7 unstable releases (3 breaking)

0.10.0 Mar 17, 2024
0.9.0 Dec 4, 2023
0.8.5 May 10, 2023
0.8.4 Mar 26, 2023
0.7.1 Apr 2, 2022

#8 in #handler

Download history 14/week @ 2024-02-25 1/week @ 2024-03-03 6/week @ 2024-03-10 147/week @ 2024-03-17 6/week @ 2024-03-24 30/week @ 2024-03-31

189 downloads per month

MIT license

1.5K SLoC


Manage your default applications with ease using handlr! Now with the power of regular expressions!

Fork of the original handlr


  • Set default handler by extension or mime-type
  • Set arbitrary commands as handlers based on regular expressions
  • Intelligent mime type detection from files based on extension and content
  • Open multiple files at once
  • Set multiple handlers for mime/extension and use rofi/dmenu to pick one
  • Wildcard support like text/*
  • Automatically removes invalid/wrong .desktop entries from mimeapps.list
  • Helper commands like launch, get --json, mime --json for your scripting needs
  • Unnecessarily fast (written in Rust)
  • Single compiled binary with no dependencies


# Open a file/URL
handlr open ~/.dotfiles/pacman/packages.txt
handlr open https://google.ca

# Set default handler for png files
handlr set .png feh.desktop

# Set wildcard handler for all text files
handlr set 'text/*' nvim.desktop

# Set default handler based on mime
handlr set application/pdf evince.desktop

# List default apps
handlr list

# Get the handler for a mime/extension
$ handlr get .png

# Launch a handler with given path/URL
handlr launch x-scheme-handler/https -- https://google.ca

# Get the mimetypes of given paths/URLs
handlr mime https://duckduckgo.com . README.md

Compared to xdg-utils

  • Can open multiple files/URLs at once
  • Can have multiple handlers and use rofi/dmenu to pick one at runtime
  • Far easier to use with simple commands like get, set, list
  • Can operate on extensions, no need to look up or remember mime types
    • useful for common tasks like setting a handler for png/docx/etc files
  • Superb autocomplete (currently fish, zsh and bash), including mimes, extensions, and .desktop files
  • Optional json output for scripting
  • Properly supports Terminal=true entries

Setting default terminal

Unfortunately, there isn't an XDG spec and thus a standardized way for handlr to get your default terminal emulator to run Terminal=true desktop entries. There was a proposal floating around a few years ago to use x-scheme-handler/terminal for this purpose. It seems to me the least worst option, compared to handling quirks of N+1 distros or using a handlr-specific config option.

Now if x-scheme-handler/terminal is present, handlr will use it.

Otherwise, handlr will:

  1. Find an app with TerminalEmulator category
  2. Set it as the default for x-scheme-handler/terminal
  3. Send you a notification to let you know it guessed your terminal and provide instructions to change it if necessary

On the upside, Terminal=true entries will now work outside of interactive terminals, unlike xdg-utils.

Terminal emulator compatibility

handlr should work with pretty much any terminal emulator.

However, some slight configuration may be necessary depending on what command line arguments your terminal emulator supports or required to directly run a command in it.

If it uses/supports -e (i.e. xterm, xfce4-terminal, foot, etc.) then you do not need to do anything.

If it requires something else, then set term_exec_args in ~/.config/handlr/handlr.toml to the necessary arguments like so:

// Replace 'run' with whatever arguments you need 
term_exec_args = 'run'

If it does not require any arguments or if its arguments are already included in its .desktop file, but it does not use -e, (i.e. wezterm, kitty, etc.) set term_exec_args to ''.

Feel free to open an issue or pull request if there's a better way to handle this.

Setting multiple handlers

  1. Open ~/.config/handlr/handlr.toml and set enable_selector = true. Optionally, you can also tweak the selector to your selector command (using e.g. rofi or dmenu).

  2. Add a second/third/whatever handler using handlr add, for example

handlr add x-scheme-handler/https firefox-developer-edition.desktop
  1. Now in this example when you open a URL, you will be prompted to select the desired application.

Setting regex handlers

Inspired by a similar feature in mimeo

Open ~/.config/handlr/handlr.toml and add something like this:

exec = "freetube %u" # Uses desktop entry field codes
terminal = false # Set to true for terminal apps, false for GUI apps (optional; defaults to false)
regexes = ['(https://)?(www\.)?youtu(be\.com|\.be)/*.'] # Use single-quote literal strings

For more information:

Smart table output

Starting with v0.10.0, commands with table output (i.e. handlr list and handlr mime) switch to outputting tab-separated values when piped for use with commands like cut.



Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S handlr-regex

Optionally you can also install xdg-utils-handlr from the AUR to replace xdg-open:

paru -S xdg-utils-handlr


cargo install handlr-regex


  1. Download the latest release binary and put it somewhere in $PATH
  2. Download completions for fish:
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Anomalocaridid/handlr/master/completions/handlr.fish --create-dirs -o ~/.config/fish/completions/handlr.fish


Icons made by Eucalyp from www.flaticon.com

Cover photo by creativebloq.com


~297K SLoC