Learn how to fix the file type association problem for Creative Cloud apps.

Issue

When multiple versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, or any other Creative Cloud applications are installed on a computer, uninstalling the earlier versions after installing the new versions breaks file type associations for the new versions.

When you try to open a file, you observe one or more of the following issues:

  • The file type opens with a different application. For example, an Illustrator (.ai) file opens with Adobe XD.
  • The file type is not associated with the Creative Cloud app anymore. For example, a .PSD doesn't open with Photoshop. 
  • (Windows) Opening the file displays the message: Windows Cannot Open This File or the Open With dialog box.

Operating systems

Windows and macOS

Windows

Solution 1: Use the Open With dialog box to establish the file association

This solution uses Photoshop as an example. Perform these steps for the Creative Cloud app and the file type association you are attempting to restore.

  1. Right-click the file and choose Open With > Choose Another App from the context-menu.

  2. In the file association dialog that appears, choose Photoshop from the list of apps or navigate to the Photoshop executable (.exe) for your version of Photoshop in the file explorer.

    For example, the default installation path for Photoshop CC 2019:

    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC 2019\Photoshop.exe

  3. Select Photoshop.exe and click Open.

  4. Ensure that the option, Always Use The Selected Program To Open This Kind Of File in the subsequent dialog box is selected.

  5. Click OK.

Solution 2: Use Windows control panel to establish the file association

This solution uses Illustrator as an example. Perform these steps for the Creative Cloud app and the file type association you are attempting to restore.

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel.

  2. Double-click Default Programs.

  3. Click Associate A File Type.

  4. Select .ai from the list.

  5. Click Change Program.

  6. If your desired version of Illustrator is listed, choose it. Otherwise, click Browse to locate it and click Open.

  7. Ensure that Always Use The Selected Program... option is selected. Click OK to close the Open With dialog box.

  8. Double-click the .ai file to ensure that it opens with your preferred version of Illustrator.

Solution 3: Uninstall and reinstall the Creative Cloud apps

If a file type opens with an incorrect Creative Cloud app, try uninstalling and reinstalling the apps. For example, if an Illustrator (.ai) file opens with Adobe XD, uninstall and reinstall both Illustrator and Adobe XD. For instructions, see the following links:

Solution 4: Set a default path in the Registry

This solution explains associating .PSD and .JPG file types with Photoshop CC 2019 as an example. Perform these steps for the Creative Cloud app version and the file type association you are attempting to restore.

  1. Verify the Photoshop.exe file path.

    The default is: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC 2019\

  2. Open the Registry Editor.

    Press Windows + R keys or choose Start > Run. In the Run dialog, type regedit and click OK.

  3. Navigate to:

    • (For .PSD) Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
      Explorer\FileExts\.psd\OpenWithList
    • (For .JPG) Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
      Explorer\FileExts\.jpg\OpenWithList

    If that exists, verify (Default) has the correct path verified in Step 1.

    If path is not correct, double-click (Default). Type the following text in it:

    "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC 2019\Photoshop.exe" "%1"

macOS

Solution: Use the Get Info dialog box to establish the file association

This solution uses Illustrator as an example. Perform these steps for the Creative Cloud app and the file type association you are attempting to restore.

  1. Control-click a file that you want to associate with Illustrator and choose Get Info from the pop-up menu.

  2. In the dialog box that appears, click the Open With section to expand it.

  3. Click the dropdown and choose Illustrator from the list.

  4. Under Use This Application To Open All Documents Like This One, click Change All.

  5. Click Continue in the confirmation dialog that appears next.

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