Now in Teams Public Preview: Default file open setting for office files


Feature description

The Teams desktop and web apps for Windows and Mac now enable users to configure the default app used to open Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files that have been shared in Microsoft Teams.

Users can configure Teams to open the file directly in Teams (default), open in the web browser, or open in the Word, Excel, or PowerPoint desktop apps.

Prior to this feature rollout, clicking a PowerPoint, Word, or Excel file shared in Teams would open the file in Teams. Users could then select the option to open the file in the browser or Office desktop app.

Alternatively, users could select More options (...) > Open and then select the target app in which they want to view/edit the Office file.

Note: While it was not previously possible to change the default, this menu now offers an entry point for users to change the default app used to open Office files.



Screenshot showing the options for opening an Excel spreadsheet from the Teams desktop app




Screenshot showing the 'Change default' options to configure which app is used to open Office files

Flighting status

Available to all starting now.


How to enable your client for Preview

Step 1: IT admins – read instructions here

Step 2: Users – read instructions here 


Feature release notes

Feature should be mentioned here before posting -


How to enable the feature

The ability to change the default app used to open Office files is available to all users by default. There are no admin controls or policies to disable this feature.

Users can navigate to Teams Settings > General and scroll down to the Files section. The dropdown menu can be used to select the default app to open Office files:

  • Teams (default)
  • Desktop app
  • Browser



Screenshot of Teams general settings with the option for setting default Office file app highlighted

Note: The option to choose 'Desktop app' is only available when using the Teams desktop app for Windows or macOS and only applies to that device. The Teams web app only shows options for 'Teams' and 'Browser'.


O365 workload, Microsoft products dependency

Workload, product etc

Dependency (Yes/No)

If yes, please share version requirement and any other dependency requirements

Office build


To open a file in the Office desktop apps, users must install and activate version 16 or higher of PowerPoint/Word/Excel.


Clients supported -













Known issues



Known limitations

To open a file in the Office desktop apps, users must install and activate version 16 or higher of PowerPoint/Word/Excel.


How to provide feedback

If you run into any issues report them via your Teams client -- Help (bottom left) -- Give feedback


Thank you,

Preview Team @Soumitra Paul 

Quality & Customer Obsession, Microsoft Teams

47 Replies
Good to see this is public preview.
However, I am really seeing the mismatch in the Release notes.
This feature was listed as available in 12 May 2021 M365 Current Channel (Preview) release note
but it is only available for public preview in July 2021.
How could we trust the release note then???
Is it possible for IT Admins to set the default via Teams Admin Centre or Group Policies?

This feature is most useful for changing the default to be open in desktop app, yet this only works with Office 16 not 365? Aren't the majority of Teams users on 365? This is not helpful at all.

We are only seeing Teams and Web options for the default. Open in Desktop App is missing.
I'm using Excel for Microsoft 365 MSO (16.0.13001.20254) 64-bit
and Teams Desktop version.
Public Preview I see nothing new.
Developer preview only allows defaults or Teams and Browser,
neither one being as useful (to me) as App.
I really really really want this feature.
Yes, you are correct that in Teams Settings it only shows Teams or Browser as the options for default. The option for Desktop does appear in Settings if you first go to any Office file in Teams and click the More options (...) > Open and then select "Change default". "Desktop app" should appear as an option and click that. Now the default is set to Desktop and will now appear in the Teams Settings. I believe there's a bug that is causing the Desktop option to not appear in Teams' Settings unless the above steps are taken.
I had already tried that. No option for Desktop there either.
Interesting. Did you try a manual update to Teams? I got an update today by manually clicking update. Mine now says "Microsoft Teams Version (64-bit). It was last updated on 8/5/2021".
According to the OP, Desktop App only shows in the Change Default option if you're running Office 16. So glad we have 365 everything.
I think they meant to say version 16 and higher. I have 365 Desktop Apps using my Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription and I got the "Desktop App" option to appear using the steps I mentioned above.

@RichLusk Turns out it is the version. Mine was updated today, but was .17 something. Manually updated and that made the desktop app option available. Just get the latest update ( (64-bit)) and you're in business. Finally!!! :)

FWIW, after switching to the Preview Channel I didn't see the desktop app option either. Restarted Teams and it appeared.
Nice! Glad it's working for you now.
waiting for so long for this feature! Great that you this whish has become reality! Thx
I'm on version in Public preview. The solution is NOT working, the only options are to select between Teams and Browser. The Desktop App option is missing.

The downside of Public preview is that PowerBI tabs added on a page are no longer working. Switching back and forth between regular user and Public preview is not an option.

@JanHenk I can reproduce what you're experiencing, with all settings as they should be I can only see Teams or Browser. Bear in mind that features included in preview might not be complete and might undergo changes. They're provided for evaluation and exploration purposes only.

How do I get this feature?
I tried updating the app, and also downloading it again. I now have version (64 bit).
Hi, see the instructions above. Step 1 to start with

Your Teams / IT admin needs to enable this for you.

Step 2: Users – read instructions here [Link from Jessica Reading]


There's no link. Please could this be added? Thank you