Why Is Outlook Not Able To Open Word File Attachment

Outlook Problems

Fixing Outlook problems

Sometimes you might have come across situations where you might have to face problems while downloading or opening attachments from your Outlook email. It would usually be messages that would inform you that the file could not be opened at that time. Have you wondered why this might have happened?

One of the most common issues could be that the format used may be incompatible with the version of Outlook that you have been using. If the attachment was created on a newer version of Microsoft Word like Word 2010 and your Outlook is an old version like Outlook 2003, then your email client might not be able to open such Word file. Hence, in order to be able to open such a file, you need to convert the document to a version that will be supported by MS Outlook. Many Outlook problems could be easily solved if you are able to determine the reason why you have such an issue.

Instructions to open an unsupported Word attachment in Outlook

  • Click the “Start” button and select “All Programs” from the menu.
  • Then locate “Microsoft Office” and check to see which version of Microsoft Office Outlook you have in your computer. It is quite easy to find the Outlook version in your computer. If you have a 2003 version, icon name will be displayed as Microsoft Office Outlook 2003.
  • Instead of trying to open the Word document in Outlook, go to the location where the file was downloaded. Open the Word document using its default program, which is Microsoft Word. Double-click the file to open it.

    Outlook 2003

    Outlook email sending problems

  • As it opens in Microsoft Word application, click on the “Office” button and choose the option “Save As”. You will see an option to change the file version to any previous versions of Word. Select the appropriate version. If your Outlook is 2003 version, choose to save as “Word 97-2003 Document”.
  • Now launch your Outlook and browse to the location where the edited Word document is saved, which is the 97-2003 version document. You should now be able to open the Word document in Microsoft Outlook.

If you still have problems downloading the attachment, it might be due to some other reasons like an internet connection problem or the attachment being a corrupted file. Troubleshoot Outlook problems with the help of Outlook Help menu or try contacting Microsoft Outlook Support team if you need advanced help.