How to make Office 2016 or 2019 or 365 your default Microsoft Office application?


Last updated: September 2018
Applicable to the following Office versions: 2019,2016,2013, 365; Windows 7, Windows 10 and partly to MAC OSX

Here’s a question we received from one of our readers:

“I’ve installed a new version of Office 365 in my system, but after the installation all my Office documents are showing up as unknown file types. Can you help me to set Office 365  as the default file opener for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Vision files?”

Thanks for the question. In this post we will learn how to set your new Office version (being it 2016 or 2019) as default for the files types mentioned above.

Making Office 2016/2019 the default program  instead of older versions

Windows allows us to associate the newer Office version to all relevant files by executing a Quick Repair action from the Control panel. Steps are described below:



  • Open the Control Panel in your system and click Programs and Features.

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  • Search and check on Microsoft Office 2016.
  • Click on it and hit Change present at the top.

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  • Check on Quick repair to fix the issues and select Repair.
  • Mostly repairing will fix you with the issues, but if still the issue is not cleared try the manual process.

Set default programs manually

Setting Excel 2016 as default spreadsheet program:

  • Right click on an .xlsx file, select Open with and select Choose another app.

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  • Click on Excel 2016 and check on Always use this app to open .xlsx files.

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  • Now you can see that all .xlsx files default program is set to Excel 2016.

Note: Using a similar procedure, will allow you to make Excel the default program for csv, Google Sheets, Open Office.

Word 2016

If Microsoft Word 2016 is not your default program proceed as following:

  • Right click on the .docx file, move over open with and select Choose another app.

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  • Click on Word 2016 and check on Always use this app to open .docx files.

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  • Now you can see that all .docx files default program is set to Word 2016.

PowerPoint 2016:

  • Right click on the .pptx file, move over open with and select Choose another app.

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  • Click on PowerPoint 2016 and check on Always use this app to open .pptx files.

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  • You are all set.

Additional notes:

  • There might be cases, mainly around compatibility with older file formats, in which you might want to leaver the older Office versions (2010 and older) as default.
  • There might be cases in which Word, Powerpoint or Excel 2016, will not be listed in the default program list. If that’s the case immediately after you have installed the new version, you might want to restart your computer and re-check. If there is still an issue, you might need to re-run the installation program.
  • Compatibility issues might arise when trying to open Microsoft Office files in Open Office, Libre and Google Docs.

Next steps

 

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