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It appears the only way to open files in Salesforce1 is via "Salesforce Files" - previously called, "Chatter Files" which is tightly coupled to Chatter. When creating Chatter files, it seems to piggy back off of Content (ContentVersion) functionality and creates a "preview" link for the file - which is then accessible in Salesforce1. Even if we link to ContentVersion files we've created outside of Chatter, we've not found a way to open them in Salesforce1.

Without Chatter enabled, is there any way to open files on the Salesforce1 platform?

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In the Spring `16 release notes there is a section called: Files Without Chatter

Now you can use Salesforce Files whether Chatter is on or off! You don’t use Chatter, but you want to take advantage of the awesome features of Salesforce Files? No problem! Your files are welcome here. This feature is available in both Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic.

It's worth reading further into the release notes to see what is available when chatter is off.

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We've confirmed with Salesforce support, we need to enable Chatter in-order to open files or attachments in Salesforce1. Currently, there is no option for separating Salesforce Files and Chatter.

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