Microsoft Publishes Documentation on Outlook Web Link Switching to the Edge Browser by Default
Microsoft this week published documentation confirming its plans to divert Web links in Outlook to the Microsoft Edge browser by default.
This coming change for organizations using Microsoft 365 services will find end users clicking on Web links in the Outlook for Windows app and then landing in the Edge browser by default, while the e-mail containing that link will also open in the browser's Sidebar. This change for organizations previously was communicated via a couple of Message Center posts, rather than a public announcement. Message Center posts typically just get seen by the IT pros that administer the Microsoft 365 subscription.
Originally, the switching of Web links to the Edge browser was just going to apply to Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscribers, per this February Microsoft announcement. However, at some point, Microsoft decided to include its business subscribers as well.
If organizations want to let end users have this Web link action happen in the browser that the end users had chosen as their default browser, then IT pros will have to make a configuration change to allow it. Otherwise, end user will have to figure out how to make that change on their own.
Microsoft's document described the policy where IT pros might make such a change as "Choose Which Browser Opens Web Links." IT pros can specify "System default browser" (which refers to "the browser setting specified on the user's Windows device") or they can select a specific browser.
If IT pros don't configure this "Choose Which Browser Opens Web Links" policy, then end users will get Microsoft's default choice, namely the Edge browser.
"If you want Outlook to open web links using the system default browser, you need to enable this policy and select System default browser," the document explained.
IT pros can use the Microsoft 365 Apps Admin Center to configure the policy, or they can use Administrative Templates for Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 for Business subscribers are out of luck. They won't be able to make such a policy change for the Windows Outlook app, and so end users will have to make such a change manually, the document confirmed in a "Note."
However, Microsoft 365 for Business subscribers will have the ability to set policy when Microsoft rolls out the switch to Microsoft Teams.
Yes, Microsoft also is planning to switch Web links in Microsoft Teams to the Edge browser by default at some point, although the timing wasn't mentioned.
End users were notified about the coming Web links change and how they can manually alter its default behavior in this support article. The article is written with language suggesting that the new behavior will only apply to Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscribers, even though all users, including business subscribers, are getting switched.
The timing for these coming changes for the Outlook for Windows app, as well as Microsoft Teams, wasn't described. When the change does roll out to subscribers, it'll just apply to Windows 10 and Windows 11 users. It won't apply to macOS users.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.