File name and location

Users, system administrators, application vendors et distributions can change associations between applications and mimetypes by writing into a file called mimeapps.list.

The lookup order for this file is as follows:

$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/$desktop-mimeapps.listuser overrides, desktop-specific (for advanced users)
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/mimeapps.listuser overrides (recommended location for user configuration GUIs)
$XDG_CONFIG_DIRS/$desktop-mimeapps.listsysadmin and ISV overrides, desktop-specific
$XDG_CONFIG_DIRS/mimeapps.listsysadmin and ISV overrides
$XDG_DATA_HOME/applications/$desktop-mimeapps.listfor completeness, deprecated, desktop-specific
$XDG_DATA_HOME/applications/mimeapps.listfor compatibility, deprecated
$XDG_DATA_DIRS/applications/$desktop-mimeapps.listdistribution-provided defaults, desktop-specific
$XDG_DATA_DIRS/applications/mimeapps.listdistribution-provided defaults

In this table, $desktop is one of the names of the current desktop, lowercase (for instance, kde, gnome, xfce, etc.)

This is determined from the environment variable $XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP, which is a colon-separated list of names that the current desktop is known as. The $desktop variable should be each of these values in turn.

All of the above files are referred to as "mimeapps.list" in the rest of this specification, for simplicity.