Fix problems opening documents in SharePoint libraries

If you have problems opening Office files and documents in SharePoint document libraries, including your OneDrive for Business or My Site, here are some suggestions and tips to help you fix them.

Many problems occur because of differences in versions of SharePoint and Office.

To find the version of SharePoint you're using, see Which version of SharePoint am I using?.

To get the version of Office you're using, see What version of Office am I using? or Find details for other versions of Office.

Updated November 9, 2016 thanks to customer feedback.

Why documents might not open

Mismatched versions of Office and SharePoint    One of the more common causes of document links not working are when using different versions of Office and SharePoint. For example, if you're using Office 2016 on a SharePoint 2010 site, you may find that some features don't work. If you can get all your apps updated to current, or the same versions, you'll find that previously missing features will work. Since SharePoint and Office are designed to work together, they're often updated with the new version of the other in mind. To find the version of SharePoint you have, see Which version of SharePoint am I using?

File formats not supported    Newer versions of Office add new features that may not be available with older versions of Office. For example, Excel 2016 saves files in an .xlsx format, while Excel 2003 can't read that format. When sharing files in SharePoint, be sure all your users have compatible versions of Office. If you're using Office 365, you can install the latest version to your desktop from the online link.

Using SharePoint Online and an earlier version of Office on the desktop   Office 365 and SharePoint Online usually do not have problems as they are the same version. If you have an earlier version of Office on your desktop, you can download a desktop version from Office 365 which should allow you to open documents.

When you're using an on-premise version of SharePoint, such as SharePoint 2016, your desktop copies of Office can get out of sync. This can happen if you upgrade your local version of Office, or your SharePoint Admin updates the SharePoint server so they are different versions. If possible, try to use the latest versions of all your software.

Note:  If you upgraded from an earlier version of Office to Office 2013 or Office 2016 on your computer, you might still have older versions of some programs like Visio and Project. If you use these programs, update them to 2013 or 2016. If you no longer use them, uninstall them.

Can you open the file locally?    Try to right-click or click the ellipses and download and save the file. Using Windows Explorer or Open folder from the download prompt, double-click and open the file from your local computer. If you can't double-click the file, right click and use Open with to choose the app. Windows will offer to always open using that app. If it works, let Windows set that app as default.

If the file opened previously, but now doesn't, there could be a problem with a corrupt file, or the format is not compatible with any of your apps. Make sure when you save a file, you try to open it to make sure it was saved correctly. If you're sharing a file with other users, be sure they save files completely and using the same file format. For example, if a spreadsheet is opened as a .xls, make sure it's saved as an .xls file.

If your computer was upgraded to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, and you’re using Internet Explorer with older versions of SharePoint, and Office, follow these steps to adjust the settings in IE to enable a SharePoint ActiveX control to run. Current versions of SharePoint no longer use ActiveX controls. Microsoft Edge does not support ActiveX controls.

Note: If you're using Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge, you might need to change your default browser to Internet_Explorer_11. To change your default browser see Using Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10 .

  1. In Internet Explorer 10 or 11, if the menu is showing, click Tools, and then click Internet Options.

  2. Click the Security tab.

  3. Click Local intranet and make sure that Enable Protected Mode turned off. Off is the default setting for Local intranet.

    Local Intranet zone
  4. Click OK.

  5. To make sure the SharePoint ActiveX control is enabled, click Tools Internet Explorer > Tools in Internet Explorer, and then click Manage Add-ons.

  6. Find SharePoint OpenDocuments Class, and then click Enable. You might need to switch to Show: All add-ons to find it in the list.

    Enable the SharePoint OpenDocuments Class ActiveX control

Windows 10 ships with both Internet_Explorer_11 and Microsoft Edge. Edge is a modern browser that is updated often through Windows Update. The latest update was delivered with the Anniversary update. Edge's features can often improved and added to, but it isn't always compatible. For example, you can't use Open in Explorer in Edge.

If you're using Windows 10 and are having issues with Microsoft Edge, try Internet_Explorer_11.

Start Internet_Explorer_11 in Windows 10
  1. Click Start Windows 10 start button .

  2. Type Internet Explorer, and then select Internet Explorer.

If Internet_Explorer_11 works better, change your default browser to Internet_Explorer_11 using these steps:

Change your default browser
  1. In Windows 10, click Start Windows 10 start button , type Default Programs, and then click Default Programs.

    Default programs in Windows
  2. Under Web browser click Microsoft Edge, and then click Internet Explorer in the Choose an app dialog box.

    Selection of Edge or IE browser in Default programs
  3. Close the Choose default apps dialog box.

If you are using Internet Explorer 8, 9, or 10 we recommend upgrading to Internet Explorer 11.

Note: To upgrade to Internet Explorer 11, see the Internet Explorer download page to get the latest. You might also need Prerequisite updates for Internet Explorer 11.

If your business requires you to run the older version of Internet Explorer and you are running the main Office 2010 programs (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) along with some Office 2013 components (like Lync 2013), be sure to use the SharePoint-feature DLL (Owsupp.dll) that’s part of the older Office installation. Whenever your Office 2013 installation is updated, remove Owsupp.dll from it. For info on Owsupp.dll, see Error "'Edit Document' requires a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible application"when you try to edit an Office document in a document library.

If you're using an early version of SharePoint and Windows, it may use ActiveX controls to launch documents. If you have the choice of 64-bit Internet Explorer and 32-bit Internet Explorer, use the 32-bit version. Later versions of SharePoint, such as SharePoint_2016 or SharePoint Online don't use ActiveX so you can use 64-bit Office and Internet Explorer.

For details about 64-bit compatibility see this article on TechNet.

Other resources

Open a document after a file corruption error

Errors opening Office files after upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10

Software requirements for Office 365 for business

64-bit editions of Office 2013

Internet Explorer 11

Prerequisite updates for Internet Explorer 11

Windows 10 anniversary update

Let us know

If these tips don't help fix the problem, use the feedback buttons at the bottom of this article and give a detailed description, such as Windows version, Office version and SharePoint version for the specific problem you're trying to fix. We use feedback to correct and update our topics.

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