Fix the Outlook Preview Not Working Issue with Proven Solutions

Published by John on Last Updated On :

Outlook Preview Not Working

Outlook is a highly efficient email client with an intuitive interface. Its preview feature lets users view the email content without actually opening it. For the preview to work, you need the preview application on your system. But sometimes, you may find Outlook preview not working. An error message displays and you cannot view attached files, irrespective of their format.

But don’t worry. This article will give you quick solutions to fix this problem.

Troubleshoot Outlook Preview Not Working

There are numerous ways to tackle this issue. Follow these fixes in the order given here.

Check if the previewer application is compatible.

You first need to examine if your system has the needed application installed in it. Otherwise, the file cannot be opened. Users often don’t have the right application like Excel and PD reader, so they cannot preview their emails. Similarly, if you generally get spreadsheets as attachments, you need the Excel application.

  1. Firstly, download the MS Outlook attachment.
  2. Now, navigate to the downloaded path.
  3. Right-tap on Outlook and click ‘Open with.’
  4. Now, you will be asked to pick an application to open the file.
  5. Tap ‘More apps‘ if there are no required applications.
  6. Select a suitable application.
  7. If you cannot find an application compatible with the attachment file type through these steps, you must install it.

Also Read: Outlook Notifications Not Working

Enable the feature to show the preview

You can get a glimpse of your mail attachments on Outlook through Microsoft previewers. But if you haven’t allowed the feature to show previews in them, you will complain about Outlook not showing email preview. Use these pointers to turn on the previews.

  1. In Outlook, hit ‘File.’
  2. Now, click on ‘Options.’
  3. Choose ‘Trust Center.’
  4. Tap on ‘Trust Center Settings…
  5. Click ‘Attachment Handling‘ and remove the check from ‘Turn off attachment preview.’
  6. Click ‘Attachment and document previewers…
  7. Place a tick on all the previewers shown.
  8. Click the ‘OK‘ button on every tab.
  9. Restart Outlook and check if the preview feature is working.

Enable the security service

Users often report seeing ‘Sorry, this attachment cannot be previewed‘ message when the Windows Defender firewall service is off. Here’s how to check if this is the cause and enable the firewall.

  1. Open the ‘Run‘ dialog box, and input ‘services.msc.’
  2. After hitting ‘OK,’ you’ll come to the ‘Services’ app.
  3. Here, find the ‘Windows Defender Firewall’ option.
  4. Right-tap it, and from the dropdown, choose properties.
  5. Ensure that the ‘Startup Type‘ status is ‘Automatic.’
  6. Tap ‘OK‘ after setting it to automatic.
  7. Continue further by right-tapping ‘Windows Defender Firewall.’
  8. Finally, choose ‘Start.’

Also Read: Outlook Calendar Not Showing Appointments

Change the Value Data of Windows Registry

Problems in Windows Registry can result in the Outlook attachment preview not working. The fix for it is to modify the Value Data.

  • Open the ‘Run‘ box, and input ‘regedit.’
  • Go to ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > PreviewHandlers.’
  • Hit Ctrl + F keys to get the string value.
  • Here are the different Value Data for the following value name:
  1. {84F66100-FF7C-4fb4-B0C0-02CD7FB668FE} – For Microsoft Word Previewer
  2. {00020827-0000-0000-C000-000000000046} – For Microsoft Excel Previewer
  3. {65235197-874B-4A07-BDC5-E65EA825B718} – For Microsoft PowerPoint Previewer
  4. {21E17C2F-AD3A-4b89-841F-09CFE02D16B7} – For Microsoft Visio
  • Finally, restart your system and inspect if the issue is still there.

Download the latest Office updates

Do you still find Outlook attachment preview not working? You can try updating MS Office and see if it lets you get rid of the glitch.

  1. In Outlook, click ‘File.’
  2. Now, tap ‘Office account‘ and choose ‘Update Options.’
  3. Select ‘Update now.’

Change the user interface for compatibility.

You can also try optimizing the previewing application’s user interface to fix this problem. Use these points to modify the interface.

  1. Firstly, open a previewer such as MS Excel or Word.
  2. Next, navigate to ‘File.’
  3. Click’ Options.’
  4. Choose ‘Optimize for compatibility‘ in the ‘General’ tab.
  5. Now, click ‘OK.’
  6. Relaunch the previewer application.
  7. Check if you can preview documents.

