How to open Teams files in desktop apps by default?

Here’s question that we receive the other 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

Thanks John for your question. There is a not well known Microsoft Teams setting that takes care exactly of that. Follow along for the end to end procedure:

  • Login to Microsoft Teams.
  • 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.

Additional learning:

Enjoy Microsoft Teams 🙂