With the recent news of a potentially dangerous vulnerability in Microsoft Word that can also cause issues when an email attachment is simply viewed in the Outlook Reading Pane, it's good to know there are options for eliminating viewing of specific file types.
The problem, in this case, is that Microsoft Word is integrated into Outlook, supplying the file viewing capabilities so that attachments don't even need to be opened in the application associated with it. The current threat that is providing the danger is the RTF file type. Microsoft has provided a temporary fix for the current alert, but really, how often are RTF file types needed these days? It might make sense to just turn off RTF viewing completely.
To do this:
- Go into Options – Trust Center – Trust Center Settings in Microsoft Outlook.
- Once in Trust Center Settings, goto Attachment Handling – Attachment and Document Previewers. NOTE: On this screen, you can also turn off all attachment previews with a single checkbox selection.
- On the File Previewing Options screen, locate Windows RTF previewer, uncheck the selected box, and click OK.
Of course, you can also use this options dialog to manage any file types you believe to be a potential threat to your organizations. Turning off preview for a specific file type, forces the file to open in its associated application.
The location of the file preview settings will differ between versions of Microsoft Outlook.