The Retirement of Microsoft’s Office Viewers

Microsoft’s Office Viewers are freeware programs that allow users the ability to view and print documents from Word, Excel, or PowerPoint 2007.  Microsoft’s original plan was to retire the “Viewer” programs, as well as the Office Compatibility Pack, as of November of 2017.  However, it appears that Microsoft is now going to retire these products in April of 2018.  After April, these Microsoft Viewers will not be available for downloads, or for future security updates.  Some people may find this to be a frustrating predicament.

Microsoft created these Viewer programs many years ago, with the hopes of allowing their tools to be used by an expanding number of workplace users.  The Viewers have proved very useful, but more recently have been open to an increasing amount of security vulnerabilities, as well as neglect, since the introduction of Office Online, which became available in 2010. 

With the depletion of Microsoft’s Viewer series, experts suggest that users seek other alternatives for these workplace applications.  One suggestion is to use the Office 365 subscription, which is available for Windows PC and Mac users.  Office 365 is a subscription and cloud-based program that offers multiple options, so you can choose the one that is best for your specific needs.  Microsoft also offers mobile apps for those that use mobile devices.

Once the deadline arrives in April, then Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Viewers as well as the Compatibility Pack will not be available for download any longer.  However, there are some ways that you can still see older Office files.  One way is to use Google Docs, which will allow the user to open a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document, and save the product as Sheets, Slides, or Docs files.  Also, Google allows Office files the ability to be converted to Google Drive.

Although some users of Microsoft’s Office Viewers will find this news frustrating, know that all is not lost.  The evolution of our cyberworld is something that we must all grow within and adapt to on a regular basis.  With new developments, hopefully will come advanced security techniques, as well as more user-friendly programs.  Perhaps the best is yet to arrive.