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An extremely fast way to read Word documents Web Browsers
You may know that you can use Firefox (or your web browser of choice to browse your Mac's file system. In fact, you can do more than that, with a simple addition to the above tip. This is a solution for times when you need to read, but not edit, Word documents -- and this method is significantly faster than opening Word itself to do the reading. It works by installing a free Word reader plug-in for your browser, and making the appropriate bookmark pointing to your Documents folder:
  1. Download and install the Word Browser Plugin. See the Read Me file for instructions: just double-click to open the DMG file, then drag the plugin to /Library » Internet Plug-Ins (this is the system-level library, not your user's Library). Restart your browser.
  2. Point the browser to file:///Users/your_name/Documents -- note the three slashes. You'll see a list of your files; make a bookmark to this location; call it "Local Files" or something.
Now, pull down your bookmarks menu to Local Files. In Firefox at least, this will bring up a secondary menu of all the sub-folders (and then sub-folders of that, etc.). Note first how much quicker this is than navigating through the Finder. Then find a Word document. Whoosh! It comes up in the browser. Not all formatting is preserved, and you can't edit it, but for simple reading, it's easily 10 times faster than finding the document in the Finder, clicking it, and waiting around for Word to open.

This method is also quick to navigate to and open any other kind of file that the browser can handle. And of course, if you don't have Word, this will let you read .doc files that people send you, and is similarly faster than opening OpenOffice for reading. The intent of the plug-in is to read Word documents on the web, and it works fine for that, too. If you bring one of those up and want to save it or print it, click the icons in the upper left. Also note the enlarge/reduce buttons, and the search button. I've only tested this with Firefox (2.0.0.3), and this method does not work with Safari.

[robg adds: Note that the Word Browser Plugin is PowerPC only, so Intel users won't be able to use this tip unless they want to run their browser in Rosetta mode.]
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An extremely fast way to read Word documents | 13 comments | Create New Account
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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: dmmorse on Apr 13, '07 07:36:18AM

My preferred way of quickly reading a Word document is by opening it up in TextEdit.



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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: nmerriam on Apr 13, '07 08:20:31AM

I was going to say the same thing. TextEdit can open 95% of Word documents with no problems whatsoever.



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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: craigw on Apr 13, '07 08:49:34AM

Yes, I like the tip but was somewhat disappointed that the plugin does not display images. So you're better off using TextEdit, IMHO. The results are pretty much the same. I didn't try it on documents with tables or other such content.



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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: harrie on Apr 13, '07 11:01:25AM

I nevertheless would like to thank the original poster for his hint (as well as Mr dmmorse). I never realized that TextEdit, among others, could open Word documents. In future I'll use "Open with..." to open mail attachments. Indeed, TextEdit appears as the first item in the contextual menu of Apple Mail.

(In fact that contextual menu is quite smart. It also shows Adobe Illustrator, which is also capable of opening Word documents, albeit rather slow. And Pages, of course.)

harrie



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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: ddauerbach on Apr 13, '07 02:28:37PM

PathFinder does this nicely in a Preview pane.



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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: gedalin on Apr 13, '07 11:13:34AM

Pages is rather successful in opening .doc files, including figures, tables, and formulae.



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Tofu
Authored by: grahamperrin on Apr 13, '07 11:19:25PM
I recommend version 2 of Tofu.

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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: qubex on Apr 14, '07 03:10:26AM

Heh. For the Intel folks out there, if it forces you to use Safari under Rosetta it may not be so fast after all. </irony>

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Place me in the company of those who seek Truth, but deliver me from those who believe to have found it.



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Tofu
Authored by: grahamperrin on Apr 13, '07 11:23:57PM
I recommend version 2 of Tofu.

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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: Ezra Balaraj on Apr 14, '07 05:31:16AM

Try Google Desktop. It work for me and it is pretty fast too!

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EB



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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: watts on Apr 14, '07 08:52:06AM
Path Finder will let you see into word docs as well.

www.cocoatech.com

watts

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Brilliant on so many levels!
Authored by: doneitner on Apr 14, '07 08:56:37PM

This is brilliant on so many levels! I just never thought to put a bookmark to a directory as a way to view all my files and sub-directories as a contextual menu. Just tried it here and it works really well. Thank you.



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An extremely fast way to read Word documents
Authored by: ateles on Apr 16, '07 10:00:51AM

Interestingly, when I tried "file:///Users/myname" FIREFOX tells tells me "FILE NOT FOUND". When I do "file:///Users/myname/Documents" it works, but trying to go up a level does not.

I looked at permissions in my home folder and they are drwxr-xr-x and I am the owner..so I don't understand..Any ideas?

Thanks,

J.

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Eco-programmer by heart



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