I have some really large files in my drive as Data. My default editor is gedit. I wish to know if I can change my default editor to something else like say glogg, for files above a certain threshold of size. That is, can I choose my default application depending on the size of file, even the files are of the same format ?


You need a desktop file, and a wrapper script:

  1. The desktop file

    • Create a desktop file

      nano ~/.local/share/applications/wrapper.desktop
    • Add the configuration below

      [Desktop Entry]
      Name=File size dependent editor
      Comment=File size dependent editor
      Exec=/home/user/bin/wrapper %f
    • Replace user in Exec=/home/user/bin/wrapper %f with your username, the output of

      echo $USER
    • Replace the icon name in Icon=gedit with a name or path of your choice

    • Use MimeType=text/plain to specify the mime types of files for which the decision is to apply. Separate multiple mime types via ;

      Get the mime type via

      mimetype your_file

      e.g. for a text file

    • If you want to use a editor with a CLI, like nano, than replace false in Terminal=false with true

  2. The wrapper script

    • Create a new script

      mkdir -p ~/bin
      nano ~/bin/wrapper
    • Add the code below

      #!/usr/bin/env bash
      FILESIZE=$(stat -c%s "$1")
      if [ "$FILESIZE" -le $MAX_SMALL_FILE_SIZE ]; then
              "$SMALL_FILE_EDITOR" "$1"
              "$LARGE_FILE_EDITOR" "$1"
      exit 0
    • Define your editor for large files in LARGE_FILE_EDITOR, e.g. glogg

    • Define your editor for small files in SMALL_FILE_EDITOR, e.g. gedit

    • Define the maximum file size for the $SMALL_FILE_EDITOR in MAX_SMALL_FILE_SIZE, e.g. 1000000 for 1MB

    • Make your wrapper script executable

      chmod +x ~/bin/wrapper
  3. Restart Unity/GNOME Shell, for the GNOME Shell e.g. Alt-F2, type r and Enter

  4. Associate one or more file types with the wrapper

    • Open your file manager and right click on a file for which the decision is to apply

    • Click Open With Other Application

    • Click the button View All Applications

    • Select the entry File size dependent editor

  5. Enjoy ;)

| improve this answer | |
  • Although, why is icon not in showing like gedit icon !! Is it possible to inherit the icon of whichever editor is opened ? – user35952 Sep 29 '15 at 12:16
  • No, that's not possible. The desktop file know nothing about the decision in the wrapper script. You can use a universal icon, E.g. a logger icon. – A.B. Sep 29 '15 at 12:18
  • How do I do that ?? – user35952 Sep 29 '15 at 12:19
  • If want to use a icon from your icon theme, use the filename without an extension or use the full path for a custom icon. – A.B. Sep 29 '15 at 12:21
  • But the icon specified as gedit in the wrapper file is not working too ?? – user35952 Sep 29 '15 at 12:23

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