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Before Snow Leopard, OS X linked applications and their documents not just with file extensions, but also with unique codes that ensured a file would open in the application that created it. Many applications still assign these creator codes to documents, but since they’re no longer recognized by OS X, a PDF made in Acrobat might open in Preview. Magic Launch brings the good old days back—with a twist. It’s a handy System Preferences pane that binds documents to their parent applications or to any app you choose, all according to flexible rules you can customize to suit your workflow.
Rules let you quickly set conditions to launch applications your way.
Start by dragging a file into Magic Launch’s sidebar (which we’d like better if we could organize file types into folders) and set files to open according to their creator code, if possible. If your files don’t use creator codes or if you just want to fine-tune how certain documents and applications interact, rules let you launch affected file types your way, not Snow Leopard’s. To build rules, choose from criteria like filename, size, location, and more, then choose what you want to happen when the file is launched under those conditions. In most cases, this means opening in a particular app, but you can also set Magic Launch to execute shell scripts in Terminal or open certain files in a command-line editor. For more complex scenarios, multiple rules can be applied to a single file type, and rules can be repositioned in Magic Launch to achieve the desired effect. For example, you can create rules that force JPEG files from a particular folder to open in Pixelmator, while JPEGs in a different folder open in Preview; meanwhile, any JPEGs larger than 10MB get sent straight to Photoshop.
Rules can also be exported and shared with others. Best of all, Magic Launch casts its spell without hacking OS X or your files. Affected documents are opened by Magic Launch Agent, a background application that sends your files to the appropriate applications according to your rules. If you ever need to return your Mac to Snow Leopard’s defaults, disabling Magic Launch only takes a single click.
The bottom line. More than a one-trick pony, Magic Launch is great for anyone who works with a particular file type in multiple applications.
Requirements: Mac OS 10.6 or later
Binds file types to open in specific applications. Flexible rules open files your way in a variety of situations.
File-type sidebar lacks folder organization.