Links to Excel documents on SharePoint are downloading instead of opening in app or browser

Copper Contributor

I was posting about this on a different thread but was asked to start a new feed (


If I provide a link to an Excel file stored on SharePoint via e-mail, Teams, Skype, etc., the file downloads and does not open in the native app (like it used to).  I am using the direct link, not the SharePoint provided link.  I know I can add ?web=1 to the link to force it to open in the browser and that is what I am doing (when I remember) for now.

The whole point in putting an Excel file on SharePoint is to allow us to collaborate on the same file and not have to collate information from different people who have downloaded and edited the file and sent it to me (!) (Note: the fact that I am getting files sent to me like this is evidence this is happening to others, as well, and not isolated to my computer or my settings.)

I have not checked this with Word or PowerPoint.

I do not understand why this behavior is happening.  It cannot be browser dependent as it is downloading.  It may be SharePoint library settings but I can only find settings to force it to open in app or browser NOT download?

Any help to prevent downloading as default is appreciated.

7 Replies

@ShelliG_N Hi, Thanks for creating the new thread. I have tried to duplicate your experience of having the file download instead of opening in the desktop app, Excel in this case, but haven't been able to duplicate it.


I tried a link from an email message, which looked like this:

https://mySharePointSiteName/sites/Ops/Shared Documents/IT/SampleFileName.xlsx

and it opened in the Excel desktop app.


I'm sorry not to have any more suggestions. Perhaps if you are using the older version of Edge (pre-version 80) you might try the latest version? Hard to do if you don't control your IT environment.

@80Mark80 Thanks for checking.  We just had Office 365 update and direct links in e-mails do look to be opening in the app now (YAY!) but tried the link in Teams again and it still downloads.  PowerPoint file link in Teams downloaded also.  Looks like Microsoft is "fixing" issues like this slowly, but surely.


We do not use the Edge browser, really and it looks like we have an older version (Microsoft Edge 42.17134.1098.0) but that is controlled by our IT department.  Why would that have an impact?

@ShelliG_N It probably won't have an effect on your issue, but that is the browser that I have been testing with--if you were using the older version of Edge, it might have different functionality, like downloading instead of opening a file.


Good luck.

@80Mark80 Has anyone solved this mystery. I have tried all of the suggestions. I have a list created, and within the list, one of the columns is a hyperlink to an excel document. I am using Chrome. I did try switching by default browser to Edge, and the link still did not open in the desktop app. My site and library setting both open in the client application. Here are two different versions of my link. The names are changed for security purposes.





New company exact same issue THREE YEARS LATER.

The only way to email a link to an Excel document on a SharePoint site using Outlook and have it open in the native Excel application and not the browser and not download:

  1. Paste the link provided in SharePoint to your browser.
  2. Remove all the items in red
  3. Add all the part in Green


Without the green highlighted part added, the link downloads.  (Note: that green added part does not work for everyone and did not work in Teams for me when I tried it in 2020 or today).


@ShelliG_N I hope your day is great but the behavior you are experiencing with Excel files downloading instead of opening in the native app might be related to the file association settings on your computer, as well as how SharePoint handles links to files.

Here are a few things you can check and consider and hope this makes your day wonderful. 

1. File Association Settings
Make sure that Excel files (.xlsx or .xls) are associated with the Excel desktop application on your computer. Here's how to check and change file associations on Windows:

- Go to "Control Panel" > "Default Programs" > "Set Associations."
- Look for the .xlsx and .xls file extensions and ensure they are associated with Microsoft Excel.


2. SharePoint Library Settings
You mentioned that you are using direct links to the files on SharePoint. In SharePoint, when you click on a file link, the behavior can be influenced by library settings. You can try the following steps:

- Navigate to the SharePoint document library where the Excel files are stored.
- Click on the "Library" tab on the top ribbon, then click on "Library Settings."
- Under the "General Settings," click on "Advanced settings."
- Look for the "Opening Documents in the Browser" section. Ensure that "Open in the client application" is selected. This should force the file to open in the Excel desktop application instead of downloading.


3. SharePoint Site Collection Settings
If the above steps do not resolve the issue, check the site collection settings on SharePoint:

- Go to the SharePoint site's home page.
- Click on the gear icon (settings) in the top-right corner and select "Site settings."
- Under the "Site Collection Administration" section, click on "Site collection features."
- Check if the "Open Documents in Client Applications by Default" feature is activated. If not, activate it, and this should force documents to open in the client application instead of downloading.


4. Office Web Apps
The behavior could also be influenced by the Office Web Apps server configuration. If your organization uses Office Web Apps server to handle file rendering in the browser, there might be settings that affect the behavior of links to Excel files.

Please note that the settings and options described above might vary depending on your SharePoint version and configuration. It's recommended to have the appropriate permissions to make changes to SharePoint settings.


If the issue persists after checking the above settings, you might want to reach out to your organization's SharePoint administrators or IT support team for further assistance. They may be able to identify any specific configurations or issues that are causing the files to download instead of opening in the native app.:happyface:

@ShelliG_SW If you want to collaborate with your team on the same file, why not create Teams group right in the messenger. It's super easy for the team to access and when they open it from Teams it open in web format right from the Teams window. Just a work around we are using. Hope this helps!