SharePoint files unable to open in desktop app: Troubleshooting walkthrough

SharePoint has a fantastic set of capabilities for sharing and managing documents. You can share a document with both internal and external people inside your company or organisation. You may also organise documents by putting them in folders, editing file metadata directly in SharePoint, and deleting them. You can even sync SharePoint and conduct a parallel session on your PC and your online storage bank. However, some users have complained that SharePoint would not open a file or document in the desktop apps.

In this blog, we will cover a multitude of different reasons why a file or document may not open in the desktop application, as well as solutions to those issues. Follow the step by step process below to see how you can fix SharePoint files not being able to open in the desktop app.

SharePoint files unable to open in desktop app (how to fix):

  1. First sign in to Office 365.
  2. Use the app launcher and navigate to “SharePoint,” and click on it.
  3. In SharePoint go to the Site where your files are located.
  4. In the menu bar click on “Documents.”
  5. Click on the specific folder within your document library.
  6. Choose the file not opening and click on “Download.”
  7. To open the folder where the file is placed, click “Save” and then “Open folder” in your browser.
  8. Click “Open With” after right-clicking the file in the desktop folder.
  9. Select the app that you wish to utilise. If the file hasn’t been assigned yet, a window will appear asking you to do so.
  10. Check the option that says “Always use this app to open.”
  11. Finally, Close the programme and double-click the file to verify whether it launches the right application.
  • Get SharePoint from $6.00 per month with Microsoft 365 Business Basic.

Unregistered paths are common in files, preventing them from being accessed with any local or internet disc, such as SharePoint. While SharePoint will make every effort to open the local disc folder, if the registered software has not been correctly allocated, it will fail. This isn’t always the case with Office-based applications like Word or Excel, but you may apply the procedures above to assign a new portal to open and then retry file sync to check if the file opens.

We’ve also created a video to help guide you through the steps:

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compatible Compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Android.FROM $6.00 user/month

Your SharePoint files are unable to open in the desktop app due to a corrupt patch

It might be a corrupt file or the format is incompatible with any of your programmes if the file previously opened but no longer does. Make an attempt to open a file after it has been saved to check that it was saved successfully. If you’re sharing a file with others, make sure everyone uses the same file format. If you open a spreadsheet as a .xls file, make sure you save it as a .xls file.

Preventing SharePoint file corruption is essential

File corruption is frequent when a file is stored on a USB device that is disconnected while the device is open in Windows. The Windows taskbar’s Safely Remove Hardware indication may assist you to avoid deleting files. If you don’t see the symbol, click the up-arrow in the notification box to show hidden icons.

The amount of new information in the recovered file is governed by how frequently an Office programme saves the recovery file. If the recovery file is only saved every 15 minutes, for example, your recovered file will not include the previous 14 minutes of work completed prior to the power loss or other issue. To be extra cautious, enter a little number in the minute’s box, such as 5 or 10. This way, you’ll never lose more than 5 or 10 minutes of work.

How to prevent SharePoint file corruption:

  • Download a file from SharePoint using the Download option to see if it’s corrupted. Then open it in Word or Excel from the C: drive location where it was stored.
  • If you still can’t access the document, use the Open and Repair recovery option in MS Office programmes to get it open again. To open the window shown below, go to the File tab and click Open.
  • With a single click, choose the corrupted file.
  • To expand the menu directly below, click the little arrow to the right of the Open button.
  • From the drop-down menu, choose Open and Repair.
  • You may also repair a damaged MS Word document by going to this website, selecting the document using the Choose file button, and then clicking the Secure Upload and Repair option.
  • Open this URL in a browser to fix an Excel document. Select the Excel document using the Choose file button, then click the Secure Upload and Repair button.
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SharePoint files are unable to open in your desktop app due to unsupported formats

Newer Office versions provide capabilities that were not available in prior editions. Previous versions can read documents written by newer versions, while newer versions can’t read older versions’ documents. Excel 2016, for example, saves files in.xlsx format, but Excel 2003 can only read.xls files. When sharing files in SharePoint, make sure your users have the latest versions of Microsoft Office. You may utilise the online link to download the most recent version of Microsoft 365 to your desktop if you use it.

Examine your Microsoft Office workplace account if SharePoint files don’t open in your desktop app

Sometimes an inhouse error with your Microsoft program may result in your Office account not being able to be fully be synced correctly. So making sure your Office account is fully up to date is essential for things such as file management and sharing. Follow the guide below to see how you can examine your Office account.

Examine your Microsoft Office workplace account:

  • Open the client programme for Microsoft Word or Excel.
  • At the upper left of the window, click the user account name.
  • Then select “Sign out” from the drop-down menu.
  • If you have more than one account, choose one to sign in with. Sign in with an account that corresponds to the one you use in SharePoint.
  • Alternatively, you may need to select “Add Account” to add a SharePoint account. Press the “Sign in” button after entering your SharePoint account information.

It’s important to note that your SharePoint account should be the same as your Microsoft Office client account. It’s possible that SP won’t open Excel and Word files since you’re using separate accounts for SharePoint and MS Office.

Some customers have reported that after renewing their MS Office subscriptions, they are required to connect their SharePoint Online accounts again. This is where you can access and modify your Microsoft Office account.

These are some of the fixes that may allow you to open Word and Excel files straight from SharePoint’s document libraries once again.

File Uploader – Uploader for SharePoint

Bulk upload files to a SharePoint library or list items!

How to fix SharePoint files unable to open in your desktop app

Step by step breakdown:

Use your account details or if you have a current Skype account with the Office account in question, you can use this.

