Given xdg-open and an extension, is there a way to get the application which xdg-open is set to for that particular extension?

For example given xdg-open and .jpg the result is eog.

  • 1
    Which OS are you using?
    – heemayl
    Jul 24, 2016 at 11:27
  • This is Ubuntu Trusty.
    – sjsam
    Jul 24, 2016 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


AFAIK the choice of action is based on the file's mimetype rather than its extension.

At least on Ubuntu, you should be able to use the query action of xdg-mime to show the default application for a specific mimetype

$ xdg-mime query default image/jpeg

You can check the mimetype for a particular file using xdg-mime query filetype e.g.

$ xdg-mime query filetype kqDRdnW.jpg

or using the file command e.g. file --mime-type <file>

See man xdg-mime for further usage information.

  • probably worth mentioning to the OP that the way you get the mime-type for the filetype jpeg is xdg-mime query filetype <file_you_want_the_mimetype_of> Jul 24, 2016 at 12:21
  • @the_velour_fog good point - added Jul 24, 2016 at 12:24
  • Unfortunately xdg-mime query default doesn't always work if xdg-open just calls an underlying tool (eg pcmanfm); the example you used in your answer returns nothing on my LXDE system. Jul 24, 2016 at 12:49
  • Thankyou, I would go first option here, var="xdg-mime query default image/jpeg" && $(${var%.desktop})
    – sjsam
    Jul 24, 2016 at 15:37

To query the mime type used by an existing file by using xdg-utils, it works as:

$ xdg-mime query filetype yourfile.xxx

You can also set a new default, for instance to change an associated desktop entry by setting Thunar - a modern file manager for the Xfce Desktop Environment - as the default file browser you should enter:

$ xdg-mime default Thunar.desktop inode/directory

Or for example to set the default application for http(s):// internet protocols, you can use:

$ xdg-mime default midori.desktop x-scheme-handler/http


$ xdg-mime default midori.desktop x-scheme-handler/https
  • This isn't limited to rpm based systems; it's part of the standard desktop and works on Debian (for example). Unfortunately this is how to set a default value; it doesn't say how to find what value is set. And xdg-mime query default doesn't always report what it will do if xdg-open calls an underlying desktop program (eg pcmanfm on LXDE). Jul 24, 2016 at 12:47
  • @StephenHarris I thought options might be different. Thanks for telling me.
    – user172564
    Jul 24, 2016 at 13:01
  • This should be the accepted answer.
    – btwiuse
    Jul 10, 2018 at 1:56

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