When I install shutter to take screenshots, imagemagick sets itself as default PDF-reader and I am unable to change it.

I would like to have evince as default PDF-reader.

I have tried right click on a PDF document in file explorer-> Properties -> Set default application-> Evince.

This does not work, imagemagick stays as default. Doing this with the file explorer opened as root works but it doesn't change the normal-user default application.

Using xdg-mime does not help either. In /etc/gnome/defaults.list the default application for PDF is evince.

And, when I remove imagemagick-6.q16, evince becomes the default application for opening PDFs, but shutter is removed too.

Am I missing something ? Where can I change this behavior ?

I have an updated version of Debian Jessie in my computer and I am using Gnome3.


I can replicate this behavior with different file explorers (tested with nemo and nautilus)

The output of XDG_UTILS_DEBUG_LEVEL=2 xdg-mime query default application/x-pdf is

Checking /home/USER/.local/share//applications/mimeapps.list
Checking /usr/share/gnome/applications/defaults.list
Checking /usr/local/share//applications/defaults.list
Checking /usr/share//applications/defaults.list

I've checked this files:

  • In /home/USER/.local/share//applications/mimeapps.list I have a line with application/pdf=evince.desktop
  • In /usr/share/gnome/applications/defaults.list the PDF reader is set to evince too.
  • In /usr/local/share/applications/defaults.list there is no reference to PDFs.
  • /usr/share/applications/defaults.list does not exist
  • Which file explorer are you talking about? Linux has dozens. What does XDG_UTILS_DEBUG_LEVEL=2 xdg-mime query default application/x-pdf output? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Sep 1 '15 at 22:46
  • I've answered your question in the EDIT 1. – Gypaets Sep 2 '15 at 5:56
  • Hmmm. I don't understand how Gnome applications determine what application to use to open a file. If you run xdg-open somefile.pdf on the command line, what application runs? What if you use see somefile.pdf? Does running the following command help? grep 'pdf.*evince' /etc/mailcap >>~/.mailcap – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Sep 2 '15 at 8:42
  • xdg-open uses imagemagick, with see the file.pdf is opened with evince-previewer. Creating .mailcap doesn't help. – Gypaets Sep 2 '15 at 9:04

Edit file : ~/.config/mimeapps.list and set pdf to evince.desktop Works for me. Source: https://askubuntu.com/questions/591425/why-do-pdf-documents-open-with-imagemagick

  • Thanks, i had already set long ago 'application/pdf=evince.desktop;' but some lines further was 'image/pdf=...;', which had to be set to 'evince.desktop' too. – Gypaets Nov 1 '15 at 9:34

You can check the file defaults.list and change it to evince if necessary. On my system:

$ cat /usr/share/applications/defaults.list  | grep pdf
  • 7
    In a Debian system you are not supposed to change files under /usr. Your changes will be overwritten during package upgrades! – Jay Sep 26 '17 at 7:14
  • rightclick on file
  • "Properties"
  • "Open with"
  • select your favourite Application
  • "Set as default"

enter image description here

Source: https://fedoramagazine.org/how-to-select-and-set-default-applications-in-fedora/

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