How to Create an Association for Email

By M.L. Browne

When you install programs on your computer, the installation typically creates file associations for you as part of the setup process. This means that if you click a file icon, the operating system knows what program to run so that you can work with it. Some programs store messages as simple text files to your hard drive that can be edited with other applications, while others store your e-mails in a single large file that is not readable by anything other than the program that created it. Although the concept of file association is generally the same across different operating systems, the steps for actually performing the association vary.

Things You'll Need

  • E-mail program
  • E-mail message file
  • Administrator level account access

Association for E-mail in OS X

Step 1

Open Finder, browse to the e-mail message file, and click it once to select it.

Step 2

Press Command+I and when the Info window opens, expand the "Open with" option to display a listing of available programs for e-mail association.

Step 3

Choose your e-mail program from the list and click the "Change All..." button. A dialog box will open that asks you to confirm the global file association change.

Step 4

Click "Continue" to complete the e-mail file association.

Association for E-mail in Windows XP

Step 1

Right-click the e-mail message file icon and select "Open With" while logged into an account that has Administrator privileges.

Step 2

Click one of the programs Windows displays or click "Choose Program..." to open the file association dialog box.

Step 3

Select a program for your e-mail association or click the "Browse..." button to locate the e-mail program file on your computer's hard drive (you return to the dialog box after locating the file).

Step 4

Click the check box below the list and then click "OK." Your e-mail message file now has a correct file association with the e-mail program.

Association for E-mail in Windows Vista

Step 1

Right-click the e-mail message file icon and double-click "Open With" from the menu while logged into an account that has Administrator privileges.

Step 2

Select one of the listed programs, or click "Browse..." to locate your e-mail program file on your computer's hard drive (you return to the dialog box after locating the file).

Step 3

Click the check box below the list and then click "OK." Your e-mail message file now has a correct file association with the e-mail program.

Association for E-mail in Windows 7

Step 1

Open the Start Menu and click "Default Programs" (on the right-hand side) while logged into an account that has Administrator privileges.

Step 2

Select "Associate a file type or protocol with a program" (second option on the list). An alphabetized listing of all the registered filename extensions in Windows displays.

Step 3

Scroll to the filename extension for your e-mail (for example, ".pst" is an Outlook personal mail file).

Step 4

Click "Change program..." and either select a recommended program or click "Browse" to locate your e-mail program file on your computer's hard drive (you return to the selection window after locating the file).

Step 5

Click the check box below the list and then click "OK." Your e-mail message file now has a correct file association with the e-mail program.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you change your mind about associating files, every operating system provides the option for canceling actions before you execute them.