One of my biggest gripes about Windows and Office is that when you click on a word, excel, or PowerPoint doc (or acrobat doc) in Internet Explorer, those documents render in the browser pane. This is one of the biggest usability issues I face with Windows. Since you don't get the Application menus and so on it makes it very difficult to work with the document if you wanted to edit it (which is what I usually do). And if you do edit it, you are presented with a horrible dialog when you try and navigate away (and there is no easy way to do a File->Save As). Further I much prefer to view a PowerPoint slide deck in PowerPoint than use that wacky web way of navigating the slides. Finally, if you are a portable user, not having the document open in the respective Office application make it hard to manage offline.

Gus Perez documents how to fix this. But since I frequently “repave” my Windows boxes and use multiple computers I am loathe to do anything manually. So to save you the time here are the necessary registry settings to make IE behave the way that I expect it to. Save the text below into a notepad file and call it OpenOfficeDocsInOffice.reg and then double click that file. Save it in a place you can access and open it on every machine you use.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Word.Document.8]
@="Microsoft Word Document"
"EditFlags"=dword:00010000
"BrowserFlags"=dword:00000008

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Excel.Sheet.8]
@="Microsoft Excel Worksheet"
"EditFlags"=dword:00010000
"BrowserFlags"=dword:00000008

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\PowerPoint.Show.8]
@="Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation"
"EditFlags"=dword:00010000
"BrowserFlags"=dword:00000008

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Visio.Drawing.6]
@="Microsoft Visio Drawing"
"EditFlags"=dword:00010000
"BrowserFlags"=dword:00000008