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Attachments not showing in Outlook [Fix]


If your Outlook Attachments are not showing, then this post is going to help you out. ‘Attachments’ is the most widely used feature in MS Outlook. It helps users send or receive important documents over the mail. However, you may occasionally have problems viewing these attachments while composing or receiving emails. Sometimes, the document appears in the message body instead of appearing in the attachment section, while sometimes, the user is not able to open or preview the attached document.

Attachments not showing in Outlook

Fix Attachments not showing in Outlook

There could be many possible reasons that could lead to attachment issues in Outlook. This includes incorrect Outlook settings, file incompatibility, incorrect mail format, etc. Try resetting Outlook and see if it helps. If your attachments are still not showing in Outlook, use the following solutions to fix the issue:

  1. Update Outlook.
  2. Fix blocked attachments in Outlook.
  3. Fix attachments getting lost after forwarding or replying.
  4. Change the mail format in Outlook.
  5. Turn On the Attachment Preview.
  6. Disable your antivirus.
  7. Disable Outlook Add-ins.
  8. Check with the sender.

1] Update Outlook

Update Outlook

If you’re using an obsolete version of Outlook, you may face file compatibility issues. Follow these steps to update Outlook and see if it helps resolve the issue:

  1. Open the Outlook desktop client.
  2. Click on the File menu in the top left corner.
  3. Click on Office Account in the left panel.
  4. Click on Update Options in the right panel.
  5. Click on the Update Now dropdown option. If an update is available, Outlook will automatically download and install it.
  6. Restart Outlook and try attaching the file again.

2] Fix blocked attachments in Outlook

Renaming exe files

Outlook may block the sending and receiving of a few file extensions that it considers unsafe. These include executable application (.app), executable file (.exe), Windows help file (.hlp), Command (.cmd), Batch (.bat), and some other file types.

If you’re sending such a file, upload it to your OneDrive account and send the recipient a link to the file. Or compress the file using a file compression utility and see if that works. The compressed file will have a different extension that Outlook won’t consider a threat. You can also try renaming the file to a different extension (e.g. from abc.exe to abc.docx).

If you’ve received a file that is blocked but you trust the sender, you can edit the registry in Windows to unblock the file type.

If you’re using a Microsoft Exchange account, you can request your email server administrator to adjust the security settings in your mailbox to accept such files.

3] Attachments getting lost after forwarding or replying

Enable Attach original message in Outlook

If your attachments go missing after forwarding or replying to emails, it is possible that your Outlook is configured to include original message text only. To fix this, change the Replies and forwards mail settings as explained below:

  1. Open the Outlook app.
  2. Click on the File menu in the top left corner.
  3. Click on Options.
  4. In the Outlook Options window, click on the Mail option in the left panel.
  5. Scroll down to the Replies and forwards section.
  6. Under When replying to a message, select Attach original message.
  7. Under When forwarding a message, select Attach original message.
  8. Click on the OK button to save changes.
  9. Restart Outlook and see if the issue is fixed.

4] Change the mail format in Outlook

Mail format set to Rich Text in Outlook

This fix will help if your attachments are appearing in the mail body instead of the attachments section in the mail header while sending emails in Outlook. This happens when the mail format is set to Rich Text Format (RTF).

Outlook supports 3 different text message formats: Plain Text, Rich Text Format, and HTML Format. HTML format is the default text message format in Outlook. A message in HTML format is received in the same form in which it is sent to the recipient. Rich Text Format is only supported by Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange clients. When a message is sent from Outlook in RTF format, it is converted to HTML to maintain the formatting at the receiver’s end.

If a document is attached to the email when the text format is set to HTML, it appears in the ‘Attached’ section by default. But if the text format is set to RTF, it appears as an icon within the mail body. To fix this, you need to switch to the HTML format while composing the email.

Switch to the Format Text tab in the Compose email window. Click on the three-dots icon in the extreme right corner. Under Format, select Message Format > HTML.

To fix the issue for all the messages you send, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the File menu.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Select the Mail option in the Outlook Options window.
  4. Under the Compose messages section, select HTML in the Compose messages in this format dropdown.Changing compose mail format in Outlook
  5. Scroll down to the Message format section.
  6. Select Convert to HTML format from the dropdown next to the When sending messages in Rich Text format to Internet recipients option.Convert message format to HTML in Outlook
  7. Click on OK to save changes to Outlook.

5] Turn On the Attachment Preview

Enable attachment preview in Outlook

Attachment Preview enables you to preview attachments in Outlook without opening them in another application. If you’re not able to preview the received documents, you may have to adjust the setting from Outlook Trust Center.

  1. Click on the File menu.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Click on the Trust Center option in the left panel of the Outlook Options window.
  4. Click on the Trust Center Settings button in the right panel.
  5. In the Trust Center window, click on the Attachment Handling option in the left panel.
  6. Make sure the Turn Off Attachment Preview option is unchecked.
  7. Click on the Attachment and Document Previewers button.
  8. Make sure all the checkboxes are ticked under the File Previewing Options. This will ensure that you’ve not disabled any document previewer in Outlook.
  9. Click on OK to save changes to Outlook.

6] Temporarily disable your antivirus

disable Microsoft Defender Antivirus

Apart from that, your antivirus software may also block certain attachments that it considers unsafe. Try temporarily disabling your antivirus software and see if you’re able to open or view attachments. Steps to disable an antivirus will differ for different programs, so refer to your antivirus’s Help section for details.

7] Disable Outlook Add-ins

Disable add-ins in Outlook

Some corrupt or outdated third-party add-ins may also conflict with the documents you send or receive via Outlook. Consider disabling Outlook add-ins you no longer require.

8] Check with the sender

It may be possible that the sender may have forgotten to attach the document while sending the email. If possible, request him to check on his own end or resend the mail.

Also, delete your Outlook cache and see if it helps.

This is how you can fix the attachment issues in Outlook. I hope you find this useful.

Read: How to fix Outlook error 0x800CCC67.

Why are photo attachments not showing in Outlook?

If you’re not able to view photo attachments while composing a mail, make sure you’ve enabled the picture placeholder in Outlook. Go to File > Options > Mail > Editor Options. Click on the Advanced tab and click the checkbox for the Show picture placeholders option. If images are blocked in your received messages, go to File > Options > Trust Center. Click on Trust Center Settings > Automatic Download. Uncheck the Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML e-mail messages or RSS items option.

How do I change the opening settings for attachments in Outlook?

To change the opening settings for attachments in Outlook, you need to change the file association in Windows. Click on the Start button icon in the Window taskbar and select Settings. Go to Apps > Default apps. Enter the file type (e.g. ‘pdf’) in the search bar on top and select the file extension (e.g. ‘.pdf’) from the results that appear. Click on the arrow icon at the extreme right corner of the default app associated with the file type. From the popup window, choose a different app and click on the Set default button.

Read Next: Outlook Drag and Drop attachments not working.

How to fix attachments not showing in Outlook

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