Viewing Word Documents in WPF

WPF does not support the functionality to view Microsoft Word documents but there is a work-around for this problem. The WPF DocumentViewer control is used to display fixed documents such as an XML Paper Specification (XPS) document. We can open a Word document if we can convert a Word document to an XPS document. This conversion is possible by using Office Interop and Office Tools frameworks for working with Office documents.

Add Reference to XPS and Office Interop Assemblies

Before we do any actual work, we must add reference for the following assemblies:

  • ReachFramework.dll
  • Microsoft.Office.Tools.v9.0.dll
  • Microsoft.Office.Tools.Word.v9.0dll
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Tools.Office.Runtime.v9.0.dll
  • Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word.dll

The first assembly, ReachFramework.dll hosts the functionality for XPS documents and the other assemblies host the functionality of Office Interop and provide Office Tools support.

Note: You must also install 2007 Microsoft Office Add-in: Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS that you can download using the following link.

To add a reference to these assemblies, right-click on the project name and select "Add Reference" in the Solution Explorer. On the .NET Framework, select ReachFramework and select the other assemblies from the list and click the OK button. Figure 1 shows ReachFramework in the Add Reference dialog.


Figure 1

You may have multiple assemblies installed on your machine. Make sure you select Version 12 for Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word assemblies as you see in Figure 2, otherwise your conversion will fail.


Figure 2

Once you have added the reference to assemblies, you must import the following namespaces to your code behind.

using System.IO;

using Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word;

using Microsoft.Win32;

using System.Windows.Xps.Packaging;

Convert Doc to XPS

The SaveAs method of the Document class available in OfficeInterop allows us to save a Word document as an XPS document. However, you must ensure you have version 12 of the assembly added to your project as I mentioned before.

The ConvertWordDocToXPSDoc method takes a full path of a Word document file and a new full path of a XPS document and convert the doc file to an xps file.

/// <summary>

/// This method takes a Word document full path and new XPS document full path and name

/// and returns the new XpsDocument

/// </summary>

/// <param name="wordDocName"></param>

/// <param name="xpsDocName"></param>

/// <returns></returns>

private XpsDocument ConvertWordDocToXPSDoc(string wordDocName, string xpsDocName)


    // Create a WordApplication and add Document to it


        wordApplication = new Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word.Application();




    Document doc = wordApplication.ActiveDocument;

    // You must ensure you have Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word.Dll version 12.

    // Version 11 or previous versions do not have WdSaveFormat.wdFormatXPS option



        doc.SaveAs(xpsDocName, WdSaveFormat.wdFormatXPS);



        XpsDocument xpsDoc = new XpsDocument(xpsDocName, System.IO.FileAccess.Read);

        return xpsDoc;


    catch (Exception exp)


        string str = exp.Message;


    return null;           


XPS Viewer Application

Let's create a WPF Application using Visual Studio 2010 and add a TextBox, Button, and a DocumentViewer. Here is what the XAML code looks like.


    <DocumentViewer HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="0,42,0,0"

                    Name="documentViewer1" VerticalAlignment="Top" Height="508" Width="766" />

    <TextBox Height="29" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="6,6,0,0"

             Name="SelectedFileTextBox" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="276" />

    <Button Content="Browse" Height="30" HorizontalAlignment="Right" Margin="0,6,353,0"

            Name="BrowseButton" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="122" Click="BrowseButton_Click" />


The application looks like Figure 3 where the Browse button is used to browse Word documents on your machine.


Figure 3

The Browse button click event handler code looks like this where we convert a Word document to an XPS document and view that in a DocumentViewer control.

private void BrowseButton_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)


    // Create OpenFileDialog

    Microsoft.Win32.OpenFileDialog dlg = new Microsoft.Win32.OpenFileDialog();


    // Set filter for file extension and default file extension

    dlg.DefaultExt = ".doc";

    dlg.Filter = "Word documents (.doc)|*.doc";


    // Display OpenFileDialog by calling ShowDialog method

    Nullable<bool> result = dlg.ShowDialog();


    // Get the selected file name and display in a TextBox

    if (result == true)           


        if (dlg.FileName.Length > 0)


            SelectedFileTextBox.Text = dlg.FileName;

            string newXPSDocumentName = String.Concat(System.IO.Path.GetDirectoryName(dlg.FileName), "\\",

                           System.IO.Path.GetFileNameWithoutExtension(dlg.FileName), ".xps");


            // Set DocumentViewer.Document to XPS document

            documentViewer1.Document =

                ConvertWordDocToXPSDoc(dlg.FileName, newXPSDocumentName).GetFixedDocumentSequence();




Run the Application

Just run your application, click the Browse button, select a Word document and your output will look as in Figure 4.


Figure 4

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