Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


How do I customize icons and the default apps on my Mac?

How do I change the program associated with specific file types and the icons associated with specific file types? For example, I want to change all my PDF icons...

There are two parts to this question, so let's tackle the harder one first. To actually change the icon associated with a specific file type you need to munge around with the innards of Mac OS X. This, as you might expect, isn't recommended for most users, so I would instead strongly advise you to check out some of the great shareware applications that have arisen to help you accomplish just this task.

A quick visit to VersionTracker reveals quite a few choices. Of these, the 800 pound gorilla is Candy Bar which lets you do tons of cool things with your Mac interface, if you're into that kind of thing! A geekier and more sophisticated alternative is Iconographer X, and Duality GT.

To change a single icon on a single file is easy, however, which is why there are so many icon libraries on the Web. To do that, well, let's answer your other question, then come back to this question, okay?

To change the application associated with a specific file type, click on...