Microsoft Word Viewer

13 February 2018 | Updated 26 May 2022

I am probably the only person who cares about Microsoft Word Viewer. First released way back in 1995 and based on Word 6.0, it was a good way to open Word documents when you didn't have the full program. It was available for free.

Microsoft Word Viewer 6.0 splash screen (a pair of reading glasses).

(As an aside... I love the design of splash screens from this era.)

My first use of the program was with Word Viewer 97. It was in the very early 2000s, when I only had Microsoft Works 4 and Windows 95, which did not support opening or saving Word 97 files without the appropriate "document converter" plugin. Word Viewer allowed me to open the files and copy them into Works for editing.

When I originally wrote this entry in 2018, Word Viewer was still a supported product (to my surprise). Due to the shared codebase with Microsoft Office 2003, both products were effectively receiving the occasional security update.

This has come to an end, though. The very last update for Word Viewer was released in February 2019's Patch Tuesday bundle (KB4462154), which updated mso.dll to version 11.0.8453, dated 2018-12-14. wordview.exe itself was also updated the month before, to version 11.0.8454, dated 2018-12-22.

Other Viewer Products

There were free viewers for Excel and PowerPoint, too. The first versions of those were based on Office 95, but were updated less frequently. I'm not how the Office team decided when to make new major editions of the viewers, but Office 2003 was the last time they all had the same major version number.

Excel Viewer 2007 received its final update around the same time as Word Viewer. KB4461608 brought xlview.exe to version 12.0.6807.5000, dated 2019-01-18, and KB4092465 takes mso.dll to version 12.0.6807.5000 (dated 2019-01-21).

PowerPoint Viewer 2010 is the odd one out. It also received its final update towards the end of 2018, however Office 2010 products were still getting fixes until April 2021. So unlike the other two, where the viewers updated certain libraries from the "editors" beyond their support date, it didn't happen this time.

Its last update was KB4022138, bringing pptview.exe to version 14.0.7214.5000, dated 2018-09-14.

Also, PowerPoint Viewer 2007 got one new update after six years — KB2597975. This means that the final version of PowerPoint Viewer ever is 12.0.6805.5000, dated 2018-11-13. I'm not sure why PowerPoint Viewer 2010 didn't also receive a fix for CVE-2018-8628, since PowerPoint 2010 did get updated, but never mind.

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