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 Microsoft 365 desktop apps most of the time, you can get to work in fewer clicks by turning on this feature.

Important: Customers who have selected Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel (Preview) for Microsoft 365 should see this feature in March 2020. Customers who are on Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel should see this feature in July 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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.

Note: IT admins can't control this feature centrally, each individual user can set the preference for themselves.

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 in Microsoft 365.

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

  • SharePoint vanity domains such as contoso.com.

  • Links to documents stored in the Microsoft sovereign clouds such as Germany, 21 Vianet (China), or the U.S. Government cloud.

  • 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 Microsoft 365 desktop app.

Expand your Office skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×