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Multiple External Editors in Aperture 3—a Work-around

PhotoJoseph's picture
October 1, 2010 - 9:34am

The ability to have multiple external editors in Aperture 3 is an oft-asked for feature, and hopefully it will come properly in a future release. What we really want is to ability to have a list of external editors to choose from, just like we have a list of plug-ins to choose from, right? But in the meantime, we need a work-around. Here’s one I’ve come up with. It’s not ideal, but with a little setup it can be relatively quick and painless to execute.

Basically, create a folder and fill it with aliases of all the applications you might want to configure Aperture to open in, make that folder easy to get to, and then when you need to switch, open the Preferences in Aperture, and the list of apps is only a click away.

Here’s a step-by-step…

Create a Folder of Aliases

I created a folder in my Applications folder called “Aperture Editors”, and added aliases to it for Photoshop and two Alien Skin products. Whatever external editors you might want to use, add them here! (What do you use? Tell us in the comments!)

Add Aliases Folder to the Sidebar

This is how we make getting to this folder of aliases easy. Add it to the sidebar in the Finder by just dragging the folder onto it; you can position it wherever you like in the list.

Change External Editors in Aperture

Now when you want to change external editors in Aperture, hit Command-, to open the Preferences and click on the Export tab. Click Choose…

Click on your folder of aliases in the sidebar, then double-click on the app you want to set (instead of selecting the app then clicking Select, which takes just a little bit longer).

This will set the new External Editor in Aperture. Tap Command-W to close the Preferences window, and you’re back in business.


Now go ahead and open your image as before. Remember, the keyboard shortcut for Edit with [external editor] is Command-Shift-O.

Have you found a better way? Let’s hear it! Comments are open below.

Apple Aperture

It’s not a problem I’ve tried to solve as I’m only just starting to use Aperture really, but it seems to me that you could write a short apple-script to bring up a dialog to choose the app, then point aperture’s link at the apple-script. Any reason that wouldn’t work?


That’s exactly what I wanted to do first, but unfortunately there are no Applescript hooks in the Dictionary to get to that dialog. Bummer! But good thinking ;-)

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