Open File in One App on Another Mac App with Proxy Icons

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How many times have you opened a file in one application on your Mac, only to open it in another OS X app instead? Quite often, right? When faced with that situation, most Mac users will do one of two things; go back to the Finder file system and reopen the file in the app you want, or open the other app and open the file directly from there. But there is another way to open a file in one application from another, and it is often faster and easier than traditional methods.

This is going to use something called a proxy icon, which is the little icon thumbnail that appears next to a saved file name in the title bar of a file window. They show up in most Mac apps that support them, but if you’ve never heard the term proxy icon, you’re probably not alone. Nevertheless, that little icon is interactive and in this case, we’re going to use it to restart a file in a new app.

Below is an example of what the proxy icon looks like for a demonstration file stored in TextEdit.

Note that the file in question must be saved and located somewhere in the file system, as unsaved files do not show a proxy icon in the title bar. Plus, not every single app in OS X supports them, although every default app on the Mac does.

The proxy icon in Mac OS X

To reopen this active file from one app to another, just click and hold the file proxy icon until it goes dark (meaning it’s selected), then the proxy file icon and to a new application icon.

Drag a proxy icon onto a new app icon to open it

That new app could be something stored in the Dock, which is demonstrated in this screenshot example by opening a file from the Preview app in the Skitch app.

File opened in new app via proxy icon

This also works to open files by dragging them to apps saved in the Finder toolbar or even Launchpad.

To drag a proxy icon to an app in Launchpad, simply click the files proxy icon and summon the launcher with a keystroke or by holding down the Option key while dragging over the Launchpad Dock icon . Then drop the file icon on the desired app as usual.

Dragged proxy icon to Launchpad to open in new app

The proxy icons in the title bar can also be used to create aliases in OS X, and by clicking the actual file name you can even rename or move a file from the Mac title bar.

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Open a File from One App in Another Mac App with Proxy Icons: FAQ

Tutorial Summary: Open a File from One App in Another Mac App with Proxy Icons

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What is actual time in which this method complete?

The time to complete the Open a File from One App in Another Mac App with Proxy Icons tutorial is 10+ minutes.

What are the supported Device?

Apple

What are the supported Operating system?

mac OS


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