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IDProjectCategoryView StatusDate SubmittedLast Update
0001343graphvizOtherpublic2008-06-06 12:592011-04-28 04:03
Reporterdaniel ristic 
Assigned ToGlen Low 
PlatformOSx86-OSX-leopardOS Version
Summary0001343: .dot file format and microsoft word

Graphviz for mac is a great app but it's not usable at all on a system with
Microsoft Office 2008 installed.

For some unknown reason, Word messes up the .dot document template
file format and prevent existing .dot files from opening with Graphviz.

I bet this has something to do with the Info.plist file which does not
register the extension correctly but I can't figure out how to fix it.
Additional Information

I should write this down somewhere in the FAQ since it is a F. A. Q. but here goes:

The immediate fix is to rebuild the Launch Services database like this:

1. Trash all other versions of on your system, except for the just installed one. (You can use either of these command lines to find it:



find / -name ""


2. Run the following command line:

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r /


/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r /Applications

which deletes the Launch Services database and rebuilds it from existing apps. You may need to sudo to do this.

3. Verify that the can now open .dot files and Microsoft Word can still open its own .dot files.

One artifact of this will be that Microsoft .dot files may appear with the Graphviz document icon. Unfortunately there doesn't seem any a priori way of getting the system to determine whether an arbitrary .dot file belongs to Word or Graphviz -- you can choose which application to open with by right-clicking or control-clicking on the document icon and choosing the app.

As for why the Launch Services database doesn't automatically register Graphviz, I'm not entirely sure since I don't have a pristine system to test on. I suspect this only happens if both conditions hold true:
A. The user had installed Microsoft Word.
B. There is also another version of present in the system. (Possibly the previous version 1.13 I had released under Pixelglow Software)

If Daniel can verify that he never installed before on his system that would be useful to know.

[glen] >
> Well I just tried the fix but it still doesn't work :
> I had just one version of graphviz installed (2.18) and I tried both commands with sudo and after the rebuild of the
> Launch Service database finished, .dot documents were still not selectable inside Graphviz.
> The first time I've installed Graphviz was a few weeks ago and it was the 2.18 version. Microsoft Office was already there so I got the error message 'The document "" could not be opened. Graphviz cannot open the "Microsoft Word Template" format.'
> Since it was pretty obvious it had something to do with Office I uninstalled it and after a reboot Graphviz was working. But here comes the wired part : Graphviz was still working when I reinstalled Office, until I launched Word.

Strange. Admittedly the above was tried with Word 2004 on someone who had the same issue but I wouldn't have thought things have changed that much with 2008.

It would be good if you could either grant me ssh access to your machine (create a user glenlow using the Users control panel and then turn on ssh access and tell me what your IP address + my pwd is) or do an iChat session where I get to share your machine (look for pixglen in your iChat).

In lieu of that, here are a few more diagnostics you can run in your current state:

1. Where is installed?
2. Try


where is one of the graphs in the distribution.

3. Try


where is some arbitrary Word doc template you've saved.

4. Try

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -dump >result.txt

and send me the resultant text file.

[glen] Try

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

and see if that improves things.

This should be fixed now. The preferred extension for graphs is now .gv, with a registered MIME type of "text/vnd.graphviz"

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Date Modified Username Field Change
2011-04-28 04:03 user1 New Issue
2011-04-28 04:03 user1 Assigned To => Glen Low

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