackpad.
    – spring
    Dec 18, 2014 at 18:23
  • Then go with @Asmus alternative, which I shall sneakily ;) add to the answer
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 18, 2014 at 18:25

One way (which for just this is overkill but it has other benefits) is to use PathFinder as a replacement for Finder.

Its Open With... menu has submenus

  • Applications - listing all apps it can find e.g. in /Applications ~/Applications
  • Running - all running apps
  • Text Editor - its copy of TextEdit
  • List of all apps that have registered for the extension

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