View Almost Any Document In Your Browser


Docs Online ViewerDocs Online Viewer is a browser extension that opens and views almost any file in your browser without downloading it or opening a third party program and works in Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.

If you've ever run into a file or document that you didn't have the right program installed on your device to open or just wanted to view a document without having to download it, this browser add-on will open most documents right inside your browser.

Docs Online Viewer inserts a small clickable icon (like this Docs Online Viewer app icon) next to each supported file link in all web pages that contains a supported file format. Click on the icon and the file will open in your browser as if it is just another web page. The icon doesn't show up on files that are downloadable.
(Note: not all documents opened properly in my testing. I ran into a few errors such as "Word Online ran into a problem opening this document" and "Whoops there was problem previewing this document").

The add-on has a few configurable options you can change like opening the file in a new tab (default) or same page, turning the extension off, and the ability to choose what file types you want it to open.

Get it here:

Firefox: Docs Online Viewer – Add-ons for Firefox

Chrome: Docs Online Viewer - Chrome Web Store

Opera: Docs Online Viewer extension - Opera add-ons

(It also installed and ran fine on Waterfox and Vivaldi.)

Docs Online Viewer uses third party online tools like Google docs API (or other services when available) to open links with extension PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, PPT, RTF, ODT, ODS, ODP, CSV and many more file formats online in the browser itself without need for any third party software installed on your computer.

Supported File Formats:

You can find more Tech Treats here.


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I think it's absurd that this many document formats exist and although browser addons can be useful, they affect your browser effectiveness so you have to restrict yourself to just the most essential ones.

LOL define essential. :)
I do so much of my work in a browser that my list of "essential" Firefox add-ons is 17.
Less in other browsers because they don't have equivalent extensions with the same functionality.
There are some add-ons I don't use in Firefox because they interfere with performance, and have consistently done so over a period of years.

Hi, Rhiannon,

You said that "There are some add-ons I don't use in Firefox because they interfere with performance, and have consistently done so over a period of years." For those of us who find the function of Firefox to be degenerating and problematic at times, it would be great if you could provide the names of the FF add-ons on your "blacklist," as such a list might help us to troubleshoot our own FF issues. Perhaps an idea for another post? ;-)


The other thing I do that keeps Firefox zippy is a clean install when there's a version upgrade. :)

That's what I do too :D.

Wow! I certainly understand the value of a fresh installation, but given Firefox's breakneck pace of updates, you must be reinstalling FF about once every week or so! Do you likewise reinstall all your add-ons? If so, I probably wouldn't get all of my add-ons reinstalled before the next FF update came along and I'd have to start all over again. :)

I only do a clean install when there's a significant or security update.
I usually copy my profile over to a new installation. :)

Two I've had consistent issues with over the years that are still in the Firefox add-on site are Ghostery and WOT. Most people don't have any issues with either of them so I'm not sure how useful a list would be because much depends on what add-ons you have installed and browser configuration. I normally make changes to the Firefox "about:config" settings too. They are both good add-ons and both work fine in in Chrome based browsers for me.

I relied on Firefox for over a decade because of the excellent versatility that it's add-ons provided. Had to abandon that browser about 2 years ago because many started to hang on my system (Windows 7). If your running 17 without issues I assume you have a more recent OS. I currently limit myself to 4 on Chrome.

I can see why you would need to switch browsers. Compatibility with older OS versions often isn't a priority.

I'm running Windows 8.1 on the desktop and Windows 10 on the laptop.

Hi, Rhiannon,

Thanks for the tip. It might be handy in an emergency if I'm using a VPN (e.g., in Opera), but if the extension is using Google Docs to open documents, I'm afraid I'll have to pass. Google has demonstrated an insatiable appetite for gathering every conceivable scrap of information from those who use any of its services and I value my privacy way too much. It's hard to avoid using absolutely everything Google, given the tentacles it has spread into the online world, but I'm sure as heck not going to surrender any info to Google knowingly if I have any alternative, and in the case of opening these documents, I do.

That issue aside, many thanks for all your hard work and the many finds you share on this site. I really appreciate everything that you and the other Gizmo contributors do to make this site so excellent.

I understand what you mean about privacy and the lack thereof with Google, Facebook and others.

The add-on doesn't use Google Docs itself, or Zoho services itself, or other third party services, rather, it leverages the API's for those services to make files viewable in a browser window (Zoho viewer API, Google viewer API etc.).
API's (application program interface) are software to software interfaces, not a UI's (user interfaces).

From what I understand, files are opened independently of the Google Docs UI (User Interface) itself - that is, nothing is opened using Google Docs or any of Zoho's services. 
You need a Google account to use Google Docs and an account with Zoho to view files in their services.
The file viewer opens embedded files whether you have an account or not in any browser I've tried it on.

I don't know enough about coding or API's to say definitively one way another whether those API's can track what document or file embedded in a web page is being viewed or the content of that document or file.
Maybe someone else here knows?





Howdy, rhiannon:

For clarification... is this extension cable of reading HDD resident files... or only ONLINE?

THX. ~ Alan

It reads supported file formats on web pages using third party tools to view the files. Not, as far as I can tell, any files on a HDD. 

Thank you. I wanted 100% certainty that reading HDD located files is *not* an option. ~ AB

Not to my knowledge. It uses online tools like Google Docs and Zoho viewer to view files embedded in web pages. It's been around a few years that I know of and has been written up at various reputable tech sites. I would think if there was an issue it would surface in several places, in particular the reviews on the browser add-on/extension download page.

Just installed it on all 3 browsers. A Thunderbird version would be nice.

I'm glad you like it. I'm not sure how it would integrate into an email client.

But where's the ever-elusive ePub?

I'm guessing that since Docs Online uses third party online tools to open files and documents that there isn't a tool or API available for that format.
You might try EPUBReader - it's available for Chrome and Firefox.

Thank you. Will test over the next week.

You're quite welcome. :)

Thanks rhiannon.
I'am going to try it!

You're welcome. :)