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Tango-view-fullscreen.pngThis article or section needs expansion.Tango-view-fullscreen.png

Reason: please use the first argument of the template to provide a brief explanation. (Discuss in Talk:Xdg-open#)

xdg-open is a desktop-independent tool for configuring the default applications of a user. Many applications invoke the Template:Codeline command internally.


xdg-open is part of the xdg-utils package available in extra:

pacman -S xdg-utils


Inside a desktop environment (e.g. GNOME, KDE, Xfce, etc.), xdg-open simply passes the arguments to that desktop environment's file-opener application (gnome-open, kde-open, or exo-open, respectively), which means that the associations are left up to the desktop environment. However, when no desktop environment is detected (for example when one runs a standalone window manager, e.g. Openbox), xdg-open use its own configuration files.

The config file

xdg-open use configuration files located at ~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list(for a single user) and /usr/share/applications/defaults.list (system wide). Its format is as follows:

[Default Applications]

For example,

[Default Applications]

The best way to look up the MIME type is to read the MimeTypes list in your application's .desktop file.

Some tools are available to edit the configuration files:


To make Thunar the default file-browser, i.e. the default application for opening folders.

xdg-mime default Thunar.desktop inode/directory

to use xpdf as the default PDF viewer:

$ xdg-mime default xpdf.desktop application/pdf

This should create an entry in your local MIME database:

[Default Applications]

Your PDF files should be opened with xpdf now.


mimetype in perl-file-mimeinfo package is more intuitive.

To select default application for a given extension (you need a sample file):

$ mimetype -d file.extension

For me it only worked as normal user - as root I had problems because no directories for the local MIME times were created. See also this thread.

Environment Variables


This variable set default application for URLs. For example, when using Openbox without a desktop environment, do the following:

export BROWSER=chromium

will make xdg-open use chromium for any kind of URLs


When this variable is set, xdg-open will use the more user-friendly file-opener application that desktop environment provides. Some packages need to be installed to use this feature. For GNOME, that would be libgnome. For Xfce, 'exo'.

The $DE environment variable needs to be exported before starting the window manager. For example:

export DE="xfce"
exec ck-launch-session openbox

This will make xdg-open use the more user-friendly exo-open, because it assumes it is inside Xfce. Use exo-preferred-applications for configuring.


For LXDE desktop enviroment users modify ~/.profile


Then xdg-open will use pcmanfm file associations.

See also