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Attachments in Outlook 2016—ready for collaboration

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Tired of digging around for the file you want to attach when you were just working on it earlier? Tired of later trying to sift through emails to find links shared with you? With the Windows release of Outlook 2016, attachments just got a whole lot better. You can now skip the hassles associated with finding and sharing files, regardless of whether you were working on them on your computer, phone or tablet.

The next time you go to attach a file to your email, the first thing you’ll notice is a list of recently accessed documents under the Recent Items. The Recent Items list is comprised of documents on your local hard drive as well as OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint—making it simple to pick files you have accessed across any of your devices.

Attachments in Outlook 2016 - 1

If you can’t find what you were looking for in the Recent Items list, we make it easy to navigate to your OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint locations by selecting Browse Web Locations. To find other files saved on your PC, choose the Browse this PC option to open File Explorer.

If you select a OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint file to share, Outlook’s new attachment feature shows you what permissions you’re granting to your recipients at a glance. Of course, you also have the ability to change these permissions or even attach a copy instead—all without having to go to where it’s stored.

When you send your email, Outlook does the work of granting everyone the right set of permissions behind the scenes. Additionally, because the OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint links now appear side-by-side with your other attachments, you’ll notice a paperclip associated with them and have the ability to search for them just as you do with attachments today.

This new attachment experience is available today for users of Outlook 2016 on Windows devices, while continuous improvements and new features will be delivered to Office 365 subscribers. The best way to get the latest features with Office is to subscribe to Office 365. If you aren’t already taking advantage of the new experience, give it a try with your next attachment!

—Misbah Uraizee, program manager for the Outlook team

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21 comments
  1. Gary Keramidas

    speaking of attachments, when I receive an email with multiple attachments and I only want to save certain ones, how do I do this in office 2016? I can’t select them like I used to be able to do. I have to drag or save one at a time

    • The ability to select multiple attachments is shipping in an upcoming update for Office365 this year so you should be able to do that as easily as before very soon.

      • I have downgraded by subscription of 2016 back to using 2013. Until such time that this feature of “selecting multiple file attachments” is fixed, I see no added value to upgrade to 2016

  2. Misbah at Chicago ignite I’ve seen your session of Outlook 2016. but I believe this attach file feature is buggy.
    please check this link and let me know if you agree to it.
    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2016-outlook/outlook-2016-disappearing-attach-file-menu/717b604f-3c31-4c4f-990e-50501e0e8b50

    I have more than 3 cases for the same. and one customer says his client has more than a dozen system is having the same issue.

    Do you know about this bug? or it is still unknown to product team.

    • Thanks Aquib – Yes the product team is aware of this issue and in the progress of investigating. Once we have a solution, it will be available in an upcoming update soon.

  3. Yes you can save only the attachments that you want and not all of them. You select an attachment to get the attachment tool bar select save all but before you hit OK hold the Ctrl key to deselect the files you don’t want to save. You can then select the folder that you want to save the files in, and then hit OK. Also if you have SharePoint services you can get to your Business OneDrive folders.

  4. Interesting new feature, thanks.
    it’s good to see that beside to other app or solutions (sharepoint for example) outllook, due to its simplicity, is still considered THE core of everyday work for most people and thus you in Microsoft recognize this and invest time in developing tools and solution to raise the “centrality” of Outlook :-).
    Apart this, a couple of question:

    I read “(…) Outlook’s new attachment feature shows you what permissions you’re granting to your recipients at a glance. Of course, you also have the ability to change these permissions or even attach a copy instead—all without having to go to where it’s stored.”
    Q: i suppose that these permissions (read, read/write) apply only to recipients that have a MS account. Are you planning to extend this to anonymous link (very useful option) ?

    ” (…) Additionally, because the OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint links now appear side-by-side with your other attachments, you’ll notice a paperclip associated with them and have the ability to search for them just as you do with attachments today.”
    Q: Not clear to me, do you intend that the sender and the recipients can search these “virtual” attachments as they were “classic” attachments ?

    Thanks, bye,
    Stefano

    • Thanks Stefano!

      Q1: Regarding permissions, if you are sharing a OneDrive for Business that is correct, permissions will apply only to recipients. We do have plans to support other types of permissions levels including anonymous links in the future however. Currently however, for OneDrive Consumer files, you do have the option to send either an anonymous edit or view link.

      Q2: Yes, that is correct. If you search by “hasattachments: yes” for example, you will now see these cloud based attachments also show up in the search results with a paperclip associated with them 🙂 Similar to the experience you have for regular “classic” attachments today.

      Hope that helps.

  5. Congratz on this amazing feature. Many of our users appreciate it.
    In other hand, we have a continous complaint about attachments in inbox mails: they miss the ability to select all the attachments, then copy and paste them in preferred location using file explorer. Now it has to be done one by one or use the “download all attachments” option that takes much more clicks to get te same task done.
    Hope you find useful this feedback.

    • Thanks Sinuhe – Gary above asked about the same thing. Support for selecting multiple attachments will be available in an upcoming Outlook update very soon!

  6. What happened to RPC over HTTP settings in Outlook? I can’t connect without them . . . BA BYE outlook 2016. Back to outlook 2013

  7. Please add a configuration option to change the default behavior to “Attach as Copy”. Currently the default is to send a link to the document on OneDrive for Business..

    Does Microsoft keep a public list of such requests/enhancements and their implementation status?

  8. In Recent Items list, it keep 12# items, whether we can change the list number ? for example , extand the list to 20# items?

  9. Is there any way to make “Attach as Copy” the default as opposed to the default of attaching a link?

    • Hi Michael, currently this is not available in the product. Tracking it for a potential we build in future updates however. Would love to learn more about whether this is more because of a company policy or related to your workflow of sending copies instead of cloud attachments. Thanks!

      • definitely need this option. How do we get around? Drag from a file folder to the message instead of having it share the OneDrive file? I do NOT want this as my default.

  10. Is there still no workaround for it? My customer just want to add a normal attachment and not a link. This is very confusing for people that receive it, they are pushed to log in with there Microsoft account to be able to open it, not all recipients have or want to have that. There should be an option to switch back if you don’t like the link attachment feature.
    At this moment the only workaround I have is to log Office off from Microsoft account. But when you attach something you get popup with office365 logon screen, you can just ignore that. After that attachment will be downloaded. It is an extra step but it’s better then a link 🙂

    • Hi Anton,
      When you attach a OneDrive document, right behind the document you get a pull down menu icon. There you get the option to ‘attach as copy’. You can see the option in one of the screens above. This wil download the file and attach the traditional way. I agree that this should be a an option to set somewhere.
      Another problem I have with this option, is that the default permissions are set to ‘edit’. I think this is a dangerous default. The default should be ‘view’ access to prevent accidental changes to the document.

      Cyril.

  11. My clients can’t open a one drive link so the attach a link facility is no good to me at all. I wish I could turn it off.

    Also sometimes the attach list includes a local file and a link but sometimes it only shows a link so I then have to search through the file menu in the old fashioned way. I can’t work out why sometimes it shows a local file and sometimes it does not. All my one drive files are saved locally too.

  12. I need to attach files to my Outlook email, not links to Onedrive. I either need to find a work around or stop using Onedrive for Office files. Is there any way to be able to simply attaching files without first downloading to my computer?

Comments are closed.