Newest Outlook version doesn't open pdf in Acrobat

Copper Contributor

My Outlook was updated to the newest version a few days ago and I'm having issues with opening PDF attachments in my default PDF viewer.  Before, you could click the attachment in the email and get a preview but if you were to fully open the attachment it would open in my default application.


When I click on it I get this viewer instead of it going directly to Adobe PDF. If I have to download it, I would prefer to save it as a location that I choose.


I can go to Acrobat and open the downloaded files, but that is extra steps. Any suggestions?


15 Replies

If you're experiencing issues with opening PDF attachments in your default PDF viewer after a recent Outlook update, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try to resolve the issue:

1. Restart Outlook: Sometimes, simply restarting Outlook can resolve temporary glitches or conflicts that may be causing the issue.

2. Check Default Programs Settings:

  • Open the Control Panel on your computer.
  • Go to "Default Programs" and then select "Set Default Programs".
  • Locate your default PDF viewer (e.g., Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Edge) and ensure it's set as the default program for opening PDF files.

3. Verify Outlook Attachment Settings:

  • In Outlook, go to "File" > "Options" > "Trust Center" > "Trust Center Settings" > "Attachment Handling".
  • Ensure that the option "Turn off Attachment Preview" is unchecked.
  • Also, make sure that the option "Turn off Attachment Preview for RTF files" is unchecked if you're receiving PDF attachments embedded in RTF files.

4. Reset Default File Associations:

  • In Windows, go to "Settings" > "Apps" > "Default apps".
  • Scroll down and click on "Choose default apps by file type".
  • Find the .pdf file type and ensure your default PDF viewer is selected.

5. Repair Office Installation:

  • If the issue persists, you can try repairing your Office installation.
  • Go to "Control Panel" > "Programs" > "Programs and Features".
  • Right-click on "Microsoft Office" (or "Microsoft 365") and select "Change".
  • Choose the "Quick Repair" option and follow the prompts to repair your Office installation.

6. Update PDF Viewer Software: Ensure that your default PDF viewer software is up to date. Visit the official website of the software (e.g., Adobe Acrobat, Foxit Reader) to download and install any available updates.

7. Check for Outlook Updates: Make sure that your Outlook application is fully up to date. Check for and install any available updates by going to "File" > "Office Account" > "Update Options" > "Update Now".

8. Temporarily Disable Antivirus/Firewall: Sometimes, antivirus or firewall software can interfere with file attachments. Temporarily disable any third-party antivirus or firewall software and check if the issue persists.

9. Create a New Outlook Profile: If none of the above steps resolve the issue, try creating a new Outlook profile to see if the problem is related to your existing profile.

If the issue persists after trying these steps, you may need to contact Microsoft Support for further assistance, as there could be a specific issue related to the recent Outlook update.

New Outlook does not have Trust Center, and does not seem to have settings for selecting the default app to open different attachment types.

I agree - there is no trust center and the proposed resolution does not resolve this issue which I also have 


@RohanWiese84 This is an issue with the NEW OUTLOOK. There is no File or Trust center. 

There is a settings area with very limited options. 

Opening PDF always opens in an Outlook window no matter what system settings or default apps are chosen. 

The only option is to download the attachment and then navigate to the downloads folder in File Explorer. If you download, then open from the Download menu it opens in Edge. 

@Scott_J945 That's just bad business model. One day works one way, you come to work next day and your workflow is completely f..... 

@DeeReinhardt   I am having the same issue.  Its a bad change to how outlook works.  I will go back to the old Outlook.  The way the new outlook handles attachments adds extra steps into a process that was working just fine before.

This information does not address the initial post in this thread. The issue is the "NEW" Outlook and how it opens attachments, not the preview portion.

@Colette1122 Best i can think of in terms of keeping workflow as simple as is to go for print option, then from print preview you can actually save attachement in the old way. via Edge, with pdf opening after saving. Still adds couple more clicks to each pdf, but it's better than having to go in the folder. 

@MilesB1670  Yes I was doing that, but have decided to go back to the older version until Microsoft catches up with user feedback. 

@Colette1122 I know right. I have both running, whenever i feel like more reliable search bar is needed then i go for new outlook, but if i'm attaching a lot files at the time then i use old one lol  

I've been back and forth with "New" Outlook. Why can't MS bring back Outlook functionality?
Thank you! After working through your other suggestions, repairing Office Installation did the trick for me to solve this annoying glitch.

@LBW13did repairing allow you to open a PDF directly from an email with the default app? Or did it fix a broken preview...

@DeeReinhardt when noting this problem via Feedback to Microsoft (New Outlook/Help/Feedback), they acknowledged that it is a feature that PDFs do not open in third-party app. hope for a fix in a future version. 



@drkp89_rti  Why are so many of the functions that existed in the old outlook not present in this supposedly new and better version. I understand that the new outlook will be the only option moving forward in the near future. without all these items addressed, how does that make sense.  Please fix this as I use PDF files often and will need to have the ability to open them directly into adobe and not some pre prescribed pdf viewer from Microsoft.  Please let me know if you get this resolved.


Thanks, Stephan