TUAW Tip: Freshening Up 'Recommended Applications'

Robert Palmer
R. Palmer|08.19.08

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TUAW Tip: Freshening Up 'Recommended Applications'

Reader Julius wrote in with an annoying problem: Whenever he tries to open a file by selecting "Other" from the "Open With" contextual menu item in the Finder, he's presented with a list of "Recommended Applications" that (more often than not) has the app he wants grayed out.

Ideally, there would be some preference to automatically show "All Applications" instead of just "Recommended Applications," but that doesn't seem to be the case. Sorry.

The best option for you comes from our own Erica Sadun, who says to drag the file onto any application icon with the Command and Option keys held down. That way, the Finder will force the app to open the file. This works with items in your dock, or just with an open Applications folder in the Finder.

Otherwise, every application maintains a list of the kinds of files it can open. Launch Services, a part of the Mac OS X system, reads these lists, and compiles the set of "Recommended Applications" that you are presented with.

As such, many users recommend keeping your Launch Services tidy by rebuilding it using the Terminal, or a utility like RCDefaultApp. It will at least remove the cruft from your list of available applications.

Thanks and good luck, Julius!

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