I started using Sublime Text 2 a week or so ago and I loved it so much I've spent $60 on it and now want to use it for everything.

Gedit currently has ownership of most of the text file associations. I'd essentially like to replace any association to gedit with sublime-text-2.

Any tips available on bulk association changing? Desktop-neutral methods are preferred.

  • Hope my answer (in the last) is the easiest one you can use :) Commented May 18, 2015 at 6:32
  • 2
    possible duplicate of how can I change file association globally?
    – Lucio
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 0:08
  • 2
    @Lucio - Why would you vote to close a question asked a year earlier against a question asked a year later? Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 7:56
  • 1
    I don't rely on dates to mark a post as duplicated of another one. If one post has no useful content whilst other does, then it should be marked as dupe. If both posts bring useful content over the same issue, then they should be merged. At least that is MHO.
    – Lucio
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 1:21
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of How to set default program? Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 14:21

4 Answers 4


Running on 13.04+, update the file: /etc/gnome/defaults.list.

sudo sed -i 's/gedit.desktop/sublime-text-2.desktop/g' /etc/gnome/defaults.list  

Credit to trent for the update to 13.04+


System wide associations:

sudo sed -i 's/gedit.desktop/sublime-text-2.desktop/g' /usr/share/applications/defaults.list

Just your user's associations:

sed -i 's/gedit.desktop/sublime-text-2.desktop/g' ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list

Credit to Oli for the naming convention of the .desktop file before I started using SublimeText2.

  • 1
    Magic, thanks. I've added what the PPA users (myself included) can use based on your answer.
    – Oli
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 15:22
  • 4
    Last method works fine also on Ubuntu 14.04 sudo sed -i 's/gedit.desktop/sublime-text-2.desktop/g' /etc/gnome/defaults.list Commented May 9, 2014 at 21:16
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    It should be noted that Sublime Text 3 uses sublime-text.desktop which drops the version number instead of incrementing the filename to sublime-text-3.desktop
    – Niko
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 19:44
  • 3
    Use sudo sed -i 's/gedit.desktop/sublime_text.desktop/g' /etc/gnome/defaults.list to Sublime Text 3.
    – Iago
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 22:20
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    Interesting, in 14.10, I had to change /usr/share/applications/defaults.list (which you indicated was for Pre 13.04 releases). Since I wanted to use Kate instead of Gedit, I modified your command as follows: sudo sed -i 's|gedit.desktop|kate.desktop|g' /usr/share/applications/defaults.list. (The vertical bars in sed are just a personal preference).
    – Enterprise
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 0:31

Update for 16.04 Users:

Ubuntu tweak has been discontinued. Much of it's functionalities are now being provided by Unity Tweak Tool or Gnome Tweak Tool. But those still lacks Ubuntu Tweak's awesome feature of easy file-type association changing.

To install Ubuntu Tweak on these later version follow the procedure described on this answer about installing it on 16.04

There is another way to change the association. It is via using Ubuntu-tweak.

  1. Install Ubuntu tweak

  2. Open it via Dash by typing "Ubuntu tweak"

    enter image description here

  3. After opening it, Click on the Admin tab.

    enter image description here

  4. Then click on File type manager section

    enter image description here

  5. Then first select the Text catagory from the left side bar, and then click on the Associated Applications column to sort it by Application name

    enter image description here

  6. After the application is sorted by name, Select the top entry with Gedit, then Press and hold the Shift key and click on the last entry with gedit. Then click on the Edit button.

    enter image description here

  7. A new window will open where you can see all installed text editor.

    enter image description here

  8. Then select the desired application from list and click close. You can also Click on the Add button to add an application which is not installed in pre-defined system folder.

Hope this will help. If you want to reset them, you can click the reset button also.

The good thing in this solution is, you can't accidentally mess up your system .desktop file.

  • @dhanvi Just because you answered with another approach doesn't mean you must give a downvote!
    – Anwar
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 9:25
  • @dhanvi When we do answer, we typically consider things such as how easy is the solution to follow. I knew several other methods, but it was the easiest. And, setting default was not an option in 12.04 afair. And I have given a way to set several file type simultaneously. FYI, update-alternative is really not an option most of the time.
    – Anwar
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 13:36
  • maaaan this is best aprroach Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 12:31

The easiest way to do is using the nautilus files not sure if it works for others too

  1. select the type of file you want right click and select properties (Alt+Enter is the shortcut)

  2. The choose the option open with and then select the one you want as you see here I use atom by default you can also select sublime from the recommended applications enter image description here

Command line editor

you you want to choose the default editor in command line type the following command and then choose the option from there

sudo update-alternatives --config editor

since I use vi I have set it to vim you can choose what ever you want from there also here is the screen shot

screen shot

If you like this don't forget to vote up this post

  • @Oli I think this is the easiest answer hope you agree :) Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 11:44
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    easiest solution, in my view (with nautilus, I mean)
    – mBardos
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 11:16
  • Hope this helped you @mBardos :) Commented May 18, 2015 at 6:30
  • 2
    Your answer is not actually answering the question, since the OP wants a solution that handles multiple file type assignment at once! Please re-read the question
    – Anwar
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 9:33
  1. Right click on the file
  2. Open properties
  3. Select the "Open with" tab
  4. Choose an application
  5. Click on "Set as default"

Screenshot of setting Sublime Text as default application: Set <code>Sublime Text</code> as default application"

Note: If you right click on a *.c file and if you do the above process, then only those files which have the same extension will have the new application as a default one. So similarly you should do the same for all kinds of files. Eg: *.cpp, *.py etc.

  • already mentioned the same in above answer Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:53

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