Office Online Opening documents

Microsoft Office Online has several ways to open documents across its different applications and document managers.

The applications covered in this Web page:

Document managers

The document managers the instructions in this section cover are the home document manager, Word Online, Excel Online, and PowerPoint Online. Home, or Office, contains recent documents created by any Microsoft application. It contains Word documents and OneNote notebooks, for example.

For the other three document managers listed in the above paragraph, they only contain documents that their respective Microsoft applications can create and edit. The PowerPoint Online document manager only contains PowerPoint presentations, for example.

The only difference between the Home manager and the document-specific ones is that each of the document ones has a row of thumbnail images for creating new documents.

To open documents in any of the four managers:

  • Simply double-click the desired document, and it will open in a new tab.
  • The other way is to highlight the desired document. Then click the three dots to the right of the title. In the menu that appears, click Open in Browsers. It will launch the document in a new tab.

Open in Desktop App

The document also can be opened in a Microsoft Office application or equivalent applications, such as LibreOffice. This can only be performed in Web browsers running in Windows and Mac. The item appears in Web browsers running on Linux distros, but nothing happens when it is clicked.

  1. Click the three dots to the right of the title of the desired document in the list. The alternative is to right-click on the desired document. Either way launches the same list.
  2. Click Open in Desktop App item. The first time this is done on a document type, a menu is launched with a list of compatible apps.
    1. Click the desired app.
    2. If it is a subsequent time, a dialog appears confirming that the document is to be opened in the document that you chose the first time. Click the OK button.
  3. Click the


The main document manager is where a user can access all of her documents and folders where documents are stored. Users can sync these folders and documents with their Windows and Mac desktops with the OneDrive app. Linux users can use Insync to accomplish the same thing. This is a third-party application that syncs OneDrive and Google Drive accounts with Linux, Windows, and Mac desktops.

The Web interface of OneDrive gives users three different ways to open a document in in one of the online applications: clicking the document, right-click on it, and the menu at the top of OneDrive.

Click the document

Simply click the document. It will open in a new tab in the office document that can handle it.


Click on the desired document with the right button on the trackpad or mouse. In the menu that appears, click Open in “name of app” This is like simply clicking the document.

It is the top item in the menu.

The document is opened in a new tab in the Web browser.

Top menu

Click the circle in the top, left corner of the thumbnail of the desired document, so it has a check in it. Then click Open in “type of document”. The menu in the top row has most of the same items that are in the right-click menu, but the right-click menu has a few more.


Word Online, Excel Online, and PowerPoint Online have a list of recent documents in the File menu. Each application only lists documents that it can open. Excel Online will only have Excel spreadsheets in its list.

  1. Click the File menu. A panel opens over the document.
  2. Click the Open tab in the list of tabs in the left column of the panel.
  3. Click one of the documents in the list. It will open in a new tab in the browser.