How to open a document

By default, documents open in the browser. You can change your preferred way to open documents, for each file type that supports opening in the browser and in a desktop app. Depending on type, documents are opened using different web or desktop applications.

Using default/preferred method

To open a document using default or preferred method simply click anywhere on the document’s name.

How to choose your preferred method

To choose how to open a document, select the document and click on the “Open in” action from the toolbar. If the action is not available, it means that only one method is available for the selected document.

A dialog will be shown with two buttons, “Open in browser” and “Open in app”, and a check box to save your preference.

If you mark “Always apply this action when opening a xyz file” before clicking one of the buttons, your choice will be saved as preferred way to open files with the “xyz” extension.

You can keep your preferred method unchanged by leaving the checkbox unselected.

The preferences are saved separately for each device and browser profile you use to access MetaShare, allowing you to have different preferences on your laptop as opposed to your mobile device.

Apps used to open documents

  1. Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and OneNote) open:
    • In the browser, in a new tab and read-only mode, using Office Web Apps.
    • In an app, using the desktop Office application that is associated with the file type, in read-only mode:
      • Word (docx, dotx, docm, dotm, doc, dot, odt)
      • Excel (xlsx, xlsb, xlsm, xls, csv, ods)
      • PowerPoint (pptx, ppsx, potx, ppsm, potm, pptm, ppt, pps, pot, odp)
      • Visio (vsdx, vsdm, vsd, vdw)
  2. Other file types open:
    • In the browser, if supported for previewing, in a new tab using the File Viewer in Microsoft 365. If the document’s file type is not supported for previewing in SharePoint, the file will be downloaded instead.
    • In an app, when using OneDrive’s “Open in app” feature. This method is only available for SharePoint Online.

“Open in app” using OneDrive

To open non-office documents in desktop apps, MetaShare uses the “Open in app” OneDrive feature. This means, that the file is first opened in OneDrive, which saves it in a local temporary folder, opens with default application (or asks which application to use) and synchronizes any changes done by the user back to SharePoint. This may lead to some confusion, for example when “Open in app” is selected for a pdf file, you may see following question:

After that, another question is displayed:

And only then the file will be opened in your default application for pdf files.

If you do not have any default app set to open the file type of your document, you will be able to choose how to open the file.

If you make changes to a file and click on save, many apps, including Adobe Acrobat, instead of saving the file in its current location, it will ask you where to save the file, for example:

For the changes to be correctly synchronized back to your MetaShare workspace, you have to overwrite the file in temporary folder under OneDriveCloudTemp (the folder on the top of the list).


  1. If you get annoying prompts when opening your documents:
    Open document prompt, without a preference setting
    Depending on which browser you are using, here you find information on how to remove them:
    1. Microsoft Edge does not save preferences when opening documents
    2. Google Chrome does not save preferences when opening documents
  2. If you get this annoying warning when opening your documents:
    Some files can contain viruses
    Then look at this page for information about recommended browser settings for MetaShare.
  3. If you are using MetaShare Server, you will just be able to open limited amounts of file-types, in the file viewer, as SharePoint server (on-prem) does not support previewing files in the file viewer.