Set preference of opening in Office Online or Office App

Occasional Contributor

We would like to see some kind of preference that a user can set to open files from SharePoint directely in the Office Apps instead of Office Online when clicking on them. This saves an extra click, and makes that SharePoint isn't showing many tabs for all opened documents (and next to that our users prefer to working in the Office Apps).

19 Replies
best response confirmed by Sonny Gillissen (Occasional Contributor)
On the Document Library Settings page, choose Advanced settings.
On the Advanced Settings page, in Opening Document in the Browser, select one of the following options:
Open in the client application   When a user chooses a document in this library, the document will open in the corresponding client application if it's available.
Open in the browser   When a user chooses a document in this library, the document will open in the web browser in the web app for that document type. When the document is opened in the web app, the user can then decide to open the document in the client application.
Use the server default   When a user chooses a document in this library, the document will open by using the default open behavior specified for the server
Alternatively, you could write some code to do this configuration in an automatic fashion

I've also found the option 'Open Documents in Client Applications by Default' on the Site Collection Features page, which does the same for the entire Site Collection (which is what we wanted). Thanks for you reply, you pointed me in the right direction :)

You can also ... Right click on the file, and select whether to ...

1) open in Excel/Word/etc OR

2) open in Excel/Word/etc Online. 


Unless that is the extra click you were trying to avoid.

I found that that setting only works in IE and Firefox but not for Chrome or Edge.

In Chrome or Edge, the document is opened/created using Office Web app irrespective of the setting.

Has anyone experienced the same?

I am using Windows 10.

Yes, I experience the same at one of my customers tenants.

Chrome open new documents in Office Online.

It also opens existing documents in Office Online.

After I click the "..." and Open from the popup, then it opens in the Office Clients instead.


Hi, @Sonny Gillissen could you please tell me where I can find that setting? There seems to be plenty of coverage of this issue in relation to Sharepoint but not the Office app.



Same thing occurs in SharePoint 2016 on-premise. We cannot force users to use Internet Explorer, especially as Edge is Microsoft's recommended browser. Is there another option? 

Hi, Can you tell where is that menu from?

@Dean Gross  where do you access Document Library Settings page? cant find it anywhere 




@ViGuru Greetings!
You can follow the instructions given on . 
The usual warning: The given link redirects to a non-Microsoft website. Proceed at your own risk.

BTW the website is pretty safe, nothing to worry about ;) .

@DarkPsycho302 Changing the library setting to open in desktop client does work in Chrome but only from the native library link. If you add a link to say a quick link web part, it still opens in the browser. If you then remove the ?web=1 parameter it should force a download. But there's no such option to force a single doc to open in the desktop app. 


This illustrates Msft's shortsighted misunderstanding of the way people work and the basic options customers need. The all or nothing approach to link behavior is sloppy at best but more likely lazy. Instead of wasting their time on things no one has asked for or cares about, I wish Msft would focus on fixing the buggy modern ui and adding options like this that people might actually find useful.

I have educated my users to right-click on the file, select OPEN, select OPEN IN APP.  While not perfect, it is a work-around that I am OK with.  Or I have users navigate from the desktop app (excel etc), using recent, or drilling into the SP site to retrieve and save their file.

that's the extra click they're asking about O:-)
I am having the same issue with some users. Is there a fix for this?


The feature "open document with client application" work only on the website. If you have outlook, you can activate this option to open link received from SharePoint/onedrive by mail with the app




@Gilbert Okello you have to activate the IE Compatibility Mode (under Settings) in Edge first. It just work for the Sites that you explicity activate the Compatibility Mode (it will not be activate over the Internet).

Hi there, may ia ask how do you change from opening microsoft word/PP/Excel in Desktop version instead of the browser ones. I'm really having a hard time to try and change the setting but to no available. I even tried to click the 'Open in Destop' version but its still won't allow me to open in the desktop version. Hope you can help me out, Thank you in advanced!