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Chapter 4. Changing Icons > Final Thoughts

4.6. Final Thoughts

Throughout this chapter you've been inundated with more than you probably ever wanted to know about icons, extensions, and creator types. As you discovered, many of the key concepts went beyond those small little pictures and into a deeper understanding of how the Finder works with applications. Here are a few points to take with you before you continue on with customizing interfaces.

Don't overlook the Info.plist file.

An application's Info.plist file provides absolutely vital insights into an application's relationship to the Finder. Look past the confusing XML structure. Info.plist files tend toward the short side and are relatively easy to follow when you know what to look for. Focus on the key names, and Google for clarification as needed.

There are a lot of really, really awful icons out there in the Mac universe.

Don't feel that you have to add to them. Try to use taste and dignity when you customize your own icons. Simple goes a long way.

Most of the methods described in this chapter go beyond applications.

You can use the same procedures to update the look of items in your Dock and browser windows.

Creator codes trump extensions.

Sometimes you create a file in one application but want to use that file in another app. If you double-click it, it launches in its original program. Although you can use the Open File browser from the second application, it's an awkward and klunky workaround. Try another approach: change the file's creator. Use SetFile and you'll instantly have access to the ease of double-clicking to open. Just because a file started its life associated with an application is no reason that it has to keep that association forever.

Icons may resist change.

When you're experimenting with application icons or document icons and they simply refuse to update, use the log-in-and-out trick: convert the application bundle to a folder, and then log off and back on. Convert the folder back to an application, then log off and back on. This usually convinces the Finder to update its icon registry. If this fails, you can always try restarting the computer once or twice.

Don't overlook built-in Finder application association tricks.

After opening the Finder's contextual menu with Control-click (or right-click), hold down the Option key to reveal the Always Open With feature. Select an application from this submenu to change the file's creator association. To change associations for all files with a certain extension, use the Get Info window instead. Select a data file and choose File → Get Info (-I). Click the triangle next to Open With to reveal a pop-up list of applications. Use this pop-up to select the default application for the file, and then click Change All to apply the association to all files of the same kind.

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