Receiving Read Only Attachments
A reader asks: "Every attachment I receive is marked "read-only" by default in Outlook. Is there a way to remove the default of read-only that is attached to all incoming email? I do not want to have to open every email before saving it. I have poked around but can't seem to find the necessary setting that I can change."
You're not going to find a setting to change this. Anytime you open an attachment from the reading (or preview) pane or by right clicking on a message and choosing View Attachment, it will be read only. If you open the message then double click the attachment, it's not read-only, although changes will be saved to the attachment on the message (if the message remains open) and in Outlook's SecureTemp directory, not in My Documents. You need to use Save as to save attachments to a location you can find them in.
In Outlook 2007 and earlier, when you open an attachment from the reading pane, its read only. When you open the attachment from an open message, the attachment is editable. If you kept the message open while you edited the attachment, changes are saved back to the message. In Outlook 2010, attachments are always read-only, whether you open the attachment from the reading pane or opened message. If you want to save changes, you need to use Save as.
If you're opening the attachments only to save them, you can skip a step by either right clicking on the attachment in the message header or use Outlook's File, Save Attachment menu. Use the File, Save attachment menu if you are saving multiple attachments from an email.
When you need to edit the attachment, open it from the hard drive, not from the message. Saving the attachment doesn't change how Outlook works and opening it from the message does not open the copy you saved.
Sending Read-Only Attachments
A user asks: "When I send out a Word attachment it goes out as a 'read only' file. I do not designate the attachment as 'read only' and I have checked my security and the 'read only' button is not checked. This is driving me bonkers."
Your settings are not controlling the read only state of attachments sent to others, unless you specifically set a file to read only or otherwise locked it down to prevent editing.
The recipient's email program decides if the attachment should be read only. In Outlook opening as read only is "by design" when you open a file directly from the reading pane.
If you open the message then double click on the attachment, it should open normally.
Why the difference? In part so you are forced to save to document to save changes, because changes are more easily lost when you open messages from the preview pane.
Published Apr 20 2006
Published April 20, 2006. Last reviewed on September 26, 2011.