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I'm wondering if it's feasible to enable the "Open With..." dialog inside an application window, so that I could quickly switch from one application to another when editing an image or text file. (For example, I'd like to switch between two web browsers, image editors, etc. with just one or two clicks when editing or viewing a file.) Is there any way to do this without modifying the source code of every program I'm using? Perhaps some kind of shell script would be useful for this task, but I'm not sure.

This is what I'm trying to accomplish Is this possible?

As an example, I'd like to be able to open an HTML page in Firefox, then switch directly to editing the same file in Notepad, and then switch directly to viewing it in Chrome or Internet Explorer. Otherwise, I'd need to navigate to the file folder and select "Open With..." whenever I wanted to open the same file with another program.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you're using Windows 7, the first 9 items on your task bar can be immediately switched to by using the Windows key and the number of their position on the bar. So for your example, if you put GIMP as the first icon and Photoshop as the second, you could switch back and forth using Win+1 and Win+2, no code or program needed.

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If I'm editing example.jpg in Photoshop, and I want to immediately switch to editing example.jpg in GIMP, is there a way to show the "open with" dialog from Photoshop or GIMP? – Anderson Green Apr 30 '12 at 21:48
I don't just want to switch between open windows, I want to switch between programs for a specific file that can be opened with those programs. – Anderson Green Apr 30 '12 at 21:52
In order to accomplish that, you would have to save the file and close it in one program, then open it in another. Using the "Recent Files" menu option in both programs would speed that up, but with JPG files, you will lose quality on each save, so you may be shooting yourself in the foot by trying to do that. You could possibly keep both programs open, copy the entire image from one and paste into the other. By not recompressing to the JPG file, this should save your quality until the final save. In this case, having a 2nd monitor would be highly beneficial... – techturtle Apr 30 '12 at 21:58
If I were editing an HTML file, though, I might want to be able to switch between multiple web browsers and text editors when viewing or editing that page. In that case, I'd want to open the file in Firefox from Geany, or in Chrome from Firefox, etc. – Anderson Green Apr 30 '12 at 22:03
Because HTML is text, you don't have to worry about data loss each time you save like you would with a JPG, so multiple saves aren't an issue. Besides, a web browser is just a previewer, not an editor, so you could open it in as many versions as you want w/o worrying about losing changes. Anyway, I looked at your updated question and I can't say that I've ever seen that functionality in any application besides the Windows photo viewer. It doesn't even do it in Paint in Win7. Sorry, but I'm out of ideas. :) – techturtle May 1 '12 at 14:23

Maybe you should consider getting a second monitor or using a workspace switcher so you can work on stuff side by side?

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That won't spare me the tedium of closing one application, navigating back to the file location, right clicking on the file, and clicking "Open With..." – Anderson Green Apr 30 '12 at 21:53
It would be better if I could activate the "Open With..." dialog from the window I'm using. – Anderson Green Apr 30 '12 at 21:54
Example of how this program or script might work (if it exists already): I'm viewing an image in MS Paint. I right-click on the top of the window, which shows the "Open With..." dialog for the image I'm editing. – Anderson Green Apr 30 '12 at 21:56
@Anderson Green that was not part of the original question. However, if you use Windows 7 you can use Win + left/right to take up half of the screen, this can work for folders too. Consider this + second/third monitor? – BloodyIron Apr 30 '12 at 22:04
I have modified the post to reflect my original intentions. :) – Anderson Green Apr 30 '12 at 22:10

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