View, open, and save attachments

Attachments are files or items (item: An item is the basic element that holds information in Outlook (similar to a file in other programs). Items include e-mail messages, appointments, contacts, tasks, journal entries, notes, posted items, and documents.) that can be included with an e-mail message. This article explains how to preview, open, or save attachments that you receive. Attachment Preview, a new feature in the 2007 Microsoft Office system, allows you to preview some attachment file types without opening them. For information about sending attachments in an e-mail message, see Attach a file or other item to an e-mail message.

 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


View an attachment without opening it (preview)

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. 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). Also, Attachment Preview is only available when you are looking at received messages and not when you are composing new messages.

To preview .pdf file attachments, see Preview PDF attachments.

ShowTell me more about attachment previewers

Attachment previewers that come with the 2007 Office release 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.

Turn on or off attachment previewers

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,

To learn more about attachment previewers, see Find attachment previewers.


Preview an attachment in:



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 (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.), 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 the PowerPoint slide to view the next slide in the presentation

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.

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Open an attachment

You can open an attachment from 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.), from a message in a message list such as your Inbox, or from within an open message.

 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

Open an attachment from:



Open an attachment from the Reading Pane

  1. In the message list, select the message that has the attachment.
  2. In the Reading Pane, double-click the attachment.

 Note   If you are given the choice between opening and saving the attachment, keep in mind that it is a good idea to save the file first and then scan it by using an antivirus program before you open it.

Open an attachment from the message list

  1. In the message list, right-click the message that has the attachment.
  2. On the shortcut menu, click View Attachments, and then click the name of the attachment.

Open an attachment from an open message

  1. Open the message that has the attachment.
  2. Double-click the attachment.

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Save an attachment

After opening and viewing an attachment, you may choose to save it to your hard disk drive. If a message has more than one attachment, you can save multiple attachments as a group or one at a time.

Save a single attachment from a message

  1. In the open or previewed message, right-click the attachment that you want to save.
  2. On the shortcut menu, click Save As.
  3. Choose a folder location, and then click Save.

Save multiple attachments in a message

Do one of the following:

  • Save all attachments from an open message    
    1. In the open message, on the Message tab, in the Actions group, click Other Actions, and then click Save Attachments.
    2. Click OK, choose a folder location, and then click OK again.
  • Save all attachments from the message list    
  1. In the message list, select the message that has the attachment.
  2. On the File menu, point to Save Attachments, and then click All Attachments.
  3. Click OK, choose a folder location, and then click OK again.

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Where do attachments appear in a message?

Messages that have attachments are identified by a paper clip icon Attachment icon  in the message list. Depending on the format of the message that you receive, attachments will appear in two different places in the 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 Rich Text Format (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

The format in which a message is composed is indicated in the title bar at the top of the message.

Message

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Applies to:
Outlook 2007