How to change default document behavior

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I am looking for how to change the settings for how documents open from SharePoint (and Teams). Most of the time our users need to open Excel in desktop version and not online. But they have to click and select Excel everytime they open a file. What is the best way for changing default settings?

16 Replies
Hi Anne,
you can change this by going to the Document Library Settings => Advanced Settings => Opening Documents in the Browser
Here you have the option to set the default behavior to "Open in the client application", which will open every Office document in the desktop app and not online.

Or you could choose to activate the Site Collection feature "Open Documents in Client Applications by Default". This will set the above setting for every Doc Library in your site collection.

Hi Anne!


I agree with @Stefaan De Vreese. That will make it work when you open from SharePoint. However i am not so sure that it will affect the behavior when You open the file from Teams. I think the only way to open in Office Client from Teams is to press the 3 dots and select "Open in Excel" instead of just clicking the link.



I changed the default behaviour for the sharepoint site to open the desktop application, and then I added a new website tab to my team site that pointed to the sharepoint library, by opening the files in that tab it used the behaviour i set for the library. 

There is a workaround for this.  When you are in teams right click the 3 dots next to General and click "open in sharepoint"

When in Sharepoint online click on the gear next to your picture or initials (in the top right of the screen)

Click on Library settings

Select Advanced Settings in General Settings

In "Opening Documents in the Browser" Change to Open in the client application

Go back to the documents in Sharepoint online and copy and paste the entire web address

Go Back to Teams

Right Click Documents Library and select Remove

Select the plus and select website

Name it whatever you like

Paste the document library web address you just copied

Select Save

It will now open the desktop app as default



I don't understand the procedure.

Could you help me with some screenshot ?

Thank you

Brilliant! Thanks!@ahilburn2019 

@ahilburn2019  You are a genius!


I made it through most of the steps but can't find "Right Click Documents Library and select Remove" in Teams. 


@Tammy44  Same here. Anyone find where this is? @ahilburn2019 


I think this is done by right clicking on the tabs up the top. You can not remove the default 'Files' tab.

I can remove a manually created Document library.  Additionally If I add a manual Documents library (by adding a new tab +)  following the steps it still opens in the teams and not the app.  Do I need to remove the default "files" tab?


I take that back, it did work. I created a new document library when I should of just created a web link to the SharePoint site.  this opens up SharePoint within a teams window.  

@ahilburn2019 i dont see library settings when i click on the gear next to my initials in sharepoint?

@ahilburn2019  This is awesome. Thanks!

Just because no one said it yet - This is obviously a design flaw. There is no logical reason to have this as a document library setting, much less the only place to configure this be at the document library level. This should be a user preference that takes precedence over the document library setting, if the doc lib setting even remains. I'm sure there is some long story that can explain how it came to this, but M365 has come far enough that this sort of bizarre UX can and should be left behind with the old, bad sharepoint of yesteryear.

@Stefaan De Vreese 

So, how do you activate the Site Collection feature "Open Documents in Client Applications by Default?"

I don't have the details at my fingertips, but there is a better per-user setting now that didn't exist at the time of my last viewing this thread, in 2021. Recently it's been working much more consistently, and it doesn't depend solely on which document library your link is in.