How to Make Photoshop Your Default Image Editor

How to Make Photoshop Your Default Image Editor
How to Make Photoshop Your Default Image Editor_6086f74462191.jpeg

How to Make Photoshop Your Default Image Editor

Want to open images into Photoshop just by double-clicking on them? Here’s how to make Photoshop your default image editor in Windows 10 and macOS!

Written by Steve Patterson.

In this tutorial, I show you how to make Photoshop your default image editor in both Windows and on a Mac so you can open JPEG files, PNG files and more directly into Photoshop just by double-clicking on them! We’ll start by learning how to change the default image editor in Windows 10 from the Photos app to Photoshop, and then we’ll move over to the Mac and change the default image editor in macOS from Preview to Photoshop!

Since this is really more of a Windows and Mac tutorial, whichever version of Photoshop is installed on your computer will work. I’m using Photoshop 2021.

Let’s get started!

Download this tutorial as a print-ready PDF!

How to make Photoshop your default image editor in Windows 10

Here’s how to make Photoshop your default image editor on a PC running Windows 10.

Step 1: Navigate to an image on your computer

First, in Windows, use the File Explorer to navigate to a folder that holds one of your images. I’ll use a JPEG image but you can repeat these same steps with other file types like PNG and TIFF.

We know we’re looking at a JPEG image by the .jpg extension after the file name:

Navigating to a JPEG image in Windows File Explorer.

Navigating to a JPEG image in Windows.

How to turn on file extensions in Windows 10

If you’re not seeing the file extension, go up to the View menu and turn on File name extension:

Turning on file name extensions in Windows

The File name extension option in the View menu.

The default image editor in Windows 10

By default in Windows, if we open a JPEG image by double-clicking on its thumbnail:

Double-clicking on the image to open it in Windows

Double-clicking the thumbnail to open the image.

The image opens in the Photos app, which is not Photoshop and not what we want:

The image opens in the Photos app in Windows.

Windows opens the image in the Photos app by default.

If that happens, close the Photos app by clicking the X in the top right corner:

Closing the Photos app.

Closing the Photos app.

Step 2: Right-click on the image thumbnail and choose Properties

To make Windows open all JPEG images in Photoshop, right-click on the image thumbnail:

Right-clicking on the JPEG image thumbnail in Windows

Right-clicking on the image thumbnail.

And choose Properties at the bottom of the menu:

Opening the image Properties in Windows.

Opening the image properties.

Step 3: Click the Change button and select Photoshop

In the Properties dialog box, notice that JPEG files are currently set to open with Photos.

To replace Photos with Photoshop as the default image editor for JPEG files, click the Change button:

Clicking the Change button in the image properties in Windows.

Clicking the Change button.

Then select the most recent version of Photoshop installed on your computer. As of now, the latest version is Photoshop 2021:

Selecting Photoshop as the new default image editor in Windows.

Selecting Photoshop as the new default image editor.

If Photoshop is not listed, scroll down to the bottom and click More Apps:

Click More Apps if Photoshop is not in the original list.

Clicking More apps.

And Photoshop should appear. Click on it to select it and then click OK:

Selecting Photoshop and clicking OK.

Selecting Photoshop and clicking OK.

Step 4: Close the Properties

Back in the Properties dialog box, Photoshop is now set as the default image editor for JPEG files:

JPEG files will now open with Photoshop in Windows 10

JPEG files will now open with Photoshop.

Click OK to close the dialog box:

Clicking OK to close the Properties dialog box in Windows 10

Clicking OK to close the Properties dialog box.

And that’s all there is to it! You can now double-click on a JPEG image thumbnail in Windows:

Double-clicking on the image to open it in Windows

Double-clicking again on the JPEG image thumbnail.

And the image will open directly into Photoshop. Simply repeat these same steps for other file types like PNG and TIFF to set Photoshop as their default editor as well:

Windows now opens JPEG images directly into Photoshop

Windows now opens JPEG images in Photoshop.

How to make Photoshop your default image editor on a Mac

Here’s how to make Photoshop your default image editor on a Mac running macOS.

Step 1: Navigate to an image on your computer

First, use Finder to navigate to a folder on your Mac that holds one of your images. I’m using a JPEG image here (with the .jpg file extension), but you can repeat these same steps with other file types like PNG and TIFF:

JPEG images now open automatically into Photoshop in Windows 10.

Opening a folder that holds a JPEG image.

The default image editor in macOS

By default, if we open a JPEG image on a Mac by double-clicking on its thumbnail:

Double-clicking the JPEG image thumbnail to open it in macOS

Double-clicking the thumbnail to open the image.

It opens in the Preview app, which is not what we want:

macOS opens images in the Preview app by default.

masOS opens the image in the Preview app by default.

If that happens, close Preview by going up to the Preview menu in the Menu Bar and choosing Quit Preview:

Closing the Preview app in macOS

Going to Preview > Quit Preview.

Step 2: Right-click on the image thumbnail and choose Get Info

To have macOS open JPEG files into Photoshop, right-click (or Control-click) on the image thumbnail:

Right-clicking on the image thumbnail

Right-clicking (or Control-clicking) on the image thumbnail.

And choose Get Info from the menu:

Choosing the Get Info command.

Choosing the Get Info command.

Step 3: Change Open with to Photoshop

In the Info dialog box, notice that JPEG files are set to open with Preview. You may need to twirl the section open to view it:

The Info dialog box in macOS showing Preview as the default image editor.

JPEG images are set to open in Preview.

Click on Preview and select the newest version of Photoshop installed on your Mac. As of now, the latest version is Photoshop 2021:

Setting Photoshop as the new image editor in macOS.

Setting Photoshop as the new image editor.

Step 4: Click Change All and then Continue

Then to have all JPEG images open in Photoshop, click the Change All button:

Clicking the Change All button in the Info dialog box.

Clicking the Change All button.

And when macOS asks if you’re sure, click Continue:

Confirming that all JPEG files should open in Photoshop on macOS

Confirming that all JPEG files should open in Photoshop.

Step 5: Close the Info dialog box

Close the Info dialog box by clicking the red x icon in the top left:

Closing the Info dialog box in macOS

Closing the Info dialog box.

And that’s all there is to it! You can now double-click on a JPEG image thumbnail:

Double-clicking the JPEG image thumbnail to open it in macOS

Double-clicking again on the image thumbnail.

And macOS will open the image directly into Photoshop. Simply repeat these same steps with PNG, TIFF or other file types to set Photoshop as their default editor as well:

macOS now opens JPEG images directly into Photoshop

macOS now opens JPEG images in Photoshop.

Where to go next!

And there we have it! That’s how to make Photoshop your default image editor in Windows 10 and macOS!

For more ways to open images in Photoshop, check out the other lessons in my Getting Images into Photoshop Complete Guide. Or visit my Photoshop Basics section for more lessons for beginners. And don’t forget, all of my tutorials are now available to download as PDFs!

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