Opening PDF attachments in Outlook to default PDF viewer

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.  Since the update, when i click on the attachment it pulls up the preview but the only way to actually open it is to save it to OneDrive, download to my computer, or print.  In most cases I need to open the full attachment but not necessarily need to save it.  Just review in detail and the preview is not working well enough for me.  I'm not even able to rotate using the right-click and rotate.  How can I change this to open in my default viewer and not in the message preview only?

20 Replies

@CEverly 

You can try adjusting the attachment handling settings in Outlook to restore the previous behavior. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Open Outlook and go to the "File" tab at the top left corner of the window.
  2. In the File menu, click on "Options."
  3. In the Outlook Options window, select the "Trust Center" tab.
  4. Click on the "Trust Center Settings..." button.
  5. In the Trust Center window, select the "Attachment Handling" option on the left side.
  6. Under the "Attachment and Document Previewers" section, locate the entry for PDF files (extension .pdf) and make sure it is set to "Adobe Acrobat Document" or your preferred PDF viewer.
  7. If the correct program is already selected, you can try toggling the setting off and back on by unchecking and rechecking the checkbox.
  8. Click "OK" to save the changes and close the Trust Center window.
  9. Click "OK" again to close the Outlook Options window.

Once you have adjusted these settings, try opening a PDF attachment in Outlook again. It should now open in your default PDF viewer instead of just displaying the preview. You should be able to review the attachment in detail, rotate pages, and perform other functions available in your PDF viewer.

 

If the issue persists, you may need to check if there are any specific settings or updates related to your PDF viewer software that could be affecting the attachment handling in Outlook.

@NikolinoDE This should work for the "Old Outlook for Windows". How can we solve the same problem in the "New Outlook for Windows"?

Please add more information on this. Outlook version, operating system, OneDrive version, which PDF software is used by default, etc.
Thanks for your quick reply! Here is the additional information:
Microsoft Outlook Version 1.2023.607.100 (Production)
Windows 11 Home
OneDrive version is not relevant. I do not want to upload the PDFs to OneDrive.
Default PDF viewer: PDF-XChange Editor version 9.0

@ds_user 

I have guided the topic through two different AI's because I am not familiar with the PDF-XChange Editor Version 9.0 and its possibilities or effects under Windows 11. Here are a few suggestions from the AI's software.

 

  1. Adjust default program settings: Confirm that your default PDF viewer settings are correctly set in Windows 11. To check and modify default program settings
    • Go to the "Settings" app in Windows 11.
    • Click on "Apps" and then select "Default apps" from the left menu.
    • Scroll down and locate the section "Choose default apps by file type."
    • Find the .pdf file extension and change the selected pdf viewer in the Edge Browser and see if then works. If works your PDF viewer haves a problem.
  2. Clear Outlook temporary files: Clearing temporary files associated with Outlook might help resolve any cached data causing the issue.
    • Close Outlook.
    • Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
    • Type %localappdata%\Microsoft\Outlook and press Enter.
    • Delete all the files and folders within the Outlook folder.
    • Restart Outlook and check if the issue persists.
  3. Repair or reinstall Outlook: If the problem continues, consider repairing or reinstalling Outlook.
    • Go to "Apps & features" in the Windows Settings app.
    • Locate Microsoft Outlook in the list of installed apps.
    • Click on "Advanced options."
    • In the new window, click on "Repair" and follow the on-screen instructions.

 

Here I am also at my wits end. Hope this information helps you.

@NikolinoDE  I used the "Feedback" feature to complain about this issue. The answer was that the feature is not available, but might be in future releases. 
I guess we can stop looking for a solution now. Thanks for your help anyway.

There is a whole raft of controls that Microsoft has taken away, seemingly entirely arbitrarily - starting with deleting the "File" menu and removing your choice of where downloads should be saved. Fundamental and infuriating changes. @ds_user 

@admglrh @ds_user Not just 3rd party apps! 

It is daft that I have my default pdf app set to Microsoft Edge, but that does not allow Outlook to preview them!  All within Microsoft 365, they just won't talk to each other. I can double click to open them, but not preview.  Setting the default to Adobe just makes it more cumbersome.

I think I've figured this issue out. After you tell new outlook to download something, it should pop up a downloads box with the file in it. Right click on this file - select "Always open with system viewer."
Thanks! That seems to work.
I have the same issue. In prior Outlook it was 1 click to get a PDF open in my default PDF software. Now its 10-15 clicks and opening files I have to download to a specific location.

