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Chapter 6. Organizing Your Work > Managing File Associations

Managing File Associations

Contrary to the ways documents and their source apps are organized on the Mac, PC-based operating systems have a flaky way of linking the two. They use the file extension to, in essence, link documents and the programs that create, edit, or run them. On the Mac, every document file is embedded with a "creator" signature that cannot be easily changed or mucked with by something as simple as changing the file extension. On the PC, the file extension is the basis for the association between document and creator application, and the connection is fragile.

The file extension scheme is a throwback to DOS days, and Microsoft has tried to get around it by hiding extensions of known document types by default. This way, it's less likely the user will accidentally modify the file extension and thereby prevent the file from launching the correct app when clicked.


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