How to use the first page as the icon for Microsoft Office documents - gHacks Tech News

How to use the first page as the icon for Microsoft Office documents

Microsoft Office documents that you save on your computer or device use the same generic icon by default. The only distinguishing factors are the filename and the location of the document because of that, the latter only if save Office documents to different folders.

Core Microsoft Office applications support a handy feature to add another distinguishing factor to the documents that you save: to change the generic icon to a thumbnail preview of the first page.

The feature does not require the installation of third-party applications or special file handlers as it is a feature of Microsoft Office 2016 and older versions.

word document preview no preview file icon

The feature is not enabled by default and you have the option to enable it for individual Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents only, or globally so that all Office documents are saved with a thumbnail that depicts the first page of the document.

Save preview images for individual Microsoft Office documents

word save thumbnail file icon

The feature works in all supported versions of Microsoft Office including Office 2013, 2016 and 2019 except for Office 365. Microsoft calls the feature "thumbnail" and not preview image or Word file icon; this makes it a bit difficult to understand when you encounter the option.

Do the following to save individual Word, Excel, or PowerPoing documents with thumbnails:

  1. Open the Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document that you want to add a thumbnail to.
  2. Select File > Save As or use the keyboard shortcut F12 to save the document.
  3. Select a save location.
  4. In the Save As dialog, check "Save Thumbnail" at the bottom to make the first page the file icon on the system.
  5. Click Save to complete the process.

The saved document, regardless of whether it is a new document or one that you have created in the past, shows up with the preview image as its file icon on the system after the operation.

Save all Microsoft Office files with the thumbnail image

save thumbnails all office documents

If you like the thumbnail feature of Microsoft Word, you may want to configure Word to always save the thumbnail image so that you don't have to make sure that the box is checked whenever you save a file.

This should work in Office 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 but not in Office 365.

Here is how that is done:

  1. Open any Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document on the system or create a blank one.
  2. Select File > Info.
  3. Click on the small arrow icon next to Properties and select Advanced Properties.
  4. In the Window that opens, check the "Save Thumbnails for all [..] Documents".
  5. Click ok.
  6. Repeat the process for the other document formats as the dialog makes the change for the Office application that you have used to make it only.

All Office documents that you save from that point on are saved with the preview image.

Now You: do you make use of the thumbnail feature in Office?

Summary
How to use the first page as the icon for Microsoft Office documents
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How to use the first page as the icon for Microsoft Office documents
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Core Microsoft Office applications support a handy feature to add another distinguishing factor to the documents that you save: to change the generic icon to a thumbnail preview of the first page.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Jeff said on August 12, 2019 at 11:20 am
    Reply

    And it is pointless because the icon is too tiny. I would rather see the icon. It’s not like you can figure out from the icon the document’s contents. 😆

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 12, 2019 at 2:18 pm
      Reply

      It depends on the first page I’d say but you are right, text is not readable.

  2. razumovich said on August 12, 2019 at 3:09 pm
    Reply

    “The feature works in all supported versions of Microsoft Office including Office 2013 and 2016 *except for Office 2019* or Office 365”

    I have Office 2019 and the ‘Save Thumbnail’ feature is there. The option is present.
    **
    Thank you Martin for everything I am learning from you! :)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 12, 2019 at 3:12 pm
      Reply

      Hi, thank you, that is great. Can you check if the feature to enable it completely is also available in Office 2019?

      1. razumovich said on August 12, 2019 at 3:52 pm
        Reply

        yes, I’ve just checked (for Word, Excel, PowerPoint). The feature exists.
        I also checked if it actually works. It does.
        In PowerPoint the option is called ‘Save Preview Picture’ and is enabled by default:
        https://justpaste.it/6o0zt

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on August 12, 2019 at 4:32 pm
        Reply

        Thanks so much, I have updated the guide to reflect that!

  3. Kriss said on August 12, 2019 at 4:21 pm
    Reply

    And in LibreOffice? Oh, no, don’t tell us you are focusing more on Office than LibreOffice… ;)

    For those interested, this is activated by default and is accessible in Menu File > Properties (of the document) > General tab > checkbox ‘save preview image with the document’

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 12, 2019 at 4:35 pm
      Reply

      Thank you!

  4. razumovich said on August 12, 2019 at 4:44 pm
    Reply

    I doubled my 1st reply with an earlier version. Sorry.
    pls delete the next two (i.e. incl this one), if you’d notice them.
    …and have a great summer evening!:)

  5. Martin2108 said on August 13, 2019 at 8:10 am
    Reply

    It works for me also in Office365 (Home, actual version 1907, Build 11901.20176).
    Thanks for the info, I now use it with all my documents

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