How To Open Files In Desktop App By Default In Microsoft Teams

Iron Contributor

YT Thumn - Open In Desktop App By Default Teams.png


This Microsoft Teams tutorial will demonstrate how to set Teams to always open files in their respective desktop applications. By default, Microsoft Teams will open files for editing directly in Microsoft Teams. Users can change this setting with a few simple clicks to set Teams to always open in the desktop app or the browser. This will apply to Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Excel files.

22 Replies
I love this! Thanks for sharing with the community.

@LuiIacobellis Any special license requirements here? Doesn't seem to be showing up for a number of people running the latest version.

@pdxcomputerpro Based on my research there does not seem be any special license requirement for this. Since posting this tutorial, I've received a lot of feedback that some users can't see this feature. It was released into general available a long time ago so it is a bit odd. 

Is there a way to do this at the tenant level so that each user doesnt have to set this up?
On the general tab, scroll down to the Files section. There is a dropdown menu to choose between opening in Teams, the desktop app, or in browser. After changing the default option, simply left clicking the file will now open the file in the desktop app instead of within Teams.
Rachel Gomez

Hello @LuiIacobellis, thank you for the post. We would like to set "Desktop App" as default. I have used PROCMON64, to monitor the changes made in the registry and to the file system unable to glean the entry. Is there a registry key or desktop-config.json configuration entry?



I used to have this feature available, but ever since I reset my pc and did a clean install this option is not available. 


Shame, it was so much nicer.

To the best of my knowledge it is not possible. Hopefully if someone discovers this, they will update the thread.
That is rather odd and totally unfortunate. I stand corrected to an earlier comment I made on this thread. You are required to have a Microsoft 365 E3 or higher licence. Check if you had any licence changes made recently.

@LuiIacobellis Hmm, we have never had an E3 or above license. Winder if it changed at some point and because I already had the setting set it just held.


Seems a very weird thing to limit to E3. If you have a desktop app license it should just be allowed.

I definitely agree that it is rather odd to put this feature behind a licence wall. Here is the article that I came across to suggest an E3 is required:

@rachelgomez161999 this is not at the tenant level. if i have 150 users i dont want to go into every desktop Teams app and set this. I want a default at the tenant. please be advised we have an E5 license.

@LuiIacobellis thanks for this.  Is there a way to set the desktop application for files other than word etc.  E.g. I want to set .mpp files to open in Seavus Project Viewer.  



Did you ever find an answer to this?
That Microsoft requires an Office 365 E3 or E5 license to do this BASIC task is absolutely ludicrous. It's like making users have an E3 or E5 license to save files - I mean com'on Microsoft, let ALL users have access to a very BASIC feature.

@LuiIacobellis 2 screenshots and a few lines of text would have done the same job,

@ThoHof Appreciate the feedback. My content is video based however and not blog based. Tons of other text based content creators out there if that is your preference. 

If you go to the account tab in the top right (with your initials on). Then select 'manage account'.
Select 'files and links' from the list on the left. Then you can choose from the drop down menu on 'file open preference'.