Viewing Office file formats without Office installed



OK, so you’ve received a Powerpoint presentation that you NEED to view, but can’t So the first reaction is to run out and buy Microsoft Office right? Well, no that doesn’t have to be the first choice. There are in fact a few options.

For starters, under both Windows and Linux you could install OpenOffice.org Openoffice is a freely available and share-able open source office suite. It comes complete with Word Processor, spreadsheet, and Presentation functions as well as database functionality and other tools. I’ve found Impress (the presentation component to do a fairly good job reading Powerpoint presentations (and saving to that format as well for compatibility with MS Office users.

There are other options though. One good one is the freely available Powerpoint viewer from Microsoft, yes they make viewers for ALL their office file formats freely available. It’s in many ways to their advantage to encourage greater saturation and acceptance of the file format. There is an older version of the Powerpoint viewer available that will run on Windows 95 (the earlier link requires Win98 Second Edition and more recent.) Now, it’s possible to install these viewers under linux using a project called wine. Wine is a Windows compatibility layer that allows Windows application to run in the Linux environment. A more polished and easier to use implementation is Crossover Office It gives a nice front end for installing windows applications, a list of supported applications and, well support for their product. In fact, Codeweavers, the company behind Crossover Office is the major funder of the Wine Project. (They employ most of the Wine programmers.)

The links above to the Microsoft viewer may change at some point. The safest bet would be to search at www.microsoft.com/downloads/

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