How to View a Word Document on an iPhone

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As of iOS 8, the iPhone doesn't come with any apps that can open Microsoft Word documents, but Microsoft has an official, free Word app in the App Store. If you have an Office 365 account, the app offers more features, but you don't need a subscription to view and make basic changes to a document.

Tip

  • The official Word app is your best choice for maintaining compatibility with Word's formatting and features, but it's not the only option in the App Store for reading DOC and DOCX files. Popular free choices include Documents Free, Google Docs and Documents.
  • Apple also sells its own word processing app in the App Store, Pages, for $9.99.

Read Documents in the Word App

Step 1: Get the App

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Search for, install and open the Microsoft Word app in the App Store.

Step 2: Sign In

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Tap Sign In and log in with a Microsoft account. To use the app's premium features, such as adding section breaks and columns, you need an account with an Office 365 subscription. Even without a 365 subscription, however, signing in to a Microsoft account provides access to OneDrive and Dropbox storage. To use the app without any account, tap Sign In Later instead.

Step 3: Pick a Location

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Select the Open tab to pick the location of your file. If you're signed in to a Microsoft account, you'll see your OneDrive folder. The iPhone option lists the Word files saved to your phone. To add another cloud location like Dropbox, tap Add a Place.

Tip

To connect to an iCloud Drive account, tap More instead.

Step 4: Add a Place

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Pick a cloud service or SharePoint location to add to the app, if you need. After signing in with the chosen service, return to the Open tab and pick the location containing your file.

Step 5: Load a File

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Choose any file bearing the Word icon to load it.

Tip

Tap the share icon by a file to email it, delete it or view its properties. Local files also have an option to Move to Cloud within the share menu.

Step 6: View the File

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Read the Word document and tap the text to open it for editing. When you're finished, tap the back arrow. When you close a file after editing it, Word asks whether you want to save your changes.

Send Files to the App

Cloud storage isn't the only option for getting files into the Word app. After installing the app, connect your iPhone to iTunes on your computer to sync Word documents from your hard drive.

Image Credit: Image courtesy of Apple

Open your iPhone's page in iTunes to the Apps tab and select Word in the File Sharing section. Click Add File to browse for a file on your computer. No need to click Sync; as soon as you add the file, it's ready to load in the Word app. Go to the Open tab, tap iPhone and select the file.

Tip

To copy a new or modified document from your phone back to your computer, select it in the File Sharing section in iTunes and click Save To.

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