"Open with" using Keyboard Maestro

On a regular basis I want to open files in the Finder with a particular application other than the default one. This depends on whether I want to view, edit or process a file in a certain way.

Using "open with" in the Finder's context menu is far too cumbersome, so I built a solution using Keyboard Maestro.

The first step was to create a macro for every application I want to use. Each macro contains only one action and a trigger hot key. Here's an example for Folding Text:

Macro: Open with

All these macros live in a group called "Finder: Open with". The group's macro palette can be triggered with the hot key Ctrl+o.

Macro Group: Finder Open with

To open a selected file1 in the Finder now requires only to fire up the palette followed by the single key for the application2.

Maybe you noticed in the above screenshots that I used another nifty feature of Keyboard Maestro. It's documentation states:

You can control the order of macros in a macro palette (or the status menu) by prefixing their name with two characters and a closing parenthesis (eg "01)" - two characters and a closing bracket). The macros will be sorted based on the code, but the code will be stripped off before display in the palette (or status menu).

I also added some empty macros for the pure purpose of creating some dividers. The final palette looks like this:

Macro Palette: Finder Open with

A solution like this might not appear to be very sophisticated, but it's a real time saver. So think about it the next time you do something over and over again.


  1. If more than one file is selected then the macro will open all of them. Interestingly Marked 2 fails silently. 

  2. In this case single letters are fine, because the macros are only active if the palette is displayed.