Quick tip: Open msg files quickly from SharePoint Online

It has been a long time since I published a quick tip, but a request from a client got me in happy mode this morning! The request was that every time they tried to open up a msg (.msg or Outlook email message format) it downloaded the file. Then they needed another click to open it up. And apparantly, lots of people are looking for this functionality ( answers.microsoft.com , this uservoice item )

That is of course 2 clicks where 1 would be surely be enough. It brought back memories of almost 10 years ago with SharePoint on-prem where you had to set browser file-handling from strict to restrictive and play around with mime types.

Now this is an online world, and these settings are beyond our reach. But thanks to technology, we can now simply do this via the browser! In Chrome (or the new Edge Chromium) there is a simple setting that will let us open files when we click them.

The function we are going to use, is that we automatically want to open files from a specific filetype when we download them. So we will still download the file, that behavior is the same (and you probably need to clean up your “downloads folder” every now and again) but it will open up the file too, without you having to do the extra click.

Set it up!

To start, go to a SharePoint document library where you have an email. Click on the item, and it will download the file (just like it always did). Now click on the little menu on the item, and select “Always open files of this type”.

Always open files of this type

That’s it. You are done. It probably took you more time to read through my long intro then it took you to fix the behavior.

From now on, every time you open up a msg file, it will download the file, but also open it up right away! And for people with security concerns (rightly so!), this feature is not available for dangerous file types, like .exe for example.

Reset this behavior

If for any reason this behavior is not really want you want, there is ofcourse a way to reset this. Simply open up the browser settings, go to “advanced” and in the downloads category, you can clear the “Open certain file types automatically after downloading”.

reset behavior

About: Marijn

Marijn Somers (MVP) has over 14 years experience in the SharePoint world, starting out with SP2007. Over the years the focus has grown to Office 365, with a focus on collaboration and document management. He is a business consultant at Balestra and Principal Content Provider for "Mijn 365 Coach" that offers dutch employee video training. His main work tracks are around user adoption, training and coaching and governance. He is also not afraid to dig deeper in the technicalities with PowerShell, adaptive cards or custom formatting in lists and libraries. You can listen to him on the biweekly "Office 365 Distilled" podcast.

2 thoughts on “Quick tip: Open msg files quickly from SharePoint Online”

  1. This is a nice simple tip to get around the annoying default behaviour. Do you know if there is a way to manage this via group policy for all users in a company?

    1. Wow, great question! I have no idea.. (not really a knowledgeable group policy kind of guy here), but let me dig into it!

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