Basic document viewer

View Word, text, and HTML files with this barebones program.

Are there really people out there who do not have any kind of word-processing capabilities at all? No Microsoft Word, OpenOffice Writer, or Google Docs? The existence of Word Reader presupposes that such people exist, that there is a demand for a program that lets users view Word, HTML, and text files and not do much of anything else with them. If you are one of these people, we suppose that Word Reader works well enough, although by its very nature it doesn't have many features.

When Word Reader is first launched it asks users which file extensions they wish to associate with the program; it can handle DOC, DOCX, HTML, TXT, and RTF files. The program then functions just like any other file reader, letting users scroll, zoom, and search the document. There are three viewing modes, page view, read, and full-screen. We tried the program with a variety of different documents, and while it worked fine with text-based files, it couldn't seem to handle the formatting in an HTML file. The program has no Help file; there's a link to an online support page, but there's nothing there except a brief FAQ about the publisher's products in general. Overall, we found that Word Reader worked as it was supposed to, but it's not particularly useful, and we have trouble imagining why anyone would choose it over other programs with more features.

Word Reader installs a desktop icon without asking and leaves a folder behind upon removal. We recommend this program with reservations.

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