Tips to Fix Cannot Open Attachments in Outlook 2016/2013/2010

Sharing files as attachments on emails has become a norm in the tech world. However, sometimes users may not be able to open the attachments sent to them. The need has therefore arisen for users to learn how to fix the issue of attachments not opening in outlook. Read the post, you are able to know about the causes and specific solutions to the Outlook error "Can't Open Attachments".

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Reasons and Fixes for "Outlook Attachments not Opening" Issue

This section will combine both causes and solutions. In this part, you are able to learn 7 reasons why your attachments cannot be opened in Outlook. What you need to do is to confirm the exact reason and then follow the method to solve it. Let's begin right away!

1 Unrecognized File Format:

The first major reason why you may not be able to open an attachment in outlook is that the file is in a format that your computer cannot recognize. In other words, it could be that your system does not have the software necessary for opening the file format. For instance, if you have not installed an app such as Adobe Photoshop, you cannot open a received .psd image.

What to do:

  • Get the sender to resend the file as an attachment in a format that your computer system can access.

  • Install software that can open such a file format. This second option is advisable in cases where you will be dealing a lot with this particular file format.

2 Bad File Association or Problem with Program

Sometimes you may have the right program for opening a particular file format but still face this error. It implies that the file is not associated with the right program. You can change the program to a program that works for you.

What to do:

  • Save the attachment to your local drive instead of trying to open it directly from the email sent to you.

  • Open "Explorer" or "My Computer".

  • Right-click on the file that has been sent to you as an attachment, then choose "Properties".

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  • Hover on "Opens with". Here, choose "Change" to see different programs from which you can choose. Click on the program you wish to use for opening your file and tap "Apply" or "OK".

  • Can't find your preferred program? Do not worry, just tap the "Browse" option, locate the .exe (executable) file of the program on your PC and choose "OK" to make the program your default attachment opening program.

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  • If you want to use this particular program to open all your attachments going forward, tick the box beside the option "Always use this app to open" and select "OK".

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3 Antivirus Programs Preventing

Some antivirus programs you have installed on your system may be the reason you cannot open your attachments in Outlook. How does this work? Antivirus programs work to secure your system from all incoming data to your PC. Attachments are part of such incoming data and so in the course of doing their work, the antivirus programs may stop you from having access to your attachments. Simply disable your antivirus in this instance to check for sure if they are the reason why you can't open the attachments or not.

What to do:

  • Go to the "Windows notification area" and locate the antivirus you wish to disable. The programs usually appear as icons.

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  • Right-click the program's icon and choose "Disable", "Shutdown", or "Stop", depending on the program settings.

  • Alternatively, open the program if necessary and use its menu to disable.

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4 Compressed File

Files are usually compressed into formats that make it easier for transfers, especially if the files are very bulky or large in numbers.

What to do:

  • First, save the compressed files from your email.

  • Use any file extractor that will work on the particular zipped folder to decompress the files before you open them. There are several decompressors available online such as Winzip, Winrar, 7Zip, etc. Make a choice and follow the app instructions to decompress your ZIP or RAR files.

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5 The sender has an Apple Computer and You have a PC:

This is self-explanatory as the attachments created in a different OS from yours will cause a problem. Thus, if the person sending the attachment to you uses an Apple device and you use Windows, you may encounter difficulty opening such an attachment. The solution to this is simple:

  • Inform whoever is sending you a mail attachment that your OS is Windows hence they should save their attachment in a format that is compatible with Windows before sending it to you.

6 Corrupted File

If you receive an already corrupted mail as an attachment, you cannot open it because of the damage. Files become inaccessible if they have been infected with one virus or another and have thus become corrupted. Therefore, you have to do some checks so you can end up with an uncorrupted file.

What to do:

  • Ask the sender to confirm that the file is opening on their system.

  • If it is not accessible, then the problem is from the source location. Thus, the sender should create another file that isn't corrupted before resending.

7 Outlook Add-ins

Outlook add-ins form much junk and end up preventing outlook from performing properly. You may discover that the add-ins that form part of your outlook are the reason you cannot open attachments.

What to do:

  • Launch Outlook.

  • Follow this path: "File" > "Options" > "Add-ins".

  • Select "COM Add-ins" under the tab "Manage".

  • Just beside "Manage", you will see the "GO" button, select it.

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  • Untick the boxes beside the add-ins and click "Ok" once you have disabled them all.

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  • Close and re-open Microsoft Outlook to see if the attachments can now be opened.

More Solutions to Fix Cannot Open Attachments in Outlook 2016/2013/2010

If you still cannot open your attachments even after the solutions above, you have to resort to the ultimate solution, which is the use of a third-party repair software for corrupt .pst file. Wondershare Repairit for Email is the tool you need for the job. This software is capable of fixing virtually all issues associated with Outlook, so you have to give it a try.

  • Repair damaged PST & OST Files in Outlook in all Email corruption scenarios, such as hard disk crashes & bad sectors, virus attacks & tojan horse, outlook corruption & malfunctions, improper shutdown procedure, etc.

  • Restore Outlook Emails deleted for a long time and extract the Email messages, folders, calendars, etc. within seconds.

  • Repair corrupted Emails and restore deleted Emails with a very high success rate.

  • Repair Emails in bathes without size limits and support to preview all of them before saving.

  • Compatible with Windows 7/8/8.1/10/11, Windows Server 2012/2016/2019, and MacOS X 10.11~ MacOS 12 (Monterey).

Now that you have decided to download the app, launch it, and use the steps below to repair your corrupted outlook files:

Step 1 Add Corrupt File

The first window you will see on the Repairit interface is the "Select PST/OST File for Repair" window. Under it, click "Find" or "Browse" to add the corrupt file from Outlook.

add corrupt pst file

Step 2 Repair File

Start repairing the .pst files you have added by choosing the "Repair" button at the bottom of the window shown above. Wait for the files to be scanned and the errors to be fixed.

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Step 3 Preview and Save File

The next step is to view all the files that have been scanned and repaired. This tool's interface is quite easy to navigate and understand. You will see your files displayed on the left pane, the contents in the middle pane while the right pane will display the details of each .pst file

preview repaired pst file

Once you have viewed that all your files are intact, just follow this short path: "Home" > "Save Repaired File"

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The Bottom Line

Because of the importance of Outlook in the sending and receiving of emails, you cannot stop using it altogether. This is why you need the solutions provided above to fix the issue of "cannot open attachments in Outlook". For the ultimate PST repair tool, choose Repairit Outlook Repair