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Take control of how files open

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 05:01 AM

Post your comments for Take control of how files open here
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#2 User is offline   VincentvanWylick 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 05:16 AM

I'd really like an app, like Choosy for browsers for instance, that gives me a choice of what app to open for a file-type, even when multiple apps are running that are able to open the same file-type. Choosy solves this by giving you a choice between: user-controlled, use the same app always, or (most interesting of the three) use the one that is the best performing at the time. Love Choosy, would love to have a helper for all kinds of file-types, from xls to doc.
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#3 User is offline   Maxer 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 06:05 AM

Great, yet it does not work with Office 2004 files if both Office 2004 and Office 2008 are installed. Double clicking the Office 2004 files opens the Office 2008 application instead. Frustrating!
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#4 User is offline   NanoFrog 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 06:10 AM

Fail. Many times implementing these "choices" do not take. Some applications (such as Split and Comcat) will not take this setting. I have also found it to be widely unstable, not always doing what you ask it to do. in many ways the whole process of folder views and open with is unstable, unpredictable and poorly implemented when compared to every OS before Snow Leopard. Your post has made no reference to these problems, which others have found consistently.
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#5 User is online   Fairly 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:01 AM

So delightful to see the author of this article is finally learning how to use her Mac.
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#6 User is offline   bastion 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 07:05 AM

View PostMaxer, on 12 July 2010 - 06:05 AM, said:

Great, yet it does not work with Office 2004 files if both Office 2004 and Office 2008 are installed. Double clicking the Office 2004 files opens the Office 2008 application instead. Frustrating!


There's never been a reliable solution to this scenario. Whether you're keying off of creator codes or filename extensions, any non-commodity format will (without an active effort on your part) open in the app that the OS thinks of as responsible for that format and if you've got multiple applications that have the same relationship to the type and the same creator code the "tie breaker" such as it is has never been documented or guaranteed to remain stable. As a practical matter, the OS has typically chosen the more-recently-installed app.
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#7 User is offline   Maxer 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 08:16 AM

View Postbastion, on 12 July 2010 - 07:05 AM, said:

View PostMaxer, on 12 July 2010 - 06:05 AM, said:

Great, yet it does not work with Office 2004 files if both Office 2004 and Office 2008 are installed. Double clicking the Office 2004 files opens the Office 2008 application instead. Frustrating!


There's never been a reliable solution to this scenario. Whether you're keying off of creator codes or filename extensions, any non-commodity format will (without an active effort on your part) open in the app that the OS thinks of as responsible for that format and if you've got multiple applications that have the same relationship to the type and the same creator code the "tie breaker" such as it is has never been documented or guaranteed to remain stable. As a practical matter, the OS has typically chosen the more-recently-installed app.


It is really a bug of Microsoft Office 2008:

How to open Microsoft Office 2004 with Microsoft Office 2004 and not with Microsoft Office 2008 on Mac?
http://www.officefor...ums/Office/6109

The "Get Info" procedure works on a ony-by-one basis for each Office 2004 file, but now the search continues for a general fix for all Office 2004 files so that they can be open (when double clicking them) with Office 2004 (and not with Office 2008).
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#8 User is offline   mr.steevo 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 09:48 AM

Hi,

Since upgrading to Snow Leopard I find that my videos in iPhoto 08 don't open when click on them. It used to be that I'd click on a video and a QuickTime window would open to play the video. The videos play fine in QuickTime but only after I drag them from iPhoto to Quicktime. What can I do?

s.
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#9 User is offline   bastion 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 12:34 PM

View PostMaxer, on 12 July 2010 - 08:16 AM, said:

View Postbastion, on 12 July 2010 - 07:05 AM, said:

View PostMaxer, on 12 July 2010 - 06:05 AM, said:

Great, yet it does not work with Office 2004 files if both Office 2004 and Office 2008 are installed. Double clicking the Office 2004 files opens the Office 2008 application instead. Frustrating!


There's never been a reliable solution to this scenario. Whether you're keying off of creator codes or filename extensions, any non-commodity format will (without an active effort on your part) open in the app that the OS thinks of as responsible for that format and if you've got multiple applications that have the same relationship to the type and the same creator code the "tie breaker" such as it is has never been documented or guaranteed to remain stable. As a practical matter, the OS has typically chosen the more-recently-installed app.


It is really a bug of Microsoft Office 2008:


No. It is really a quirk of the way the Mac OS selects the application to use when Finder is told to open a file. The article to which you linked doesn't describe a bug in Office or, indeed, any behavior of Office at all. It's all about the OS.

When you use Get Info to associate an application with a document, it adds a resource to the document which the system will, in the future, use to identify the specific application to use. The nature of that resource is documented, but it's also terribly brittle. So a 3rd-party developer could write a utility to achieve it for all existing files, but it wouldn't be an automatic solution for newly-created files unless you're willing to accept significant performance impact on your system and then the developer would have to be willing to accept the high number of tech support requests from people that didn't like the impact on their system or get cranky when something they did broke the association established with that brittle resource.

When you use Get Info to associate an application with a type, the system makes an entry into a database that says "for any document with this type and no explicit app association, use the app with this identifier code." Read that carefully. Now consider what happens when the user has more than one app on their machine that shares a single identifier code. Suddenly "the" app is no longer a well-defined concept. And the tie-breakers have never been documented. "Is already running," as described in the article you linked, is high up there. Historically, "most recently installed" was an early discriminator as well. But those aren't guaranteed.

Quote

The "Get Info" procedure works on a ony-by-one basis for each Office 2004 file, but now the search continues for a general fix for all Office 2004 files so that they can be open (when double clicking them) with Office 2004 (and not with Office 2008).


