How to open Teams files in desktop apps by default?

Here’s a question that we just received from John:

I use Microsoft Teams to share Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and some Word documents collectively with colleagues and customers. We keep those in the Files tab of our working group Teams channel. By default, files open up in the Teams viewer, which makes sense, because not everyone has Office installed. Although the editing capabilities for Office on Web/Teams are overall fine, i definitely prefer the flexibility of editing Office files in their native application be it Excel, PowerPoint or Word. Is there a way for me to open any file associated with a Teams channel by default in the native Office app, instead of in the Teams viewer?

Opening Office files in desktop instead of Teams

Here’s how to configure your Teams app to show you Office files in the desktop version of Microsoft Office:

  • First off, login to Microsoft Teams.
  • Then, click your Microsoft Teams user icon (on the right hand side of your top bar).
  • Hit Manage Account.
  • Your Microsoft Teams settings will come up.
  • Navigate to the Files tab.
  • Under File open preference, select Desktop app, as shown in the image below:
  • Close the Microsoft Teams Settings dialog.
  • Now from the Task bar, open the Files app and try to open an existing Word, Excel or PowerPoint file.
  • Your document, workbook or presentation will open in the native Microsoft Office app.

Opening PDF files in desktop

Another reader asked specifically about pdf file opening on a full desktop viewer instead of in a pd web viewer docked in Teams.

To solve this, you will need to talk to your IT Administrator managing your Microsoft Teasm tenant, and ask them to enable a pdf viewing app such as Acrobat to be used as the default viewer. If that is not feasible, you will need to download the document to your computer and use your default pdf viewer to browse (or edit) your document.

Additional learning:

Enjoy Microsoft Teams 🙂