How to open Office files with Microsoft Teams

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Teams makes it simple to share files and collaborate. If you are working with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Visio files, your coworkers may read, edit, and collaborate on them directly from Teams. The different ways to open a document in Teams.

Files Access

Within Microsoft Teams, each Channel has a Files folder where you can share files for that channel. Select the Files Tab above the discussion window to get there.

It’s important to use the Files Tab from the top of the Channel Conversation window. The files button on the left side of the Microsoft Teams app will give you access to all your Teams cloud files, rather than the Channel’s files.

Many ways to open a document

Teams has several ways to open an Office document, depending on your Teams access (Free or full) and software installed on your computer. If you prefer to work in the Office desktop software, click on the Open in Desktop App at the top of the document in Teams.

An Open pull-down list shows all the file open options available.

Edit in Teams – opens a limited editor within the Teams app.

Open in app – means the Office desktop software

Open in browser – opens the Office on the web page in your default browser.  Use this option so the document is open in a separate window from the Teams app.

It’s also possible to make Teams files appear as synchronized files and folders on your computer. See Secrets to syncing Teams files with your computer

Make a document into a Tab

For a commonly used doc or something you want to be easily accessed, any document can become a tab.

The document appears on the menu bar for that channel as an editable document.

The Secret sauce behind Teams file management

The ‘secret sauce’ to Teams and file access is that it’s Microsoft SharePoint in disguise.  SharePoint has been around for many years for document storage and management. Teams makes use of those established technologies, presented in a new way.

Don’t believe us?  The Teams toolbar for Files has a ‘Open in Sharepoint’ option, usually hiding waaay off on the right side.


That opens a SharePoint web page showing the same Teams documents.

It’s because of SharePoint that you can sync entire document collections to your computer. See Secrets to syncing Teams files with your computer

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