Open and modify attached files directly instead of downloading them

Currently, when you attach one file and open it on Anytype Desktop, it will open in browser. If it’s an audio file or PDF, my browser can read it, but if it’s a different file, the browser will download it, resulting in a duplicate file.

I would like to open attachments like I open them from the file explorer. For example, if I open an attached PDF in Evernote, it will open with Adobe Reader (that is, the default PDF reader). Also, it allows to modify and save documents (eg Microsoft Word) without downloading them.

P.S. This feature can be implemented in Android version too.


@bzimor This may be two separate issues.

The first is that Anytype currently does create a copy of any uploaded file in its own proprietary database format. This format is inaccessible to any other application. So I think problem #1 is that Anytype does not support file references for local files. If it did the system would not need to “download” the file (in other words “translate into a format other applications can read”). It would instead simply send the URI/path of the file to the associated application to open it directly. But this would not solve the issue of the browser being called to open every file.

That leads to the second issue, which would be that Anytype does not currently respect the file type associations of its host application. It should do so wherever possible, and this may vary from platform to platform and one person’s setup to the next, of course.

Ideally it will also have some native file viewing capability, but that’s a separate feature request. :grin:


@Oshyan But then again, some of us will embed documents on the desktop to Anytype and we will want to delete the file afterwards. If there will be a reference support, it should not be the only way to embed a file. Though, for music libraries, for example, file referencing is a must-have.


@BGray No, of course references will not be the only way. After all we already have non-reference file attachments, so that should not be taken away. :wink:

However I would suggest to the team that they not only implement file references (which I’m pretty sure is planned), but make references the default above a certain file size, and have a warning or info box if people choose to override and attach files above that size.

I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure it is non-ideal to be bloating the size of the Anytype storage system with a bunch of big music and video files, as some have said they plan to do (e.g. using it as a video collection manager). Using just References this would work fine, and is probably what most people contemplating this want to do anyway, rather than store their media files in a proprietary, encrypted format.


+1 here.

I think it would be a huge productivity plus if I saved a .docx-file in a database and would be able to open it right away in Word, save it and the changes are automatically synced via the database. Is that how files in databases will work?


In the nearest future, we won’t provide 2-way sync with the file system, so files will be copied in Anytype and the OS in such a case. But we want to implement the ability to open files at least to see it!



Could you please elaborate on the technical difficulties of opening, for example, a Word-file with Word from within Anytype, edit it in Word and save the changes back to Anytype? When I open a file in Anytype, it’s being loaded from localhost (so it’s the local file from within Anytype).


You actually download it from the IPFS – our distributed file system to your PC’s file system that Word can use.

And when you save the file, Word will show you the folder name or suggest Cloud.

I googled more about Office integrations and indeed seems we can integrate — launch Word from Anytype, pass the file, and store a new version in IPFS when it will be saved.

Refs here:

Another way to solve such a problem:

  • Make two-way sync with IPFS <> NTFS/APFS/…. Complex solution that will work for any file
  • Launch some library that can work with DOC/DOCX to read and write data (like OpenOffice). But probably it will work awfull
  • Write a plugin for Word that can store data into Anytype. Has less flawless flow than in your integration

If more people vote for this, we will prioritize it higher


you can kind of open linked files by inserting a file:// link inside a bookmark. sometimes worked



Great. Thanks for explaining again how IPFS works within Anytype. I think using proper APIs would be the best idea. There should be one for iOS as well, as I can open Office-Docs from Nextcloud on my iPad and changes are automatically synced back to Nextcloud.

On desktop however, are APIs really necessary? The way I see it, it would just take Anytype to hand the files over to the respective apps. Office and other apps should then pick up the saving destination within Anytype. Mail on iOS for example opens file attachment in the apps that are defined by the OS and saves changes to their original destination (here: the mail folder system).


Describe the bug

When a file object is clicked it’s downloaded even if it’s already on the device.

To Reproduce

Steps to reproduce the behavior:

    1. Go to a page with a file object in it
    1. Click on the file object

Expected behavior

A clear and concise description of what you expected to happen.

Clicking on it should download the file only if it’s not already on the device. If it has been previously downloaded, it should be opened.

Desktop (please complete the following information):

  • OS: Android 10
  • Version: 0.1.9

@reuseman Thank you for your notice! We haven’t implemented this yet, but plan to do that in the future


This is essentially the same as:


Needing to download a duplicate copy of a file when I want to edit it was the main reason I never switched over to Notion.

I use OneNote right now for all sorts of things (employee onboarding, company documents) because anyone can open a document, make an edit, and everything is saved and completed within OneNote (other than the opening and editing with the file’s appropriate application).

If AnyType offers this function, I’ll be a happy person.



It’s a dealbreaker for me too. And I think it would be another big advantage over Notion. I plan on putting my whole work life as a teacher into Anytype and for that I need to be able to open files directly, edit them in their respective application and save them back into Anytype. It would be a dream come true.

I have noticed that opening the files works now. However, when I open a .docx-file, make changes and save them, close the file and open it again from Anytype, changes are not saved. Could you elaborate on that please, @Kirill_Lem ?


Upvoted for the same feature to be available in android. Also it would be great to have background play support in the android app for the same feature as well :grinning:


Here is an answer:


We have File System integration in our roadmap (no ETA for now), so there will be more features based on that



Thanks very much. I thought that this had been implemented by the September 16 update “Open attached files in Anytype”.

Should I create a bug-report that saving is not possible, yet?


In my opinion a bug report is not needed here, because its not a feature, that has a problem, more a feature that isn’t implemented yet.