View, open, or save attachments

Email messages that include attachments—files or items—are identified by a paper clip Attachment icon icon in the message list. Depending on the format of the message, attachments appear in the attachment box or in the message body.

You can double-click an attachment to open it.

Are attachments safe?

By default, Outlook blocks potentially unsafe attachments (including .bat, .exe, .vbs, and .js files) that can contain viruses. If Outlook blocks any attachment files in a message, a list of the blocked file types appears in the InfoBar at the top of your message.

Security Note: Even with Outlook attachment protection, be careful in opening any attachment, especially if it’s from someone that you don’t know or trust. When in doubt, confirm the authenticity of the attachment with the sender. Also, keep your computer antivirus software up-to-date.

What would you like to do?

For many attachments, you don’t have to open the file to see the contents. You can preview attachments in the Reading Pane or in open messages.

  1. To preview an attachment, click the attachment below the Subject line, and the attachment opens instead of the message body.

    Note: Some attachments can’t be previewed. Double-click the attachment to open the file or item. Also, a OneDrive file in Outlook 2016 will show as a local copy or a cloud link.

  2. To return to the message, click Attachments > Message > Show Message.

Although preview is available for messages in an HTML or plain text format, it isn't for messages that use the Rich Text Format (RTF) message format. Messages in an RTF format aren't as common as those in an HTML or plain text format. Double-click the attachment to open the file.

HTML or plain text format messages

Attachments in a plain text or HTML format message

RTF format messages

Attachments in a Rick Text Format message

When you reply to a message, the format of the received message—by default—is used for your reply. You can, however, change the message format when composing a message.

  1. Click Format Text.

  2. In the Format group, choose HTML, Plain Text, or Rich Text.

You also can change the default message format so that all messages that you send use a specified format. For more information about how to change message formats, see Change the message format to HTML, Rich Text, or plain text.

For more information about reading all messages in plain text, see Read email messages in plain text.

You can save email message attachments to your computer, to OneDrive, or to a removable device such as a portable hard drive or USB flash drive. In Outlook 2016, you can directly save an attachment to OneDrive, but in Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2010, you must download the attachment first, and then manually upload the file to OneDrive.

If a message has more than one attachment, you can select which attachments to save.

  1. In the Reading Pane or in an open message, click the attachment.

    Tip: To select multiple attachments, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking the attachments.

  2. Right-click the attachment, and click Save As.

    Note: If the message is in RTF format, right-click the attachment, and then click Save As. You can identify RTF messages with attachments as described under Preview attachments.

  3. Click a folder location, and then click Save.

If a message contains multiple attachments, you can save time by saving all attachments simultaneously.

  1. In the Reading Pane or the open message, click an attachment.

  2. On the Attachments tab, click Save All Attachments.

  3. In the Save All Attachments dialog box, click OK.

  4. Click a folder location, and then click Save.

Note:  If the message is in RTF format, on the File tab, choose Save attachments > OK. You can identify RTF messages with attachments as described under Preview attachments.

What would you like to do?

Depending on the format of the message that you receive, attachments appear in one of two locations in the message.

  • If the message format is HTML or plain text, attachments will appear in the attachment box under the Subject line.

    Attachments appearing beneath the Subject box

  • If the message format is the less-common Rich Text Format (RTF), attachments will appear in the body of the message. Even though the file appears in the message body, it actually remains a separate attachment.

    Attachments within the body of a Rich Text Format message

Note: The format in which a message is composed is indicated in the title bar at the top of the message.

You can open an attachment from the Reading Pane, or from an open message. In either case, double-click the attachment to open it.

Notes: By default, Outlook will block potentially unsafe attachment files (including .bat, .exe, .vbs, and .js files) that can contain viruses. If Outlook blocks any attachment files in a message, a list of the blocked file types appears in the InfoBar at the top of your message.

Blocked attachment in message header

  • To open an attachment from the message list, right-click the message that has the attachment, click View Attachments, and then click the name of the attachment.

You can preview attachments in HTML or plain text messages in the Reading Pane and in open messages. Preview is not available for attachments to RTF messages.

  1. To preview an attachment, click the attachment and it will show in place in the message body

  2. To return to the message, on the Attachment Tools tab, in the Message group, click Show Message.

After opening and viewing an attachment, you may choose to save it to a disk drive. If a message has more than one attachment, you can save multiple attachments as a group or one at a time.

  1. Click the attachment in the Reading Pane or the open message.

  2. On the Attachments tab, in the Actions group, click Save As. You can also right-click the attachment, and then click Save As.

    Save As command on the ribbon

    Note:  If the message is in RTF format, in the Reading Pane or the open message, right-click the attachment, and then click Save As.

  3. Click a folder location, and then click Save.

  1. In the Reading Pane or the open message, select the attachments that you want to save

    Tip: To select multiple attachments, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking the attachments.

  2. On the Attachments tab, in the Actions group, click Save As.

    Save As command on the ribbon

    Note: If the message is in RTF format, right-click one of the attachments, and then click Save As.

  3. Click a folder location, and then click Save.

  1. In the Reading Pane or the open message, click an attachment.

  2. On the Attachments tab, in the Actions group, click Save All Attachments

    Save All Attachments command on the ribbon

    Note: If the message is in RTF format, click the File tab, click Save attachments > OK.

  3. In the Save All Attachments dialog box, click OK.

  4. Click a folder location, and then click OK.

When you reply to a message, by default, the format of the received message is used for your reply. You can change the message format when composing a message.

