Configure SharePoint Server to Open Office Documents in Client Application by Default

[Author: Leo Sun & Fish Ge, Office/Project Support Team, Microsoft Asia Pacific Global Support Center ]

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Office Web Apps is a featured companion to SharePoint Server which allows Office documents to be opened and edited in browser. Hence on a machine without Office application installed, user can still access Office dcoument in browser and get similar experience of client application. This is convenient for smart phone and tablet.

When you install Office Web Apps, Office documents stored on SharePoint will open in browser directly. However some people wish they could still open the documents in Office client application by default.

Below is the solution to configure SharePoint Server to open Office documents in client application by default.

Regular method

Make sure Client Integration feature is enabled on SharePoint

1. In SharePoint Central Administration site, click Application Management->Manage Web Applications, select the web application for the site.

2. Click Authentication Providers, select default zone, and select Yes for "Enable Client Integration?"


Configure setting to open Office document in client application:

  1. In SharePoint Central Administration site, click Site Actions->Site Settings
  2. Under Site Collection Administration, click Site collection features
  3. For "Open Documents in Client Applications by Default", click Activate
  4. For "Office Web Apps”, click Deactivate


After modification above, every time you click drop-down menu next to Office document in Document Library, you will find "View in Browser" and "Edit in Browser" options not present, and only "Edit in Microsoft Word" is present

What if regular method doesn't work?

Well, we first need to know the theory behind the "regular method"

Log on to SharePoint Application Server, and navigate to this path: "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extension\14\Template\XML" (this is default path) , and find below XML files:





These files will tell SharePoint that when user opens Office document, which Office Web Apps service should serve the request. We can open these XML files in notepad. Take serverfilespowerpoint.xml as example (handling PowerPoint files):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>

<!-- Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. -->


    <Mapping FileExtension="pptx" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" CreateRedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/CreateNewDocument.aspx?id=|0" NoGetRedirect="TRUE"/>

    <Mapping FileExtension="potx" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" NoGetRedirect="TRUE"/>

    <Mapping FileExtension="ppsx" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" NoGetRedirect="TRUE"/>

    <Mapping FileExtension="pptm" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" NoGetRedirect="TRUE"/>

    <Mapping FileExtension="potm" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" NoGetRedirect="TRUE"/>

    <Mapping FileExtension="ppsm" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" NoGetRedirect="TRUE"/>

    <Mapping FileExtension="ppt" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" NoGetRedirect="TRUE"/>

    <Mapping FileExtension="pot" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" NoGetRedirect="TRUE"/>

    <Mapping FileExtension="pps" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" NoGetRedirect="TRUE"/>

    <Mapping FileExtension="odp" RedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/PowerPoint.aspx?PowerPointView=ReadingView&PresentationId=|0" CreateRedirectUrlTemplate= "/_layouts/CreateNewDocument.aspx?id=|0" NoGetRedirect ="TRUE"/>



The XML tag shows that requests to files types specified in FileExtension section will be redirected to PowerPoint.aspx and opened withiin Office Web Apps. When "regular method" doesn't work (document opened in browser), it means redirection in this XML is still in effect. There're several possible reasons:

  1. Web application for the document library is corrupt
  2. There is permission issue to turn off Office Web Apps
  3. Network issue

To cancel the request redirection, we can comment out all tags within<ServerFiles>…</ServerFiles> by using <!--->, or rename the XML file.

Common issue of "regular method"

In order to disable Office Web Apps, many user will disable Word Viewing  Service and PowerPoint Viewing Service from Manage Service Application.

In this way, when user still wish to view the document in browser, the user will recieve error:

"Word Web App cannot open this document for viewing because of an unexpected error. To view this document, open it in Microsoft Word."


Configure the default open behavior for browser-enabled documents (Office Web Apps)


Change how to open a document in a library with one click