How to Open Word Documents Without Word

By Christina Shaffer

Many Microsoft Word documents have a DOC or DOCX file extension. Depending on the file you want to view, you can download and install free software that will allow you to open, edit and print your MS Word documents. To open a DOC file, download Microsoft's Word Viewer application; to view a DOCX file, install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack in addition to Word Viewer. The Compatibility Pack also allows you to view additional Microsoft files, such as PowerPoint and Excel files.

Install Word Viewer

Step 1

Visit the Microsoft Download Center website, which allows you to download a variety of Microsoft products (see Resources).

Step 2

Type "Word Viewer" in the search box. Microsoft Word Viewer appears near the top of your search results.

Step 3

Click the "Word Viewer" link, then click the blue "Download" button.

Step 4

Click "Save" to save the file to your computer. When the downloading process is complete, double-click on executable file called "wordview_en_-us." Depending on your computer settings, the file may be saved on your desktop or your Downloads folder.

Step 5

Click "Run" to begin the installation process.

Step 6

Read and accept the Microsoft Software License Terms, then click the "Continue" button.

Step 7

Click the "Install" button to install Word Viewer on your computer.

Install Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack

Step 1

Download and install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint File Formats on the Microsoft Download Center Web page (see Resources).

Step 2

Click "Save" to save the file to your computer.

Step 3

Double-click on the executable setup file called "FileFormatConverters."

Step 4

Check the box next to "Click here to accept the Microsoft Software License Terms," then click "Continue." Windows installs the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack on your PC.

Step 5

Click "OK" when the installation process is complete.

Viewing Word Documents

Step 1

Go to "Start," click "All Programs" and open Microsoft Office Word Viewer. The "Open" dialog box opens on the screen.

Step 2

Locate the MS Word document you want to open.

Step 3

Select the file and click "Open." The document opens in Word Viewer.