OpenAnyOpen File X with App Y From Anywhere

macOS app and file launcher for simple scripting.

Launches, performs its job, then quits. No long-running processes. No clutter in your menu bar!


  1. Download binary from latest release
  2. Move to /Applications (before launching, so that macOS clears the app’s quarantine flags)
  3. (To make sure everything works, open the app once, then quit, to register its URL scheme.)


Now use openany:// as explained below ?


Any app that renders URLs as clickable links can now become your external app or file launchpad.

  • ? Create open-file-with-app links anywhere!
  • ? Assemble dashboards to your projects in your favorite note-taking app!

For example, you can use this in almost any Markdown editor with syntax highlighting to get a clickable link that will open TextEdit:

## My favorite stock macOS apps

TextEdit: <openany://app/>

That’s a very silly example. Why would you want to launch TextEdit in such a complicated way?

Here’s a more complicated example: open a file with a specific app, with a link.

The default file:// URLs you get from dragging from Finder are also clickable, but they only reveal the file. Opening the file is an extra step. Boo extra steps!!11

How about embedding a shortcut to edit a file with TableFlip and preview with Marked?

Preview:     <openany://app/com.brettterpstra.marked2/view?path=~/>
Edit Tables: <openany://app/de.christiantietze.TableFlip/view?path=~/>

... document goes here ...

Open any app, or any file, or any file in any app!


Powered by the openany:// URL scheme, you can launch apps and open files!

Open app:

  • openany://app/ launches TextEdit via its bundle identifier.

Open file:

  • openany://file/open?path=/path/to/file.txt opens /path/to/file.txt in your default editor of text files.
  • openany://file/open?url=file:///path/to/file.txt opens /path/to/file.txt in your default editor of text files, but using a file:// URL instead of a path.

Open files with app:

  • openany://app/ opens /path/to/file.txt in TextEdit.
  • openany://app/ opens /path/to/file.txt in TextEdit, but using a file:// URL instead of a path.
  • openany://file/openwith/ opens /path/to/file.txt in TextEdit.
  • openany://file/openwith/ opens /path/to/file.txt in TextEdit, but using a file:// URL instead of a path.

Reveal file:

  • openany://file/reveal?path=/path/to/file.txt reveals /path/to/file.txt in Finder.
  • openany://file/reveal?url=file:///path/to/file.txt reveals /path/to/file.txt in Finder, but using a file:// URL instead of a path.

How to get an app’s bundle ID

You can drag and drop any app onto the OpenAny application icon to extract its bundle ID.

  1. Launch OpenAny directly;
  2. Drag apps from Finder to the OpenAny application icon in your dock;
  3. Copy the bundle ID out of the dialog, Screenshot of the Bundle ID extractor
  4. then close it (and quit the app).

⚠️ For apps, you need the bundle identifier. PR’s welcome for lookup of application by name!

Why file://?!

Easy parsing reason

the path= query parameter works best for files without spaces or any other URL-escaped characters.

For all others, you’re better off with a file URL.

Drag and drop reason

If you drag files from Finder into some apps, they will insert the file:// into text field. Could be a text editor, a comment field on a calendar event, a note-taking app, a chat window — you name it. That’s how dropping files on macOS can behave.

You can delete the file:// part to get to the path, of course, but then you have all the URL-escpaed special characters (like %20 instead of spaces).

It’s less annoying to just use the URL by that point. So we do.


The URL scheme is comprised of components like this:


When the HOST acts as the subject, the pattern becomes:


The query parameters are called the URL’s payload.

List of possible HOSTs

  • app: Launch an app, identified by SUBJECT. That’s the bundle identifier.
  • file: Open a file specified by the payload

List of possible SUBJECT patterns

  • For the app host:
    • The SUBJECT is the app’s bundle ID. (Followed by a verb.)
  • For the file host:
    • reveal (acting as VERB here), see below.
    • open (acting as VERB here), see below.
    • openwith (acting as VERB here), see below.
    • show (acting as VERB here), see below.

List of possible VERBs

  • For the app host
    • with BUNDLE_ID being the SUBJECT:
      • (none): Launches the app. Alias ans shorthand to launch.
      • launch: /app/BUNDLE_ID/launch
      • view: /app/BUNDLE_ID/view opens a file, specified by the payload, in the app. Alias for /file/openwith/BUNDLE_ID.
  • For the file host:
    • reveal: Reveal a file, specified by the payload, in Finder.
    • open: Open a file, specified by the payload, in the default app.
    • openwith: Open a file, specified by the payload, with the app being the OBJECT. Alias for /app/BUNDLE_ID/view. Example: openany://file/openwith/ opens /path/to/file.txt in TextEdit.
    • show: Alias for reveal.

List of possible Payloads

Only used by file-related actions, the payload keys are:

  • path: As in ?path=/path/to/file.txt, using an absolute POSIX path. Expands ~ in the path. Most useful for simple paths without e.g. spaces.
  • url: As in ?url=file:///path/to%20a%file/with%20spaces.txt, using an absolute file:// URL, e.g. to easil encode special characters.

If the path or URL point to a directory, Finder will show the directory in a new window. So /file/open?path=~/Downloads/ is equivalent to /file/reveal?path=~/Downloads/`.


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