How to Open Microsoft Word Documents Without Word

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If you need to work with files created in Microsoft Office or if you need to create files that are compatible with a Microsoft Office application, there are many free options available.

Microsoft Word is part of Microsoft Office and requires a prior purchase or subscription to Microsoft 365. If you are using a computer on which Word is not installed, there are other ways to view this DOCX or DOC file.

Microsoft once offered a free “Word Viewer” application to view Word documents, but discontinued it in November 2017.

Microsoft Word for the Web

With Microsoft Word for the Web, you can make basic changes to your document by editing and formatting it in a Web browser. For more advanced features, use the “Open in Word” command in Word for the Web. When you save the document in Word, it is saved on the website where you opened it in Word for the Web.

The document you open in Word for the Web is the same as the document you open in the Word desktop application, but some features work differently in the two environments.

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Open with Google Docs

  • Go to in your web browser. Sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have a Gmail address or other type of Google Account, click the ‘Create an account’ link. Once you’ve created your account, sign in.
  • Click the ‘Upload’ button, which has a hard drive-like icon with an arrow pointing up. Select “Files” from the drop-down list to open an explorer dialog box that will help you navigate to the location of the Word document on your computer.
  • Double-click on the file name to download it. In the Download Settings dialog box that appears, check the box next to “Convert documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and drawings to the appropriate Google Docs format”.
  • Click “Start Download”. When the document download is complete, a “Total Download” dialog box will appear on your screen. Click the “x” in the right corner of the dialog to close it. Your document will appear in a list with a “W” symbol next to it to indicate that it is a Word document. Click on the document name or icon and your document will open for editing.

Open Microsoft Word with Zoho Writer

If you are not a fan of using Word Online or Google Docs, but still want an online solution, Zoho Writer is a free online word processor that allows you to import Word documents without having to convert them. The only real advantage of Zoho Writer is that you can only download Word documents up to 10 MB in size. That’s big enough for most documents, but if you have something bigger, you will need another solution.

Zoho Writer supports all new Word file formats, and it does a very good job of keeping the layout of the original Word file. You can also save and export the document in many other formats, such as ODT, RTF, txt, HTML, ePub and PDF.

In addition to the web application, Zoho also offers mobile applications for writers, available for Android and iOS. Both applications also support collaboration and offline editing.

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