Preview attachments

When you receive an attachment in a message and want to quickly see what the attachment contains without opening it, you can preview the attachment in the Reading Pane (Reading Pane: A window in Outlook where you can preview an item without opening it. To display the item in the Reading Pane, click the item.) or in an open message. Attachment Preview, a new feature in the 2007 Microsoft Office system, allows you to preview some attachment file types without opening them. Messages that have attachments are identified by a paper clip icon Attachment icon in the message list.

 Important   By default, Microsoft Outlook blocks potentially unsafe attachment files (including .bat, .exe, .vbs, and .js files) that can contain viruses. You cannot view or access a blocked attachment file, but a list of blocked attachment files appears in the InfoBar (InfoBar: Banner near the top of an open e-mail message, appointment, contact, or task. Tells you if a message has been replied to or forwarded, along with the online status of a contact who is using Instant Messaging, and so on.) at the top of your message. You should preview or open attachments from trustworthy sources only.

InfoBar

In this article


Preview an attachment

You can preview an attachment in the Reading Pane or from within an open message. The attachment previewers that come with the 2007 Office release are on by default.

 Note   To preview an attached file created in an 2007 Microsoft Office system application, you must have that 2007 Office application installed on your computer. For example to preview a Word attachment, you must have Word installed. To preview an Excel attachment, you must have Excel installed.

Attachment Preview is supported for messages that are formatted as HTML and plain text but not for messages that are formatted as Rich Text Format (RTF). Furthermore, Attachment Preview is only available when you are looking at received messages and not when you are composing new messages.

ShowI'm not sure where to find an attachment in a message

Depending on the format of the message that you receive, attachments will appear in two different places in the message. The format in which a message is composed is indicated in the title bar at the top of the message.

Message

  • If the message format is HTML or plain text, attachments will appear in the attachment box below the Subject line.

Attachments line

  • If the message format is RTF, attachments will appear in the body of the message. Even though the file appears to be embedded in the message, it is actually still a separate attachment.

Attachment in message body


Preview an attachment in an open message

  1. Open the message that has the attachment. Messages that have attachments are identified by a paper clip icon in the message list.
  2. In the open message, click the attachment to preview it.
  3. To return to the message body, click the Message button.

Preview an attachment in the Reading Pane

  1. In the message list, select the message that has the attachment that you want to preview.
  2. In the Reading Pane, click the attachment. If there are multiple attachments, you may need to scroll horizontally to find the attachment that you want.

 Note   A preview might not show the most up-to-date content in the file. To see the most complete, up-to-date content, open the file. For example, you can double-click a .docx attachment to open it in Microsoft Word.

  1. To return to the message body, click the Message button.

Preview attachment

Callout 1 Click to view the message
Callout 2 Click to preview the attachment
Callout 3 Attachment preview
Callout 4 Click to view the next PowerPoint slide

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More about attachment previewers

Attachment previewers that come with the 2007 Microsoft Office system allow you to preview the following files in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007:

  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 items.
  • Microsoft Office Word 2007 documents
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 presentations
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2007 worksheets
  • Microsoft Office Visio 2007 drawings
  • Images and text files

Third-party software vendors may provide their own previewers that support additional attachment file types; you can use your Web browser to search the Web to find additional information.. When available, you can download and install previewers to preview additional file types in Outlook.

 Important   To help protect you from malicious code, active content embedded in attachments (including scripts, macros, and ActiveX controls) is disabled during a preview. You should preview or open attachments from trustworthy sources only.

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Turn attachment previewers on or off

Attachment previewers that come with the 2007 Office release are on by default. If you don't want to use some or any of the attachment previewers, follow these steps to turn them off.

  1. In Outlook, on the Tools menu, click Trust Center, and then click Attachment Handling.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To turn off all attachment previewers, click Turn off Attachment Preview.
    • To turn off a specific attachment previewer, click Attachment and Document Previewers, clear the check box for a previewer you want to turn off, and then click OK.

To turn them on, click to select the Turn off Attachment Preview or specific attachment previewer options.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2007