Q: How do I change my operating system's default application for opening PDFs?

1 min. readlast update: 02.28.2024

Windows can only open one program for a particular file extension automatically, so if you like to work with your PNG files in Photoshop Elements, for example, and not Paint, changing the default file association for PNG files is required. The same goes for PDF files as well.

The Choose defaults by file type option is found in the Windows 11 Settings.

  1. Right-click the Start button (or use the WIN+X keyboard shortcut) and select Settings. The hotkey WIN+i works, too.

  2. Select Apps from the left panel, and then Default apps from the right.

    Apps settings for Windows 11
  3. Scroll to the very bottom, and select Choose defaults by file type.

    Choose defaults by file type link in Windows 11 settings
  4. Click or tap one of the file types in the list.

  5. Pick a program from the pop-up list, or choose Look for an app in the Microsoft Store.

    How do you want to open mp4 files from now on prompt
  6. Select OK to save. From now on, Windows will now open that program when you open a file with that extension from File Explorer.

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