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Álvaro Ramírez

Álvaro Ramírez

14 October 2022 Emacs: Open with macOS app

On a recent Reddit comment, tdstoff7 asked if I had considered writing an "Open with" DWIM shell command for those times one would like to open a file externally using an app other than the default. I hadn't, but nice idea.

Take images as an example. Though Emacs can display them quickly, I also open images externally using the default app (Preview in my case). But then there are those times when I'd like to open with a different app for editing (maybe something like GIMP). It'd be nice to quickly choose which app to open with.


There isn't much to the code. Get a list of apps, ask user to pick one (via completing-read), and launch the external app via dwim-shell-command-on-marked-files.

There's likely a better way of getting a list of available apps (happy to take suggestions), but searching in "/Applications" "~/Applications" and "/System/Applications" does the job for now.

(defun dwim-shell-commands-macos-open-with ()
  "Convert all marked images to jpg(s)."
  (let* ((apps (seq-sort
                (seq-mapcat (lambda (paths)
                               paths "\\.app$" t (lambda (path)
                                                  (not (string-suffix-p ".app" path)))))
                            '("/Applications" "~/Applications" "/System/Applications"))))
         (selection (progn
                      (cl-assert apps nil "No apps found")
                      (completing-read "Open with: "
                                       (mapcar (lambda (path)
                                                 (propertize (file-name-base path) 'path path))
     "Open with"
     (format "open -a '%s' '<<*>>'" (get-text-property 0 'path selection))
     :silent-success t
     :no-progress t
     :utils "open")))

dwim-shell-commands-macos-open-with is now included in dwim-shell-command, available on melpa. What other uses can you find for it?