As I wrote before, there's *never* in the history of the Mac been a reliable way to associate a specific copy of an app with that app's documents if more than one copy/version of that app is installed.

FWIW: As much as I understand he was trying to be helpful, the comments from William Smith demonstrated a serious confusion or lack of understanding on his part of how the mechanism works.

"First, Mac OS X 10.6 no longer supports using a file's resource fork for telling the Finder which application should open it."

False. Mac OS X 10.6 dramatically reduced the importance of the creator code, but that's got nothing to do with the resource fork. The only use the resource fork ever had was for that explicit linkage I described above, and that remains in effect in 10.6.

The solution he goes on to describe fails to take into account the difference in the way explicit linkages are specified compared to type-level linkage.

"The Finder is the application responsible for determining which application should open certain files."

Only to the extent that Finder (not "The Finder") asks the OS which app should open a given file.

"This is not a feature of Office. It's not something Office can control."

That, in fact, is 100% accurate. For some reason, you chose to disregard it.

This post has been edited by bastion: 12 July 2010 - 12:42 PM

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#10 User is offline   SharonZardetto 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 01:05 PM

View PostFairly, on 12 July 2010 - 07:01 AM, said:

So delightful to see the author of this article is finally learning how to use her Mac.

I'm glad I could delight you - and here I only got my first Mac in 1984, and already I'm learning how to use it.

Surely you understand that many users - even reasonably experienced, and productive, users - often overlook certain interface elements because they don't have the time to explore, and instead come up with workarounds - often clumsy and/or time-consuming - because they don't realize there's a built-in solution. Or, a reader knows several of the tips covered, but not one of the finer details that he'll find useful. You already knew all the stuff in this article? Good for you! Luckily, Macworld offers lots of information for all different levels of users, and I hope you take the time to comment on the ones you like, too.
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#11 User is offline   SharonZardetto 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 02:13 PM

View PostMaxer, on 12 July 2010 - 06:05 AM, said:

Great, yet it does not work with Office 2004 files if both Office 2004 and Office 2008 are installed. Double clicking the Office 2004 files opens the Office 2008 application instead. Frustrating!


What I have found - and it's way too much to have squeezed into this article - with both Word 04 and Word 08 installed:
• If I have Word 2004 running (which is my main word processor because I can't give up my macros) and Word 08 is not running, a double-click opens a Word (.doc) document in 04.
• If both, or neither, versions are running, dbl-click on a .doc opens to 08.
• If I've used Open With setting in the document's Get Info window to set it (and only it, not all of that type) to open in 04, then it opens into 04 regardless of the open/closed status of the two Word versions.

The exception to all this is if I open something from inside Apple Mail - it goes to Word 08 even if that means launching it.

Setting a specific document to always open in 04 seems to work reliably, as noted in the third bullet above. The problem is trying to set the Change All - select the 04 version in Info, use Change All, and it pops back to 08 and Change All goes dim!

So, since this seems to be a problem for so many people (who knew? I felt so alone depending on 6-yr-old software when I have the newer version also installed!) I spent some time and found this interim solution:

1: Temporarily "hide" the 08 version: In the Office 08 folder in your Applications folder, compress the Word application with File > Compress. Throw the original, uncompressed version in the Trash.
2: Select a Word doc, set its Open With to Word 04, and click Change All. With 08 missing in action, the change takes effect.
3: Dbl-click the compressed 08 Word to expand it back to working order.

At this point, all my .doc documents are opening in Word 04 even if both versions are open, or neither is running.

I suspect this situation won't last. I haven't tested further yet - I suspect that somehow as soon as I open a .docx from someone, things might change. However, annoying as this is, I have to chalk it up to using a 6-year-old piece of software that has an upgrade that's already been out for several years, and said upgrade is installed on my Mac. An annoying situation, but I don't think it's outrageous. (Except when I'm stung, say, 6 times in a row with a mistaken 08 opening. Then I approach outrage.)
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#12 User is offline   daiya 

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 04:25 PM

For Word 04/08, I'd think keeping both icons in the Dock and using the drag method would be easiest. (Drag-onto-icon-in-dock seems a little underemphasized in this piece, especially if aimed at new users.)
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#13 User is offline   HandyMac 

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 05:11 AM

I'm a little puzzled that there's no discussion in this article of the disastrous change in file-binding in 10.6 "Snow Leopard" (for which, imo, it should lose at least half a mouse in Macworld's rating) -- other than a brief mention that there has been a change -- or the third-party solutions that have been offered to correct the problem Apple has created for many users. The best (though also most expensive) of these solutions appears to be Magic Launch; see Macworld review and discussion. (Can't report on it myself as I haven't moved to 10.6 yet -- now that AppleJack has finally been updated I guess it's time -- but I bought it a few months ago when it was discounted.)

The latest version of Magic Launch (1.4) offers "Can now use multiple versions of the same application in rules and as the default application." Macintouch comments: "This release adds support for using different versions of the same application (e.g., open some files in Word 2008 and some in Word 2004)."

This post has been edited by HandyMac: 13 July 2010 - 05:20 AM

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#14 User is offline   Maxer 

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:59 AM

View PostHandyMac, on 13 July 2010 - 05:11 AM, said:

The latest version of Magic Launch (1.4) offers "Can now use multiple versions of the same application in rules and as the default application." Macintouch comments: "This release adds support for using different versions of the same application (e.g., open some files in Word 2008 and some in Word 2004)."


Wow, wow, wow!!! Magic Launch 1.4 works!!! Now Office 2004 files are open with Office 2004 applications (not with Office 2008 applications). Fantastic!!!
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