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Do you edit and save attachment back to an email message?

Do you like the ability edit and save attachments back to an email message?

  • Yes, I love it and use it.

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • No, its a nuisance. I lost edited documents because of it.

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • I had no idea Outlook could do this.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
Outlook has a nifty feature (or design flaw, depending on who you talk to): you can open an attachment and edit it, then save it and the changes save to the original email message.

You had to work in this order:

Open message

Open attachment

Edit attachment

Save and close attachment

Save and close message

This sounds simple but its easy to mess up: If you closed the message first, the changes to the attachment didn't save back to the message. Then, if you closed the attachment without saving it to your documents folder, all of your edits could be lost (or hard ot find in the secturetemp folder). If you saved and closed the attachment first then closed the message but didn't save changes, the attachment wasn't updated.

Because there were so many ways this could go wrong, administrators generally hate this feature.
I voted "yes," but for the executive I work for. He (unfortunately) uses this feature all the time and we've lost several documents in the process, as they were being saved to the temp directory when an error occurred, forcing us to shut down Outlook.

He's still on OL 2003 and I both dread and look forward to OL 2010 forcing him to use "Save As" when editing attachments...
Were you able to recover the documents from the securetemp folder? It's usually possible, expecially in the older versions. Outlook 2007 and 2010 do a better job of cleaning up temp files and the files are more likely to be lost.
My employer uses Lotus Notes and yes, I do. We are striving toward paperless (ha!) and are saving supporting documents for accounting entries electronically. Sometimes I will edit Excel attachments to improve the layout for printing and save them back to the email. I like the capability.
I love this feature, and am not looking forward to 2015 (or so) when my employer finally gets on OL2010. (We just upgraded to OL2003 at work!)

I regularly get spreadsheets from people, and often, those spreadsheets are not set to print properly "out of the box". Either the print area has been set to be too large, or they hardcoded the scaling percentages rather than setting the number of pages, or they had the active worksheet set to a blank sheet -- all of these prevent me from printing the file directly from Outlook, so I'll update the spreadsheet and save it back to the message for archiving.

Adding the "Save As" and delete/reattach steps needlessly adds extra time to this process.
I actually never dare to do - tricky system as many stories have proven.

I think a much better option would be a functionality (button) in office that allows the user to send the amended file as an attachment in a reply email to the original sender.... Means: you open the office attachement, make your changes, click on the "send changed document back to sender" button, which opens a reply email with the changed file attached.

I actually never dare to do - tricky system as many stories have proven.

I think a much better option would be a functionality (button) in office that allows the user to send the amended file as an attachment in a reply email to the original sender....
I believe something like this is under consideration.
Why not allow the user to edit and save an attachment, but give a warning? When they save, tell them that that the file they are saving is still an attachment to an e-mail message, and offer the choice to continue, or to navigate and save elsewhere.


I work in technical support for a large university, where several administrators prefer to edit attachments and save their edits in the original e-mail messages. I have seen other people become confused when they immediately began editing an attachment and saved, forgetting to use "Save as" instead. Therefore, they did not realize the edited attachment was still in e-mail and needed help getting back to it. I can see why people would want to keep the edited files in the e-mail message, though they do risk a problem if Outlook crashes. After all, that risk is present anyway, if Word crashes.


I have coded a module which replaces this functionality. I work in an environment where a hellstorm was unleashed when we upgraded and users were unable to do this anymore. We primarily work with Word/Excel documents, so these are the only attachments supported by my module. It is attached. If you find this useful, send me a couple of bucks through paypal @ krazycure@gmail.com

Outlook 2010 removes the ability to directly open an attachment, edit it, save it, then forward the

original e-mail with the edited document for 'security reasons'. It forces you to use Save-as, save the edited document somewhere, then create a new email and attach the new document.

AttachmentEditFix.bas is a drop-in module which restores this functionality,

though not *quite* as seamlessly. To install:

To setup Excel 2010:

Record a Dummy macro (start/stop immediately) to Personal Macro Workbook (View Ribbon, then select

from dropdown box). Then hit alt+F11 to open VBA editor. Right Click PERSONAL.XLSB, select Import

file, import AttachmentEditFix.bas. Then goto Tools - references - and select Microsoft Outlook 14.0

Object Library. Hit save, then close VBA editor. In the main ribbon on Excel, right click and choose

"Customize Quick Access Bar". Under 'Choose commands from', select Macros, then add

PERSONAL.XLSB.SaveExcelAttach to the quick access toolbar. You may modify the icon to something more

appropriate than the default macro icon. Hit ok, and now Excel is setup.

To setup Word 2010:

Same procedure as Excel, only differences are save the dummy macro to Normal.dotm, and add

Normal.AttachmentEditfix.SaveWordAttach to the quick access toolbar. Word is now setup.

To setup Outlook 2010:

Hit alt+f11, right click project 1, import AttachmentEditfix.bas. Tools- references, add Microsoft

Excel 14.0 Object Library and Microsoft Word 14 Object library. Hit save, close VBA editor. Right

click Outlook's Ribbon, customize Quick access toolbar, add Project1.OpenWordAttach and

Project1.OpenExcelAttach to the toolbar.

Once these three applications are set this way, that procedure never has to be done again. In order

to use this module, the user selects the email /w an attachment they want to modify in the main

outlook window, then clicks the corresponding quick access button for either OpenWordAttach or Open

ExcelAttach. After they are done editing the document/spreadsheet, they will click the new

SaveExcelAttach or SaveWordAttach button in the quick access toolbars in the respective applications.

Be aware that in excel's case, the spreadsheet will not save if the user has left a cell in 'edit' mode (has double clicked into a cell but not single clicked out).

The document is then saved and re-attached to the original email, which can then be forwarded.

(Module was too large to attach, see it here at http://pastebin.ca/1951482)
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
Images opened in Windows Photo Viewer:

Anyone who receives an email with images attached will be unable to rotate the image in an image viewer. A work around: in Photo viewer, click on File, Properties, General tab then clear the Read only check. Repeat for each image.

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
From the DUH! department: put the message into Edit mode and you can edit attachments too. I'm not sure which is worse: that no one tried that yet or that MS didn't block it too.
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 32 bit
Email Account
Exchange Server
I am not sure how to answer the question - but I use the feature of saving changes to attached files all the time. I receive documents constantly - and I mark them up. I need to keep those mark ups and store them in the email - no need to save them to a network location.

This is a terrible change to outlook and is greatly effecting me. At the very least - we should be able to set how we want the software to work... for Microsoft to make a decision that they know best is not a wise choice.


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