Also Read: Outlook Not working on Mac

Disable protected view

Turning off the protected view can also resolve the issue of the Outlook preview pane not showing message. But it also stops device security. If there are any suspicious files, your system may be vulnerable to harm. So, it’s recommended that you do this only when you want to preview the content urgently. Don’t keep the protected view turned off.

  1. Launch Previewer and tap’ File.’
  2. Head to ‘Options.’
  3. After that, choose ‘Trust Center.’
  4. Tap’ Trust Center Settings…
  5. Tap’ Protected View.’
  6. Now, remove the check from the three options.
  7. Tap ‘OK‘ on the tabs.
  8. Lastly, start the previewer again.

Change the Outlook view.

Resetting the view can also fix this problem. Head to Outlook and follow these pointers.

  1. In Outlook, click the ‘View‘ option.
  2. Below ‘Current View,’ tap the ‘Reset View’ option.
  3. Now, tap ‘Reading panel‘ below ‘Layout.’
  4. To enable the reading panel, tap ‘Bottom‘ or ‘Right.’

What to Do to Resolve the No Previewer Installed Error Message

Outlook users also complain of seeing the following error message:

This file cannot be previewed because there’s no previewer installed for it.’

The solution to it is different as per MSI-based and click-to-run installations. You must first know the kind of installation your Outlook belongs to. Do it by tapping ‘File‘ and choosing ‘Office account.’ Then browse for ‘Office Updates.’ Your Outlook will have click-to-run installation if you can see the ‘Office Updates’ option.

On the other hand, Outlook will have MSI installation if you cannot view the ‘Office Updates’ option. Now, use the fix as per your installation type.

Fix for click-to-run installation

You can resolve the error by ensuring that your Office click-to-run installation is of the latest version. To do that, tap ‘File‘ in Outlook and choose ‘Office account.’ Then tap ‘Update Options’ followed by ‘Update now.’

Also Read: Outlook Send/Receive Error

Fix for MSI installation

The solution to this issue is to install the latest update for Office. If it doesn’t work, you must change the registry settings. Here are the pointers to do it.

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Find the needed registry key matching the specific Outlook and Windows versions.
  3. The registry key for MSI installation with 32-bit Outlook and 64-bit Windows is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\PreviewHandlers
  4. Find the {00020827/0000/0000/C000/000000000046} value.
  5. Now, find its ‘Type.’
  6. If it is not REG_SZ, right-tap on 00020827/0000/0000/C000/000000000046} value.
  7. Choose ‘Delete‘ and confirm it.
  8. Tap ‘Edit‘ and click ‘New.’
  9. Choose ‘String Value.’
  10. Input 00020827/0000/0000/C000/000000000046} and hit Enter.
  11. If the value in the ‘Type‘ does not exit, go to the value data.
  12. Now, input the application’s name to which the application corresponds and click it.
  13. Lastly, exit the registry.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is Outlook not showing a preview?

You can find the Outlook attachment preview not working due to multiple causes. They include:

  • You haven’t enabled attachment preview.
  • Issues with the View tab’s setting.
  • You haven’t enabled the Windows Defender firewall.
  • You have received a file with an old extension type.
  • Your system does not have the right application to preview the email.
  • Your Office does not have the latest updates.

2. Why my PDF preview isn’t working?

Your PDF preview may not work because you haven’t installed a free PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat Reader. Check whether you have such a PDF reader installed. If not, install it. After installing, restart the Outlook application and see if your problem has been resolved.

3. What should I do to preview image files in MS Outlook?

Users often encounter ‘Sorry, this attachment cannot be previewed‘ when previewing image files. Do these things to preview such files.

  • Update Microsoft Office.
  • Turn on the Windows Firewall service.
  • Update your Windows operating system.

Preview Email Attachments Easily in Outlook

The Outlook preview not working issue majorly arises when you’ve recently updated the application. Those who have Adobe Acrobat Reader as their default PDF reader also face this problem. But now you can get a glimpse of the file contents and decide whether you need to open it or not. If you need more clarification, seek the aid of email technical support experts.

Written By


John is a Technical Writer at Email Support, has 10 years of experience, and is an expert in Email and Cloud Computing. His specialty is writing about the Email clients such as Outlook, Yahoo, Verizon, SBCGlobal, Gmail, Apple Mail, AOL, WildBlue, and others.

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Categories: Outlook


John is a Technical Writer at Email Support, has 10 years of experience, and is an expert in Email and Cloud Computing. His specialty is writing about the Email clients such as Outlook, Yahoo, Verizon, SBCGlobal, Gmail, Apple Mail, AOL, WildBlue, and others.

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