[Tutorial] Setting the default program for MS Office formats

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[Tutorial] Setting the default program for MS Office formats

Postby bobban » Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:42 am

If you had Microsoft Office installed prior to installing OpenOffice.org (OOo):

  • OOo v3.0.0 - OOo will not become the default application for MS file types. It does not provide an option during install for an option to affect this behaviour. The lack of option here is assumed to be a bug and possibly this will be fixed in new releases.

  • OOo v2.4.2 and previous versions - OOo will give the user an option during install on whether to make this the default program for MS Office file types or not.

Regardless of what options you took during installation, or your current configuration, it is an easy task to make either OOo or MS Office the default application for a particular file type.

Windows XP

Different ways to do this:

1) The easiest method is to simply right click on a file that you want to open. Select 'Open With...', then 'Choose Program...'.

From the dialog box that pops up select the program you want to make the default application (if it was a doc file then select swriter if you want Open Office to handle these files or Microsoft Word if you prefer that). You should be able to find it, but if you can't you can press 'Browse' and search for the program's main executable file.

Select "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file", and press OK. Now this program is the default. You can repeat this process for various file types (e.g. doc, xls etc.).

2) Or tell Windows what program to use to open what type of files:

This application has been reported to be successful in this forum.
Running this utility should set the associations correctly: OOoAssociation Utility.

3) The other option is to open Windows Explorer and then select:
Tools->Folder Options...->File Types

From here you can find a particular file type such as 'doc', and press 'Change' and you will be presented with the same dialog as in step 1. You can use this list to quickly set the default application for all the relevant file types.

Windows Vista

Methods 1 and 2 for Windows XP will work for Vista too, but there is also another option. It's not often I have good things to say about Vista, but I am pleased to announce that this is definitely one occasion where it can make life easier.

4) Start button->Control Panel->Programs->Default Programs->Set your default programs

Now find OpenOffice.org or Microsoft Office in the list and after selecting the appropriate one you can either choose 'Set this program as default' to make it the default application for all file types it can handle in one fell swoop, or 'Choose defaults for this program' to quickly pick the file types you would like this program to handle.

If you have a section to add for a different OS please do so.
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Setting the default program for MS Office formats - Mac OS X

Postby exegete77 » Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:31 pm

Mac OS X

Control-click on a file that you want to open. Select "Open With...", then "Other". This will immediately open a Finder window focused on the Applications Folder. Scroll through it until you find OpenOffice.org and select it. If you don't see it then you can click on the drop down (Recommended Applications) below the window and choose "All Applications." At the bottom of that Finder window is a check box, "Always open with"; be sure to check it. Click OK. Now this program is the default for that file type. Repeat this process for each file type (e.g. doc, xls etc.).
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File association removed at 3.0 install

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:58 pm

If you have been redirected to this thread, it may be because you've installed OOo 3.0 and file associations have been lost.

It has been removed rather quickly in 3.0.0. If you want to get it back, register the issue tracker and vote for it: Issue 96594 - MSOffice file association; up to 2 votes per issue! Update: the issue has been fixed, it will come back in 3.3.

NB: the issue tracker user database is different from this forum, you need to register again.
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Re: [Tutorial] Setting the default program for MS Office for

Postby mschmidt » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:30 pm

That was SO helpful bobban! Thank you so much...I didn't think i was ever going to figure that thing out. And thanks for putting your post in plain speak for computer illiterates :]
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Re: Setting the default program for MS Office formats - Mac

Postby lgusaas » Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:21 pm

exegete77 wrote:Mac OS X

Control-click on a file that you want to open. Select "Open With...", then "Other".

This method will only change the file association for that specific file. Here are instructions to change the association for all files of the same type.

To change which application a document opens in:

    1. Right click on the document’s icon.

    2. Choose File > Get Info.
    3. In the Info window, click the disclosure triangle next to “Open with,” and choose an application to open the document from the “Open with” pop-up menu.

    4. If you want all documents of this file type to open with the same application, click Change All.
Get Info.jpg
Get Info.jpg (19.3 KiB) Viewed 153671 times
File Association.jpg
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Re: [Tutorial] Setting the default program for MS Office for

Postby eclipsenow » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:59 am

Exegete 77, Igusaas is correct about how to open all file.doc types in OO.
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Re: [Tutorial] Setting the default program for MS Office for

Postby Roice59 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:52 pm

hmm this seems rather complicated but thank you
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Re: [Tutorial] Setting the default program for MS Office for

Postby oepeic » Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:44 am

For Windows 7: Clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Default Programs, and then clicking Set program access and computer defaults. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

To specify the default programs for .doc files you scroll to file .doc or you can type .doc to find. And then click change programe, browser to folder contain OO then click OK. All done!
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Re: [Tutorial] Setting the default program for MS Office for

Postby John_Ha » Sun May 07, 2017 4:31 pm

In Windows 7 or 8 ...

Go Start > Control Panel > Default Programs.


You can now choose Set your default programs which allows you to choose a program like AOO and give the program all (or just some) of its default file types. This is the best approach to follow.

Associate a file type or protocol with a program allows you to select a file type - eg a .rtf file - and specify which program (say Notepad) should open that file type. This overrides the general setting above.

See [Tutorial] Differences between Writer and MS Word files for why you should always work in and save files as .odt.

In Windows 10 ...

Guess what - Windows 10 is different and does not work properly for me. Quelle surprise. Also, there are many forum reports of Windows 10 updates seeming to mess up default programs and assign them (or is it just the displayed icons?) to MS Word, Excel etc. Quelle surprise une autre fois.

Do the following:

1 Go Start > Settings > Apps > Default Apps ..., to get to the stage in the image below.

2. Click Set Defaults by app ..., and choose Open Office (or LibreOffice).

3. Click Manage.

This lists all the file types which AOO (LO) can open and the programs currently assigned to open each file type.

4. Choose AOO (LO) for all the file types you want AOO (LO) to open.


You may find it easier to uninstall AOO or LO and then reinstall as AOO or LO will then automatically be given all its defaults during the installation.

See [Tutorial] Differences between Writer and MS Word files for why you should always work in and save files as .odt.
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See the Writer Guide, the Writer FAQ, the Writer Tutorials and Writer for students.

Remember: Always save your Writer files as .odt files. - see here for the many reasons why.
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