How do I get Word documents on the web to show up in Word, rather than my browser?
This actually applies to many document types including Adobe
Acrobat, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. The common
default behavior for those documents on the web is to open up
within your browser. For casual surfing that may be enough but
if you’re like me you’re more comfortable with those documents within
their native applications. The good news is that for most document
types it’s a quick and easy fix.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
These instructions assume Windows XP but other versions of Windows
are very similar if not identical in most steps.
- Fire up windows explorer (I like using WindowsKey-E as a quick
shortcut or right-click on “My Computer” and select “Explore”).
- Select the Tools menu
- Click on Folder Options
- Click on the File Types tab.
- In the list of Registered File Types scroll down to the
file extension that corresponds to the application you want to change.
For example “.doc” for Word documents.
- Click on the Advanced button.
- Deselect the checkbox Browse in Same Window.
- Press OK and repeat for any other document types you
Occasionally you will encounter document types for which the Browse
in Same Window option is grayed. In this case you should check the
application associated with that document type for an equivalent
option. Adobe Acrobat is one example on my system. If you fire up Adobe
Acrobat or Acrobat Reader it has its own option Display PDF in
Browser that you can turn off.