Displaying Word 2003 Files on Computers Without Any Version of Word

Some of your computers may not have any version of Word installed. For example, individuals primarily responsible for data processing may not use Word. Investing in Word or Office software licenses for their workstations would be expensive and unnecessary, and might require hardware upgrades.


Microsoft Works Suite comes with Microsoft Word as its word processor, so even if a user does not have the full Microsoft office, he or she might have Word.

As time passes, you may discover that these people can benefit from access to existing Word documents. For example, your corporate intranet may include manuals or sales guides written in Word. Giving customer-service representatives access to these resources may help them solve customer problems more effectively. For situations such as this, you have these options:

  • Users can open Word 2003 documents in WordPad, the free word processing application that comes with Microsoft Windows. Some of the features of the Word document will not be visible, and you cannot save in Word format from WordPad. (However, you can save in Rich Text Format, which all versions of Word can open.)

  • You can use Word 2003 to publish the data in HTML format, which can be read by anyone using a recent Web browser. (For more information on using HTML in Word 2003, see Chapter 24, "Using Word to Develop Web Content.")

  • You can provide the Microsoft Word Viewer, a freeware application that can be copied and distributed. This small program, available at http://office.microsoft.com/downloads/2000/wd97vwr32.aspx, enables any Windows user to view and print any Word document. It supports many, though not all, Word 2003 features. For example, it supports Print Layout view, Outline view, Web Layout view, Document Map, zooming, headers, footers, footnotes, comments, and hyperlinks?but not toolbars.

You can't edit text in Word Viewer. However, you can copy the text into other applications through the Windows Clipboard.

You can think of Word Viewer as Microsoft's answer to Adobe Acrobat Reader. It has one major advantage compared with Acrobat Reader: Anyone who owns Word can author documents that can be read with Word Viewer.

It also has a major disadvantage, which limits its value as an Internet solution for distributing Word documents: It works only in Windows environments (not Macintosh or Unix).


You can use Word Viewer as a helper application for viewing Word documents downloaded from the Internet. Word Viewer can also make it a little easier to work with customer and vendor organizations that have standardized on a different word processing platform.


Although Word Viewer can coexist with Word on the same computer, it works best on computers on which Word isn't installed. Even though the Word Viewer Setup program is designed to ask whether Word or Word Viewer should be the default for opening Word files, you may sometimes find that the wrong application loads if they are both installed.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word