is there a (FreeDesktop) Linux command to open an "open-with" dialog similar to xdg-open?

I'm searching for some general desktop environment independent solution for showing something like this:

Dolphin's open-with dialog

Of course there is xdg-open to open the file with the default app, but how do I give users a choice to open a file in a different app?

I'm also not looking for mimeopen that changes the current default application.

1 Answer 1


mimeopen is what you're looking for. Specifically mimeopen's -a or --ask option.

From the man page:

   -a, --ask
       Do not execute the default application but ask which
       application to run.  This does not change the default

Otherwise, it depends on your desktop environment and/or file browser. For example, xfce's Thunar file browser has an `Open With" option when you right-click on a filename, which displays a menu with all apps known to be capable of opening the file's filetype. The final menu item is "Open with Other Application" (which optionally lets you change the default).

  • Executing something like xterm -e "mimeopen -a myfile.txt" from an end-user GUI application looks really ugly :(. Regarding Thunar, I've attached a screenshot of the open-with dialog from dolphin, but I couldn't find a desktop-environment agnostic way to show this dialog. Mar 11, 2016 at 9:48
  • that's because the dialog is specific to dolphin. As i said, it depends on your desktop environment and your file browser because it is those programs that implement the feature (or not), and each does it differently.
    – cas
    Mar 11, 2016 at 16:02

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