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

You can download a specific Teams version from this link (replace the version number) :


Last version seems to be and that version shows the 'Desktop App' as an option !!




@JanHenk Unlike other products the Teams features doesn't always correlate with version numbers, but instead are being released according to the different rings. But you can of course force a version upgrade if you'd like to do that with awareness that you can end up with a version not being supported for you. Until the next automatic update happening in the background which will adjust that (usually twice a month).


In other words, keep an eye on your version number now and later to see how your forced update will proceed.


The official way of getting new features are to search for updates and do a manual sign out / sign in.


Glad you see the option though ;)

I upgraded to the newest version, but I still don't see the option to choose how to open files. There's no selection box under General.
Anne, you have to make sure your IT admin enable this in a Teams policy for you.

Yay!! Mine finally works, after a complete Quit of Teams (not just close the window), running Developer Preview, Thank for the guidance!!!!

The Desktop App option is missing in my Teams., so this much desired function is useless for me currently I've got Teams and Browser as the only two options to change the default to. I have this version of M365 Apps for Enterprise Installed:

Microsoft® Excel® for Microsoft 365 MSO (16.0.13929.20406) 64-bit
Hey, I could reproduce this having only Teams and Browser as choice. My "Desktop app" option only appeared when selecting "Quit" from the taskbar, "Sign out" made no difference, which usually is the way to go with updates.

@Kaushal Mehta (LYNC) 

Not appearing for me either.

Teams version (64-bit). It was last updated on 19/08/2021.

Office Version Microsoft 365 MSO (16.0.14228.20216) 64-bit

Tried logging out and in.

Tried fully quitting.

Developer Preview and Public Preview both allowed and on.

I'd say you have a "Known issue" from looking at these comments.

The option to Open in app appears...


but does not appear to be possible to set as default...



@Kaushal Mehta (LYNC) I currently have Teams version, but do not have the option to set the default file opening behaviour.  I've looked under Settings>General and it is not there as you've got it pictured.  It is also not available when clicking the ... beside a file name.  Any advice?

The feature is obviously rolling out now. I've checked the desktop-config.json and didn't find any related entry. Anyone managed to find out where the setting is stored? Would be great for IT admins to be able to set that for their users.


Thanks for sharing the issue!

Based on user feedback recently we have moved this setting under files section.

Can you please confirm if you can see this setting under Settings -> Files as shown below - 




@Soumitra Paul thanks for your help, but I do not have Files listed under Settings.  I have version and here is what I see: 



Hi, I now have this feature. I found the following:

When I open files in Team Channels - it does respect my choice.
When I open files in Chat - it does NOT respect my choice and always opens in Teams.
When I open files in "popped out" Chat - It does respect my choice.
When I open files from Search - it does NOT respect my choice and always opens in Teams.

Is it expected work like this? Or is it a bug that it fails to work in Chat (unless popped out) and search?

Many Thanks.


There was an issue due to which the setting was not available. This issue is fixed now. Can you please logout and login to Teams client and confirm if you are still having this issue.

Thanks for your patience!!


Thanks for sharing the feedback!

We are actively investigating these issues.

It's there, just like magic! Thanks!

Seems that it's still missing for some users in my tenant and some users have this setting...


Edit: Did some digging,  on their computers the option doesn't show up but if they login to my laptop(which isn't domain connected),  this option shows up...  We are running the latest Office build aswell as teams :) 


Are there any additional requriements ?

Same here, some users (M365 Prem) have and some don't have the option for setting 'Desktop App' as Default. I myself on my main PC (.26376), do not - on other devices, I do get the option - so device dependant.

@Richy72I'm running into the same situation. We are not using the preview. Some of have the option and others do not. I had the option on one device and then ran both Office and Teams updates and now I no longer have the option. Would love to figure out how to get it back.