in the past, I used to click an URL to a local file in any application (e.g., TextEdit) and the finder or Path Finder would open.

An example for such an URL is file:///Users/username/Library/Mobile%20Documents/com~apple~Keynote/Documents/hgs%20demo.key, that points in fact to a file on iCloud.

Now, when I click on such a link from say TextEdit (but also other software like in the notes section of a task in OmniFocus), nothing happens anymore. When I paste it into the URL field of a browser, the file does open however.

Is there a way on macOS to set applications that open certain kinds of URLs?

For example, OmniFocus "knows" / is associated with omnifocus:///...

→ Can I tell the Finder (or Path Finder) to be associated with file:///... (such that it would open a window with the associated path)? Or how can I re-enforce this association?

Thanks for your help.

  • 1
    FWIW - this now seems to work fine in Big Sur. I can open a link to, say, file:///private/tmp/ using a link in a Rich Text file in TextEdit. It does appear that github.com/Lord-Kamina/SwiftDefaultApps (linked in the answer below) will allow you to choose what app will respond to file:/// links. Tested in macOS version 11.4 (20F5046g) [aka 11.4 beta 1]
    – TJ Luoma
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


You can set file associations with RCDefaultApp(may not work on very new macOS) or the new replacement SwiftDefaultApps but I haven't tested either of these for file:///.
I thought file links had been disabled in most OSes in recent years as being inherently insecure.

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