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How to Associate a File Type with a Specific App on Windows 11 & 10?

Mastering File Associations on Windows 10 and 11.

With the digital era in full swing, computers have woven themselves deeply into the fabric of our everyday tasks. One frequent interaction many users have with their PCs is managing and accessing different file types. Each file type, be it a .jpg, .docx, .pdf, or any other, has its unique characteristics, and even if two files contain the same information, their format can drastically change the way we interact with them. For instance, while a .txt file may open with Notepad by default, some users might prefer using a different application to view or edit its contents. This brings us to the concept of file associations.

A file association essentially informs Windows about which application should be used to open a particular file type. By default, Windows sets certain applications to handle specific file extensions. However, there might be instances where a user would prefer to open a file with a different application. Fortunately, customizing these preferences is straightforward.

When attempting to identify the type of a file, a quick right-click on it and selecting the Properties option will lead to the General tab. Here, next to “Type of file,” a three-letter designation reveals the file’s extension. Should the need arise to change its associated program, Windows provides a couple of methods to achieve this.

This guide delves into the step-by-step procedures to associate a file type with a specific app on both Windows 11 and Windows 10. The two primary methods are:-

  1. Using the Control Panel
  2. Directly from the Context Menu.

Dive in, and soon you’ll be customizing your file associations like a pro!

How to Associate a File Type with a Specific App Using Control Panel?

Follow these steps to associate a File Type with a specific app using Control Panel:-

Step 1. First, open Control Panel.

To do that, click on the Start button and search for it by typing its name.

Step 2. When the Control Panel appears on your computer, ensure “View by” is set to Category and then click on the Programs.

Step 3. Then, in the resulting window, click on the Default Programs.

Step 4. After that, click on the Set your favorite programs option.

In Windows 11/10, the Settings app will open. You can continue in Windows 8/7 in the same window.

On Windows 10

Step 5. Now, click the Default apps tab on the left side of the Settings window. Then, on the right side of it, scroll down to see the link “Choose default apps by file type.” Click on this link to open the next window.

Step 6. After that, you will see all file extensions available on your PC and the default program name with which it is associated. Click on the program name next to the file association to set your favorite app as the default program.

When you double-click on the file, it will open with your favorite default program.

That’s it.

On Windows 11

Step 5. Now, click on the installed application name you want to assign as default for any specific file type.

Step 6. Then, you will see a list of extensions of files that your application can use as the default program. Click on the specific file extension that you want to set your favorite program as the default application.

Step 7. After that, select the desired program and then click the OK button.

How to Associate a File Type with a Specific App Using Context Menu?

Using Context Menu, you can quickly set a default program for a specific file type on a Windows PC. Do the following steps:-

Step 1. First, right-click on the file you want to change the file association with and select ‘Open with,’ then the ‘Choose another app’ option from the pop-up menu.

Step 2. When you’re done, a pop-up window will open. In the pop-up window, you will see the default program and other app lists. If you still do not find your favorite app, click the More apps option to see even more programs list.

Step 3. Then, select the desired program through which you want to open the specific file type and then check the option “Always use this app to open files.” Click OK to apply the changes.

By default, when you double-click on that type of file, it will open with your selected application. There is no need to right-click and select the desired program again and again when you want to open that type of file on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC.

Also Read: How to Add or Remove Options from the “Ctrl + Alt + Del” Screen on Windows 11/10?


In today’s digital world, the ability to customize our computer interactions holds significant importance. File associations on Windows allow users to tailor how they access and edit their files by assigning specific applications to handle certain file types. With the provided guide, users of Windows 10 and Windows 11 can easily navigate and adjust these associations either through the Control Panel or directly from the Context Menu. By mastering these steps, anyone can ensure that their computing experience aligns perfectly with their preferences.


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