Microsoft Word Viewer
The Microsoft Word viewer, a free download from Microsoft, allows you to open, read and print Word files, but not to edit or save them with different content. You can copy the contents to a different program. This version is called the Word Viewer 2003, and can read Word 2003 documents, as well as all previous versions of Word. The download is 11.7 MB. After December 31, 2009, Microsoft will no longer be offering this download.
Operating systems supported for the viewer are Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. It will read MS Office Word 2003, MS Word 2002, MS Word 2000, and MS Word 97.
It can read documents in the following formats: .doc, .rtf, .txt, .htm, .html, .mht, wpd, .wps and .xml files. Download the file and save it to your hard drive. Navigate to where you stored the program and click on wdviewer.exe. A wizard will open to help you install the viewer. After the viewer is installed, you can open Word files by right clicking on the file, and clicking open.
The Word 2003 viewer can be uninstalled through the add/remove programs option in the Control Panel.
Microsoft does have a replacement Word viewer, which lets you read Word 2007 document formats, if you install both the new Word viewer and the Microsoft Office Compatability Pack for Word, Excel and Powerpoint 2007. The Word Viewer needs 24.5 MB of space. The compatibility pack download is 27.5 MB, and is supported on Windows 2000 Server Service Pack 4, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Vista, and Windows XP Service Pack 2. Once you have installed both applications, you will be able to view Word documents in the .docx and .docm file formats. This download applies to all of the previously listed Word programs except for MS Word 97, and allows you to read, open, print and copy Word 2007 files. However, you will not see features that do not exist in Word 2003, or layouts with properties that do not exist in Word 2003. Microsoft has not listed a time when the replacement Word reader will no longer be available.