How Do I Open Microsoft Word Using Gmail?

by Steve Gregory

By default, Gmail automatically displays a thumbnail of a Word attachment at the bottom of an email message. Hovering your cursor over the thumbnail reveals the available options, including an option to download the Word document to your computer. Clicking the thumbnail opens a preview of the Word document in the browser window -- which then provides additional options such as zooming and printing. Furthermore, you can configure your Web browser to automatically open a Word attachment after downloading the file from a Gmail message.

Manually Open a Word Attachment

After you log in to your Gmail dashboard, open the email message that has the Word attachment you want to open. A paperclip icon appears next to Gmail messages that have an attachment. Click the Word thumbnail at the bottom of the message to open the Word document in the browser window. If you want to edit the document without opening the Microsoft Word program, click "Open With" and then select the appropriate connected Web application, such as Google Docs. To save the document in your Google Drive account, click the "Show in Drive" icon to add the document to your My Drive folder. To save the document to your computer, click the "Download" icon.

Automatically Open a Word Attachment

Instead of manually opening Microsoft Word to view a downloaded Word attachment, you can set your browser -- such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox -- to automatically open an attachment after you download the file. Depending on your browser, you may have an option to set your browser to automatically open the attachment during the download process or after the Word file has completely downloaded. For example, with Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, you can set the automatic option after the file has completely downloaded through the Internet Explorer Notification bar and the Google Chrome Downloads bar. Both bars appear at the bottom of each browser's window. For the Firefox browser, however, set the automatic option on the Opening dialog window -- which opens after you click the file’s download icon -- before the file has downloaded to your computer.

About the Author

An avid technology enthusiast, Steve Gregory has been writing professionally since 2002. With more than 10 years of experience as a network administrator, Gregory holds an Information Management certificate from the University of Maryland and is pursuing MCSE certification. His work has appeared in numerous online publications, including Chron and GlobalPost.