  • On the Format Text tab, in the Format group, click HTML, Plain Text, or Rich Text.

You also can change the default message format so that all messages that you send use a specified format or specify that all messages sent to one of your Outlook contacts always uses a specific format. For more information about how to change message formats, see Change the message format to HTML, Rich Text, or plain text.

Note: For more information about reading all messages in plain text, see Read email messages in plain text.

What would you like to do?

Messages that have attachments are identified by a paper clip icon Attachment icon  in the message list. Depending on the format of the message that you receive, attachments will appear in two different places in the message.

  • If the message format is HTML or plain text, attachments will appear in the attachment box below the Subject line.

    Attachments line

  • If the message format is Rich Text Format (RTF), attachments will appear in the body of the message. Even though the file appears to be embedded in the message, it's actually a separate attachment.

    Attachment in message body

The format in which a message is composed is indicated in the title bar at the top of the message.

Message

Attachment Preview, a new feature in the 2007 Microsoft Office system, allows you to preview some attachment file types without opening them. For information about sending attachments in an e-mail message, see Attach a file or other item to an e-mail message.

When you receive an attachment in a message and want to quickly see what the attachment contains without opening it, you can preview the attachment. You can preview an attachment in the Reading Pane or from within an open message. The attachment previewers that come with the 2007 Office release are on by default.

Note: To preview an attached file created in a 2007 Microsoft Office system application, you must have that Office 2007 application installed on your computer. For example, to preview a Word 2007 attachment, you must have Word 2007 installed. To preview an Excel attachment, you must have Excel installed.

Attachment Preview is supported for messages that are formatted as HTML and plain text but not for messages that are formatted as Rich Text Format (RTF). Also, Attachment Preview is only available when you are looking at received messages and not when you are composing new messages.

To learn about how to preview PDF attachments in Outlook 2007, see Preview PDF attachments.

Tell me more about attachment previewers

Attachment previewers that come with the 2007 Office release allow you to preview the following files in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007:

  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 items.

  • Microsoft Office Word 2007 documents

  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 presentations

  • Microsoft Office Excel 2007 worksheets

  • Microsoft Office Visio 2007 drawings

  • Images and text files

Third-party software vendors may provide their own previewers that support additional attachment file types; you can use your Web browser to search the Web to find additional information. When available, you can download and install previewers to preview additional file types in Outlook.

Important: To help protect you from malicious code, active content embedded in attachments (including scripts, macros, and ActiveX controls) is disabled during a preview. You should preview or open attachments from trustworthy sources only.

Attachment previewers that come with the 2007 Office release are on by default. If you don't want to use some or any of the attachment previewers, follow these steps to turn them off.

  1. In Outlook, on the Tools menu, click Trust Center, and then click Attachment Handling.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To turn off all attachment previewers, click Turn off Attachment Preview.

    • To turn off a specific attachment previewer, click Attachment and Document Previewers, clear the check box for a previewer you want to turn off, and then click OK.

To turn them on, click to select the Turn off Attachment Preview or specific attachment previewer options,

To learn more about attachment previewers, see Find attachment previewers.

  1. In the message list, select the message that has the attachment that you want to preview.

  2. In the Reading Pane, click the attachment. If there are multiple attachments, you may need to scroll horizontally to find the attachment that you want.

    Note: A preview might not show the most up-to-date content in the file. To see the most complete, up-to-date content, open the file. For example, you can double-click a .docx attachment to open it in Microsoft Word.

  3. To return to the message body, click the Message button.

Preview attachment

1. Click to view the message

2. Click to preview the attachment

3. Attachment preview

4. Click the PowerPoint slide to view the next slide in the presentation

  1. Open the message that has the attachment. Messages that have attachments are identified by a paper clip icon in the message list.

  2. In the open message, click the attachment to preview it.

  3. To return to the message body, click the Message button.

You can open an attachment from the Reading Pane, from a message in a message list such as your Inbox, or from within an open message.

Important: By default, Microsoft Outlook blocks potentially unsafe attachment files (including .bat, .exe, .vbs, and .js files) that can contain viruses. You cannot view or access a blocked attachment file, but a list of blocked attachment files appears in the InfoBar at the top of your message. You should preview or open attachments from trustworthy sources only.

InfoBar

  1. In the message list, select the message that has the attachment.

  2. In the Reading Pane, double-click the attachment.

    Note: If you are given the choice between opening and saving the attachment, keep in mind that it is a good idea to save the file first and then scan it by using an antivirus program before you open it.

  1. In the message list, right-click the message that has the attachment.

  2. On the shortcut menu, click View Attachments, and then click the name of the attachment.

  1. Open the message that has the attachment.

  2. Double-click the attachment.

After opening and viewing an attachment, you may choose to save it to your hard disk drive. If a message has more than one attachment, you can save multiple attachments as a group or one at a time.

Save a single attachment from a message
  1. In the open or previewed message, right-click the attachment that you want to save.

  2. On the shortcut menu, click Save As.

  3. Choose a folder location, and then click Save.

Save all attachments from an open message
  1. In the open message, on the Message tab, in the Actions group, click Other Actions, and then click Save Attachments.

  2. Click OK, choose a folder location, and then click OK again.

Save all attachments from the message list
  1. In the message list, select the message that has the attachment.

  2. On the File menu, point to Save Attachments, and then click All Attachments.

  3. Click OK, choose a folder location, and then click OK again.

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