How do files open from the web from SharePoint?

As a SharePoint support professional, I often run into the statement, I don't like how certain documents open from the web with Internet Explorer, specifically in regards to SharePoint. The Product Group has done some work to make sure Office documents open in the client applications themselves. This is done via some magic inside of the ows.js file, which contains the method, SharePoint.OpenDocument. By doing things this way, we avoid the need to set specific settings on the client. If you're not opening an Office document, you may not like how a specific document type opens. One of the more common ones is text files. IE will open these inside of IE for reading purposes. Some folks would like these to open directly from Notepad. So, how do you do this. Well, the settings as to how to do this reside on the client machines themselves, so you'll have to make the change on the client. The following link shows a great walkthrough as to how to do this on a Windows XP machine.

 This works great, provided you're using XP. So you may ask, I don't see those options for my Vista machine. As far as I can tell, we have removed this functionality from Vista. (Someone please step in here if I'm wrong) If you want to do this, you'll need to make a registry modification. As always, if you're working with the registry, BE CAREFUL AND TAKE BACKUPS! Doing a little research has shown that the following tool should allow you to make these changes in Vista. I've never used this tool, so try it at your own risk.

Here are a few more related links that will provide a bit of an explanation as to how the process works. Pay attention to the fact that these documents are not SharePoint specific. ( I couldn't find any Office 2007 version documentation)

- How to configure Internet Explorer to open Office documents in the appropriate Office program instead of in Internet Explorer
- How documents are opened from a Web site in Office 2003
- Additional Reference Link with detailed registry modifications


Comments (1)

  1. Daniel Schuller says:

    Hi There – thanks for the article and info, however, I'm running IE6 w/SP XP3 and using Sharepoint… cant seem to launch txt files from IE into notepad.  I am able to check it out, but there is no way to edit the document.  You used to be able to simply double click after check out or select edit from the drop down, but now for some reason it is not working – it just launches in IE.  Any advise?  NOTE I already tried modifying the TXT file type, etc. and no avail.

Skip to main content