Force Office Files to Open in Desktop App (via link, from web parts.. in all cases)

Occasional Contributor

I want to force Office files stored in SharePoint to open in the desktop app - NEVER in Office Online apps. I have configured the site and the Document Library but opening in the native app only seems to work when navigating to the file in the DL and clicking it directly. Web Parts seem to always open the web app, as do links copied via the "Share" or "Copy Link" options in the DL. 


I've made up quick video to show and tell:


Note - while I was making the video, I stumbled upon a workaround for when we share links internally via e-mail (and maybe I can use the same workaround when sending files in Teams.)


I also fumble through trying to explain what I've been toying with as far as other workarounds.. the limitations of my technical capabilities will be apparent!


I already looked at several other posts, e.g.:

1 Reply

@wkeber so I am attempting to solve this myself... The only "solution" I have found is using office URI schemes. However, I am very much using quotes around "solution" because, at least in my case, it is not working reliably.


See this link for more info → Office URI Schemes 


but basically, it is a bit of code in front of your link that forces certain word functions. For example adding "ms-word:ofe|u|" to the front of a link will force the file that is linked (assuming it's a Word doc) to open in word, and specifically in editing mode. There are options for opening in other office apps or in other modes (such as viewing mode, etc). However, the catch I've found is twofold: 

  1. Unless you are pasting this edited link directly into your browser bar, it seems that Microsoft apps often default to each specific user's profile preferences. SO if in Word under Options>Advanced>Link Handling, or in Teams under Settings>Files you would need to allow those apps to open in the desktop app. If they do not have these settings turned on, you cannot force open in desktop apps. 
  2. It sometimes makes the string of text unrecognizable as a link to the program you are using. I am not sure, but this seems to be because most hyperlink software searches for the string "http..." or "https..." at the beginning to be able to identify that string as a link. 

Also, they will only work with "http(s)" links, never "www", etc. 


So maybe this will help you, I hope so!