Opening Outlook attachments in Windows 8

Last reviewed on September 19, 2013   —  4 comments

I've had quite a few questions recently with attachment problems on Windows 8. The users either couldn't figure out how to close attachments or wanted to stop the attachment from opening in full screen. This is the result of opening the attachment in a Windows 8 app, not a desktop application. The solution: change the default program for that file type.

How do I open an Outlook attachment and with one keystroke close the attachment and return to Outlook? When I press Alt & Tab, it closes the attachment and I return to outlook, but the attachment is still open but hidden on the left side of the screen.

You're opening the attachments in the Windows 8 apps, not a desktop application, and need to use Alt+F4 to close the app, not Alt+Tab.

Change the default application for an attachment

To change the application that opens the attachment, click on the notification message in the right corner of the screen that tells you other programs can open the file.

Other programs are available to open this file

Select a desktop application from the list.

Select a different default application

If the notification message doesn't come up, save the attachment to My Documents, then right click on it and choose Choose default program... then select a desktop application. Future attachments of that type will open in the desktop application you selected.

Choose Default program

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

4 responses to “Opening Outlook attachments in Windows 8”

  1. Sonny S. Sulit

    connect in my company

  2. Louise.

    I have been sent an email on many occasions which have attachments: word excel, jpegs, .pdfs etc. when it arrives in my Inbox there is no attachment to open. The sender has even come over and found nothing attached yet others cc'd on this same email do receive the attachment ???

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