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How do I set SharePoint to ‘Open in App’ by default?

Published: 2 November 2021 Last updated: 17 February 2022

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Open options

You can work with files stored in SharePoint using Office for the web or the native Office 365 applications. Clicking on a document in a SharePoint library will open it using Office for the web by default.

Right click on an office document then choose Open to reveal the options:

  • Open in browser (Default) – Opens the file using Office for the web
  • Open in app – Opens the file using the desktop Office 365 apps
  • Open in Immersive Reader

Open Documents in Client Applications by Default (Entire site)

By default, clicking on the title of a document from within a document library will open it in the browser using Office for the web. You can change this behaviour to ‘Open in app’ by following the steps outlined below.

Please note: This can only be configured by a site owner and this setting will affect all users of the site. Consider whether this is suitable for all users of your site. Remember that you can manually open a document with the relevant desktop app by right clicking on it, selecting Open then choosing Open in app.

  1. Navigate to your SharePoint site then select the Gear icon > Site information
  1. Within site information, select View all site settings
  1. Under the Site Collection Administration section, select Site collection features
  1. Click Activate next to Open Documents in Client Applications by Default

How to disable ‘Open Documents in Client Applications by Default’

To disable this option and revert back to the default behaviour you will first need to navigate back to the Site collection settings by following the steps above. Once you have reached the settings, find ‘Open Documents in Client Applications by Default’ on the list and select the Deactivate button.

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