Changing IE Preference with Applescript?! Can we do that?

I want to make it so IE will open Microsoft Excel documents using Microsoft Excel.

I am trying to write an applescript to change the preferences to do
so. So far I have

tell application “Internet Explorer”
event <>
end tell

I’m completely stuck. Does anyone have any pointers? Thanks!


You may have to use something like QuicKeys for this.

I hit the submit key too soon. I meant to add that IE is not scriptable, thus the need for QuicKeys.

P.S. You can tell if an application is scriptable by starting the script editor and then dragging and dropping an application icon onto the editor icon. That will either open the application’s dictionary (meaning it is scriptable) or will give you and error (not scriptable).

I want to make it so IE will open Microsoft Excel documents using Microsoft Excel

If this is your only goal, I’m not sure why you’re trying to script it.

I believe you could manually set up a MIME type in IE’s preferences to achieve this (using appropriate file extensions).

Or, you may be able to open them locally using the file:// protocol…

Or if you only need this to work locally, Missing Link might work for you using another protocol -

… or …

(I am the author of ML, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt.)

However none of these options would allow you to ‘toggle’ the ability… if that’s what you’re looking for.

Good Luck.

Peter B.

Thanks guys, I can do it manually, but the problem is that I have many users and I can’t have each one configure it on their own. So any kind of executable that they can run on their computer would work (that’s the requirement).

The missing links seems to be a good solution, but would this screw up the link for PC users?

The missing links seems to be a good solution, but would this screw up the link for PC users?

Yes. Missing Link won’t work on a Windows machine… and even on a Mac, it requires a manual set up.

To go any further with this, you should probably state exactly what your needs are with respect to both platforms… I have a feeling you’re dinked if you’re looking for an automagic, universal dual platform solution ‘in one’.

But at my level of expertise, I’m wrong more often than I’m right.

I think your best bet (locally) is probably to try the file:/// protocol method, which may work on both and requires no set up at all.

As long as you restrict use to IE, you may see predictable results from something like:


Don’t know what the requirements/address might be in Windows. Obviously, the local address won’t be the same unless the file is on a remote disk.


Peter B.

I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.

Here are the specific requirements…

The excel file is on a server. I would just like to download and make Excel launch once it’s downloaded.

PC - Excel launches within IE and it looks great.

Mac - I know Excel can’t load within IE, but IE can do a post-process application to launch Excel as soon as an Excel file is loaded. I need this to be set in the preference using some script. The user is not willing to go to preference themself.

Any program or hack is okay. I looked into Quick Key, but it requires an installation of a 3rd party program which was not okayed. =(

I actually read the description of Missing Link and it sounds like it would do the trick. I am in a meeting right now… I’m craving to try it out on the mac.

Now my manager tells me the user is not to download anything. It should be automatic. Now he’s being unreasonable. Sounds like he’s asking me to find a security hole.

Just out of curiousity. How does Microsoft Office or Quicktime write things into the “File Helpers” section of IE preference?

Do this:

Open IE. Select ‘Open Location’ from the ‘File’ menu… (or press Command + L).

Enter the complete path to the target folder/directory containing the Excel files. (IE may want either 2 or 3 slashes, depending on version.)

file:///Server Volume Name/Excel Folder/

Press the ‘Enter’ key.

You should get a listing of the folder’s contents. Click on one of the Excel files.

Whut hoppen?

If it works, bookmark the locations or save the page and use the resulting URL’s for future reference.

If that doesn’t work and your manager won’t allow any third party nonsense, you’ll be stuck (I think) with only two remaining options… a GUI script, or a script that will modify the ‘’ in the Preferences folder of the Library folder of the current user’s folder.

I can’t help you with either task, so I will butt out now.

Again, good luck… and let us know if you get it nailed down.

Peter B.