I love Microsoft for continually making my life more difficult and causing me mental anguish with every update. I also love that my old Outlook has been rendered essentially useless due to lack of updates and a rash of pop up errors.

@CEverly 

 

I had this issue too, and discovered the cause was HP Wolf Security's Threat Containment setting.

Every PDF was opening in the HP Secureclick browser to "contain" possible treats. 

To disable:

1. Open HP Wolf Security from the system tray

2. Go to Setting > Threat Containment

3. Toggle Status to Disable

 

Disabling the the Threat Containment setting enabled Outlook to 1. preview PDF's and 2. Open PDF's using the default PDF handler. (Nitro Pro for me)

 

Hope this helps.

Regards Muz

 

mjc159_0-1705423691750.png

 

@CEverly 

 

Same problem. Definitely a huge step back in productivity. Slows down saving to correct location, and restricts how i view a PDF, as i often need to zoom etc. 

@NikolinoDE 

instructions still work today, 02.21.2024. thanks . 

how fix the pdf viewer  on MacBook Air for outlook

@Mandie1865 

If you're experiencing issues with the PDF viewer in Outlook on your MacBook Air, here are a few troubleshooting steps you can try:

  1. Update Outlook: Ensure that you have the latest version of Outlook installed on your MacBook Air. Microsoft regularly releases updates that may include fixes for issues with the application.
  2. Check for macOS Updates: Make sure your MacBook Air is running the latest version of macOS. Sometimes, compatibility issues between Outlook and macOS can cause problems with features like the PDF viewer.
  3. Restart Outlook: Close Outlook completely and then reopen it. This simple step can sometimes resolve temporary glitches or issues with the application.
  4. Clear Outlook Cache: Outlook may store temporary files and cache data that could cause issues with certain features. Clearing the cache might help. To do this, go to Outlook Preferences > General > Clear Cache.
  5. Reset Outlook Preferences: If clearing the cache doesn't solve the problem, you can try resetting Outlook preferences to their default settings. Hold down the Option key while opening Outlook, then select "Reset Preferences."
  6. Check PDF Default Application: Ensure that your MacBook Air has a default PDF viewer set up. You can do this by going to System Preferences > General > Default web browser and selecting the preferred PDF viewer.
  7. Repair Outlook Installation: If the issue persists, you can try repairing the Outlook installation. To do this, close Outlook, open the Applications folder, locate Microsoft Outlook, right-click (or Control-click) on it, and select "Get Info." In the window that opens, click on "Open using Rosetta" if available, then close the window and reopen Outlook. This step can help resolve compatibility issues on Macs with M1 chips.

By following these steps, you can hopefully resolve the issues with the PDF viewer in Outlook on your MacBook Air.The text was created with the help of AI.

 

My answers are voluntary and without guarantee!

 

Hope this will help you.

 

Was the answer useful? Mark as best response and like it!

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@CEverly 

For me now it works. The only difference is that I need to do right click and press open instead of a double click on the .pdf file, then the pdf file will open in my selected pdf viewer.


The steps I followed:
Open Outlook and go to the "File" tab at the top left corner of the window.
In the File menu, click on "Options."
In the Outlook Options window, select the "Trust Center" tab.
Click on the "Trust Center Settings..." button.
In the Trust Center window, select the "Attachment Handling" option on the left side.
Under the "Attachment and Document Previewers" section, locate the entry for PDF files (extension .pdf) and make sure it is set to "Adobe Acrobat Document" or your preferred PDF viewer.
If the correct program is already selected, you can try toggling the setting off and back on by unchecking and rechecking the checkbox.
Click "OK" to save the changes and close the Trust Center window.
Click "OK" again to close the Outlook Options window.
Then:
Clear Outlook temporary files: Clearing temporary files associated with Outlook might help resolve any cached data causing the issue.
Close Outlook.
Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
Type %localappdata%\Microsoft\Outlook and press Enter.
Delete all the files and folders within the Outlook folder.
Restart Outlook and check if the issue persists.

 

And then, I can just open in my default pdf viewer by right clicking and pressing open:

 

Akinais_0-1712737454665.png

 

@Akinais 

 

This may be the case for the "Old" Outlook.  This cannot be how you can do it in the "New" Outlook as there is no longer a "File" Tab.

 

tadams1583_0-1712839084852.png

 

Additionally, when you are using the "New" Outlook your options with right clicking are:  

tadams1583_1-1712839222977.png

So apparently the "New" Outlook is a big piece of Trash. It's like using Google mail.  Good Job MS. If I want to play on the web I'll get on the Web.  If I paying for software I want to use software.  Please let me know why I'm wrong.