  • Use the app launcher and navigate to “SharePoint,” and click on it.

You can access the SharePoint application however this is for individuals who only have a SharePoint plan, A larger group of individuals have SharePoint in Office 365.

  • In SharePoint go to the Site where your files are located.

In this example the site above called “Blog Demo” will be used to create the preview.

  • In the menu bar click on “Documents.”

A document library is a safe storage location for files that you and your co-workers can quickly locate, collaborate on, and access from any device at any time. For example, a document library on a SharePoint site can be used to hold all materials relevant to a given project or customer.

  • Click on the specific folder within your document library.

In this case the folder called “Demo folder 1” was used to create the preview.

  • Choose the file not opening and click on “Download.”
  • To open the folder where the file is placed, click “Save” and then “Open folder” in your browser.
  • Click “Open With” after right-clicking the file in the desktop folder.
  • Select the app that you wish to utilise. If the file hasn’t been assigned yet, a window will appear asking you to do so.
  • Check the option that says “Always use this app to open.”
  • Finally, close the programme and double-click the file to verify whether it launches the right application.

You can use the table below to check what the common Windows filetypes are. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of filetypes, and certain filetypes can be opened with various applications.

aac, adt, adtsWindows audio file
accdbMicrosoft Access database file
accdeMicrosoft Access execute-only file
accdrMicrosoft Access runtime database
accdtMicrosoft Access database template
aif, aifc, aiffAudio Interchange File format file
aspxASP.NET Active Server page
aviAudio Video Interleave movie or sound file
batPC batch file
binBinary compressed file
bmpBitmap file
cabWindows Cabinet file
cdaCD Audio Track
csvComma-separated values file
difSpreadsheet data interchange format file
dllDynamic Link Library file
docMicrosoft Word document before Word 2007
docmMicrosoft Word macro-enabled document
docxMicrosoft Word document
dotMicrosoft Word template before Word 2007
dotxMicrosoft Word template
emlEmail file created by Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, and other programs
epsEncapsulated Postscript file
exeExecutable program file
flvFlash-compatible video file
gifGraphical Interchange Format file
htm, htmlHypertext markup language page
iniWindows initialization configuration file
isoISO-9660 disc image
jarJava architecture file
jpg, jpegJoint Photographic Experts Group photo file
m4aMPEG-4 audio file
mdbMicrosoft Access database before Access 2007
mid, midiMusical Instrument Digital Interface file
movApple QuickTime movie file
mp3MPEG layer 3 audio file
mp4MPEG 4 video
mp4MPEG 4 video
mpegMoving Picture Experts Group movie file
mpgMPEG 1 system stream
msiMicrosoft installer file
muiMultilingual User Interface file
pdfPortable Document Format file
pngPortable Network Graphics file
potMicrosoft PowerPoint template before PowerPoint 2007
potmMicrosoft PowerPoint macro-enabled template
potxMicrosoft PowerPoint template
ppamMicrosoft PowerPoint add-in
ppsMicrosoft PowerPoint slideshow before PowerPoint 2007
ppsmMicrosoft PowerPoint macro-enabled slideshow
ppsxMicrosoft PowerPoint slideshow
pptMicrosoft PowerPoint format before PowerPoint 2007
pptmMicrosoft PowerPoint macro-enabled presentation
pptxMicrosoft PowerPoint presentation
psdAdobe Photoshop file
pstOutlook data store
pubMicrosoft Publisher file
rarRoshal Archive compressed file
rtfRich Text Format file
sldmMicrosoft PowerPoint macro-enabled slide
sldxMicrosoft PowerPoint slide
swfShockwave Flash file
sysMicrosoft DOS and Windows system settings and variables file
tif, tiffTagged Image Format file
tmpTemporary data file
txtUnformatted text file
vobVideo object file
vsdMicrosoft Visio drawing before Visio 2013
vsdmMicrosoft Visio macro-enabled drawing
vsdxMicrosoft Visio drawing file
vssMicrosoft Visio stencil before Visio 2013
vssmMicrosoft Visio macro-enabled stencil
vstMicrosoft Visio template before Visio 2013
vstmMicrosoft Visio macro-enabled template
vstxMicrosoft Visio template
wavWave audio file
wbkMicrosoft Word backup document
wksMicrosoft Works file
wmaWindows Media Audio file
wmdWindows Media Download file
wmvWindows Media Video file
wmz, wmsWindows Media skins file
wpd, wp5WordPerfect document
xlaMicrosoft Excel add-in or macro file
xlamMicrosoft Excel add-in after Excel 2007
xllMicrosoft Excel DLL-based add-in
xlmMicrosoft Excel macro before Excel 2007
xlsMicrosoft Excel workbook before Excel 2007
xlsmMicrosoft Excel macro-enabled workbook after Excel 2007
xlsxMicrosoft Excel workbook after Excel 2007
xltMicrosoft Excel template before Excel 2007
xltmMicrosoft Excel macro-enabled template after Excel 2007
xltxMicrosoft Excel template after Excel 2007
xpsXML-based document
zipCompressed file

That’s it for this Blog thank you for taking time out to read our content, please feel free to email our team about how it went if you followed the steps or if you need more help with the questions we answered in this Blog.

Saajid Gangat

Saajid Gangat has been a researcher and content writer at Business Tech Planet since 2021. Saajid is a tech-savvy writer with expertise in web and graphic design and has extensive knowledge of Microsoft 365, Adobe, Shopify, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and more! You can connect with Saajid on Linkedin.

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