Custom File Associations

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The following method creates a custom mime type and file association manually. This is useful if your desktop does not have a mime type/file association editor installed. In this example, a fictional multimedia application 'foobar' will be associated with all '*.foo' files. This will be done a per user basis (as opposed to system-wide).

  • First, create the file ~/.local/share/mime/packages/application-x-foobar.xml:
$ mkdir -p ~/.local/share/mime/packages
$ cd ~/.local/share/mime/packages
$ touch application-x-foobar.xml
  • Then edit ~/.local/share/mime/packages/application-x-foobar.xml and add this text:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<mime-info xmlns="">
	<mime-type type="application/x-foobar">
		<comment>foo file</comment>
		<icon name="application-x-foobar"/>
		<glob pattern="*.foo"/>

Note that you can use any icon, including one for another application.

  • Next, edit or create the file ~/.local/share/applications/foobar.desktop to contain something like:
[Desktop Entry]

Note that Categories should be set appropriately for the application type (in this example, a multimedia app).

  • Now update the mime database with:
$ update-mime-database ~/.local/share/mime

Programs that use mime types, such as file managers, should now open '*.foo' files with foobar. (You may need to restart your file manager to see the change.)