Open file links directly in Office desktop apps

Microsoft gets mixed feedback from users about how their links to Office files should open. Some users prefer the Office web apps, others prefer the Office desktop apps. We've designed an experience where users get to tell us what they prefer, and then their links open in their preferred mode - either Office web apps or the Office desktop apps.

This way if you prefer to work in the Office 365 desktop apps most of the time, you can get to work in fewer clicks by turning on this feature.

Important: We will start rolling out to Office 365 customers who have opted into the Insiders Fast experience in late May 2019. In the following weeks the feature will roll out to Office 365 customers who have chosen the Monthly Channel (Targeted) schedule, and then to the rest of our Office 365 Monthly Channel customers. ETA for our customers who have selected the Semi-Annual Channel for Office 365 is expected to be around January 2020.

Note that if you open Office file links in the web (for example: SharePoint or Outlook on the web), these files will continue opening in the Office web apps for a smoother experience.

Which apps does this work in?

This feature works for links to Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files, stored on OneDrive or SharePoint, that you click in Word, Excel, Outlook, or PowerPoint for Office 365 on Windows.

Once a user turns this feature on, it will apply to all three apps - Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

How do I turn this feature on or off?

You can change this setting, at any time, in any Office 365 for Windows app by going to File >Options >Advanced >Link Handling.

The Options > Advanced dialog box showing the setting to enable or disable opening links in the desktop applications.

If this feature didn't work for you...

The following scenarios are not supported today, these will continue to open in the web:

  • If you're not signed into Office

  • Opening links from other 1st party Office clients like OneNote, Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc.

  • Opening links from 3rd party apps such as Slack, EverNote, etc.

  • Office for Mac

  • Links to files not stored on OneDrive or SharePoint Online

  • Links you receive for certain notifications such as @mention notifications

  • SharePoint vanity domains such as

  • Document links protected by Safe Links on Mobile

  • Outlook Premium accounts with real-time URL phishing protection enabled across all platforms

  • This feature isn't supported for Linux users.

Tip: We're always looking at ways to improve Office. If you'd like to offer feedback for additional scenarios you want to see us enable click File > Feedback > I Have a Suggestion in your Office 365 desktop app.

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