Albeit I’m a supporter of Windows and have been using it for the past few years, I have a laptop that doesn’t have Microsoft Office on it. And while we have so many solutions like Google Drive, Libre Office, and others, there’s a free tool from Microsoft to help you view .doc files.
Microsoft’s Office products are almost ubiquitous and chances are that the majority of your friends use it. So when you receive a .doc or .docx file that you need to view or, even worse, to edit, you have to resort to third-party solutions, in case you don’t have the full version of Microsoft Word installed.
And then it will take quite a while until you figure out which converting website is worth trying and which not. But there’s a free tool from Microsoft that allows you to view, print and copy Microsoft Word documents, even if you don’t have Word installed.
It is simply called ‘Word Viewer’ (follow this safe link to download it) and it replaces Word Viewer 2003 and all the other previous Word Viewer versions. By using it, you will be able to open Word documents which have been saved in the following formats:
- Word Document (.docx)
- Word Macro-Enabled Document (.docm)
- Rich Text Format (.rtf)
- Text (.txt)
- Web Page formats (.htm, .html, .mht, .mhtml)
- WordPerfect 5.x (.wpd)
- WordPerfect 6.x (.doc, .wpd)
- Works 6.0 (.wps)
- Works 7.0 (.wps)
- XML (.xml)
You need to know that you cannot edit an open document, save a document, or create a new document by using this software. Also, if the document you want to view is stored on OneDrive, you don’t need to download a viewer since OneDrive includes Word Online. If it won’t work after you download and run it, maybe you need to try and install the Compatibility Pack, as well.
Microsoft Office alternatives you should consider
For many users, Office is not the ultimate tool to work with, However, an office suite is useful, especially if you work on a PC on a daily basis. WPS Office 2016 (try the free version) is a great tool that will help you edit different types of documents, including text, tables, and presentations. Another great tool is Apache OpenOffice which lets you edit all these documents but with a smaller range of features. You can find more information about them in our top 5 Office alternatives article.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.