SharePoint enables two methods of opening documents: the Web apps (in-browser) and the native apps, on your computer. You can choose which method you want to use. Unfortunately, you have to do it more than once.
I first noticed this when I went to my OneDrive for Business. The documents were downloading first, into Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. I am completely comfortable with the limited feature set of the Web apps (aka Office Online). For productivity purposes, I’d rather see the document in the browser.
This is an easy setting to change. The default should be in the browser but your implementation may be different. When you are in your document library, go to the Library tab on the ribbon and choose Library Settings. Then go to Advanced settings to change how your documents open.
The setting does not apply to your searches, however. I am starting to rely on the search more frequently for finding documents when I’m not sure exactly how to filter my columns for what I’m looking for.
There are two ways to access a document from the search results. You can click on the result link itself. Or you can click on the edit option when you mouse over a result and see a preview.
Let’s take the first option first. If your search results are not opening the way you want – in other words, not the same way you have set up in the Library Settings (above) – you can configure it on your search results page. Scroll down to the bottom of your search results page and, below the breadcrumbs taking you to the next batch of results, click on the link to Preferences.
If you are like me, you have now set your documents to always open in the Web browser. First, in the Library settings. Second, when you run a search and click the results link.
I was surprised (in an irritating way) when I clicked the edit option on a search result to find that it opens in the native, desktop application! This despite having set my preference to open in the browser.
Since you can edit documents in the Web apps, it seems counter-intuitive that this would bypass the Web apps. It may be that there is yet another checkbox that I need to unearth (or a system wide setting that a SharePoint administrator could select) to force everything through the Web apps. The flexibility is nice, if you want it. Otherwise this multiple set of layers for configuring such a basic function seems poorly designed.