How do I set default apps in Windows 11?

Windows 11 has a feature called default apps that determines which app opens a file type by default. For example, when you double-click a .PNG file in Windows 11, Microsoft Photos automatically opens the image because Photos is the default app associated with PNG files.

If you want a file type to open in a different app, you can select a new default app for that file type. For example, if you associate PNG files with Microsoft Paint, they will automatically open in Paint instead of Photos.

There are two primary ways to change default apps in Windows 11:

  1. Using Default apps in Windows 11 settings
  2. Right-clicking an individual file and selecting Choose another app

1. Using Default apps

The Default apps selection tool is available in Windows 11 settings.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. From the left sidebar menu, select Apps. Then, select Default apps. Default apps button in Windows 11 settings
  3. Scroll down to Related settings and select Choose defaults by file type. Choose defaults by file type button in Windows 11 settings
  4. In the search box that appears, enter the file type whose file association you want to change.
  5. Click the button that appears under the file type's name. (The button shows the file type's current default app.) Windows 11 change default app
  6. In the menu that appears, select your new default app. Then, click OK. Default app selection menu

After you click OK, the new default app you chose will appear beneath your file type. Now, when you double-click a file of that type, it will open in that app.

2. Right-clicking a file

If you want to avoid the Windows 11 settings menu, you can change a file type's file association while opening a file of that type.

  1. Right-click a file of the type whose association you want to change. Then, select Open with → Choose another app. Right-click menu in File Explorer
  2. Select the app with which you want to open this file type.
  3. Select the Always use this app to open .png files checkbox. Open with app selection menu
    You must select the Always use this app to open .ext files checkbox to permanently change a file type's file association. If you do not select the checkbox, the file type will open in the app you selected only this once.
  4. Click OK.

After you click OK, your file will open in the new default app you selected, and its icon will change to that app's file type icon.