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How to open a file from Launchpad on macOS

The Launchpad on macOS is strictly for apps. There isn’t much you can do about this. Apple is not known for its flexibility so there’s no trick way to add a file to it. If you want to be able to open a file from Launchpad, you will have to work around the limitation and it’s surprisingly easy to do.

Open file from Launchpad

In order to open a file from Launchpad, you need an app to open it and you can make this app yourself with Automator. All you need is the path to the file you want to open and that’s easy enough to get. You can also open multiple files with the same app, or create as many apps as you want to open files. It’s up to you.

Get file path

Open Finder and navigate to the file you want to open from Launchpad. Hold down the Option key, and right-click the file. From the context menu, select the copy as path option.

Create Automator app

Open Automator and click New Document at the bottom left. In the panel that opens, select Application.

With Automator open, you need to search for and add the ‘Run Shell Script’ action. Use the search bar and drag and drop it onto the pane on the right.

In the Run Shell Script action, enter the following.

open path-to-file

Replace file-to-path with the path that you copied. If you’re looking to open multiple files with one app, add each file’s path on its own line. Once you’re done, go to File>Export. Give the app a name, and save it to the Applications folder.

Open Launchpad and you will see the newly created app. It will still have the Automator icon but, you can change it. We’ve got a detailed post on how to change the icon for an app or a script. Use it to change the icon for the app. When you click this app, it will open the file or files, that you specified the path for.

The file(s) will open in the default app that’s set for it. You can open this app again with Automator and edit it whenever you want. It’s a pretty simple way to access important files and to open several different files at once with one click.

If you need to create several apps for opening files, it’s a good idea to group them into a single folder, or a few different folders. They’ll remain organized and still be easy to access.

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