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Open Office Documents Within Web Browser Control

Posted on 2006-10-23
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I have an application with a Microsoft Web Browser control and I would like it to force all links that are word documents to open in the browser control. The machines that will be running the browser app have Word Viewer on them. When I run the application on a machine that has office 2003, the documents open within the browser. However, when I run the application on the machines that are running word viewer (03), then the word viewer launches to open the document instead of it opening in the browser control.

The machines are running XP SP1.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:jgags
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by:JoseParrot
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Hi,

To open the Word documents as a browser plugin, that is, inside the browser window, we need Word to be installed in the machine. The workstations that have just the Viewer don't have the needed DLLs to open the documents as you plan.

Jose
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by:jgags
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Jose,  
Thanks for your reply.  

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by:jgags
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I had another thought.  How then, are documents able to open in IE if the client machine has word viewer and not word loaded on it?
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by:JoseParrot
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Hi,

We can notice that when a Word document is open inside IE, we can edit it, because it is actually the Word application.  Internet Explorer or any other browser doesn't render a Word document by itself. They need the application to run in one of its container.

As a comparaison to Microsoft Word, take a look at Adobe Acrobat Reader. We must download the application from Adobe's and install it to run both the stand alone application and the PDF viewing within Internet Explorer.

In our case, Microsoft Word Viewer, as well Excel and PowerPoint viewers, provide the applications without macro and editing capabilities, and without a plugin to the browser.

Concluding, the way of open .doc, .xls and .ppt documents with only their respective viewers are to run the viewers as stand alone applications, outside the browser.

What I can suggest to circumvect this issue is your users that create Word documents to export an HTML or XML version as well, so your browser-only users can read the documents entirely in IE environment.

Unfortunately, 99% (I don't know the actual number but is very high for sure) of Word documents could be simple TXT files (or RTF) so companies are forced to buy expensive Microsoft Office to read 1% of its documents. So, another option is to convert all .doc to .html before distribute them to the internal people.

Jose
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by:alkisg
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Did you call OleInitialize? It is needed for COM controls to function within the web browser control...
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by:jgags
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Thanks for the replies, but the solution was a simple windows explorer setting.   Check out this article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/178222
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by:alkisg
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Didn't you say that you could already see the document inside IE?

>> I had another thought.  How then, are documents able to open in IE if the client machine has word viewer and not word loaded on it?
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by:jgags
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Yes.   But by changing the windows explorer settings (not IE settings) specified in the article, it works now for my browser application.  
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