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xdg-open - Man Page

opens a file or URL in the user's preferred application

Examples (TL;DR)


xdg-open {file | URL}

xdg-open {--help | --manual | --version}


xdg-open opens a file or URL in the user's preferred application. If a URL is provided the URL will be opened in the user's preferred web browser. If a file is provided the file will be opened in the preferred application for files of that type. xdg-open supports file, ftp, http and https URLs.

xdg-open is for use inside a desktop session only. It is not recommended to use xdg-open as root.

As xdg-open can not handle arguments that begin with a “-” it is recommended to pass filepaths in one of the following ways:



Show command synopsis.


Show this manual page.


Show the xdg-utils version information.

Exit Codes

An exit code of 0 indicates success while a non-zero exit code indicates failure. The following failure codes can be returned:

  1. Error in command line syntax.
  2. One of the files passed on the command line did not exist.
  3. A required tool could not be found.
  4. The action failed.

In case of success the process launched from the .desktop file will not be forked off and therefore may result in xdg-open running for a very long time. This behaviour intentionally differs from most desktop specific openers to allow terminal based applications to run using the same terminal xdg-open was called from.

Reporting Issues

Please keep in mind xdg-open inherits most of the flaws of its configuration and the underlying opener.

In case the command xdg-mime query default "$(xdg-mime query filetype path/to/troublesome_file)" names the program responsible for any unexpected behaviour you can fix that by setting a different handler. (If the program is broken let the developers know)

Also see the security note on xdg-mime(1) for the default subcommand.

If a flaw is reproducible using the desktop specific opener (and isn't a configuration issue): Please report to whoever is responsible for that first (reporting to xdg-utils is better than not reporting at all, but since the xdg-utils are maintained in very little spare time a fix will take much longer)

In case an issue specific to xdg-open please report it to https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/xdg/xdg-utils/-/issues .

See Also

xdg-mime(1), xdg-settings(1), MIME applications associations specification[1]


xdg-open 'http://www.freedesktop.org/'

Opens the freedesktop.org website in the user's default browser.

xdg-open /tmp/foobar.png

Opens the PNG image file /tmp/foobar.png in the user's default image viewing application.


Kevin Krammer


Jeremy White




MIME applications associations specification

Referenced By

gapplication(1), hman(1), mpris-scrobbler-signon(1), xdg-email(1), xdg-settings(1).

02/11/2024 xdg-utils 1.0 xdg-open Manual