View Office documents online

When you host Microsoft Office documents on your website, you might fret that people need to have Office or an Office viewer installed to read the document. Don’t worry. By using to create a URL for the document, you can share a link that opens the document in a web browser.

When someone clicks the link, Office Online runs in the browser to display Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents with Office features intact. Formatting and layout in Word documents are preserved, data in Excel workbooks can be filtered and sorted, and animations play in PowerPoint presentations.

Create and use the URL

To create the URL, follow the steps on the Create URL page. Type (or paste) the URL of the document you want to link to, and then click Create URL. Copy and paste the resulting URL onto a page in your website.

For example, if you have forms for volunteers to print, press kits, price lists, brochures, or annual reports, you don’t need to go through the extra step of saving them as PDF files. You can host them in their native Office format on your site, and link to them with the URL you create on When site visitors click the link, the document opens in their browser.

Document won't open?

If you edit a document after creating its URL, the link will continue to open the older version for a few hours. If you want people to see the changes immediately, replace the original document with the new version, saved with a new file name, and then create a new URL on

If you see the error, "We’re sorry, but for some reason we can’t open this for you," it means the document could not be found or could not be displayed. Likely reasons include:

  • There’s no document to be found at the URL you provided. Make sure you provide the correct URL.

  • The document is too large. Word and PowerPoint documents must be less than 10 megabytes; Excel must be less than five megabytes.

  • The document was not saved in a format that is supported for opening in a web browser. Try saving your document in one of the following formats:

    • Word: docx, dotx

    • Excel: xlsx, xlsb, xls, xlsm

    • PowerPoint: pptx, ppsx, ppt, pps, potx, ppsm

  • You need to sign in or provide a password to open the document. Make the document publically available to view.

  • The document’s file name contains invalid characters. Try encoding the file name when you type the document’s URL, or rename the file to use only letters and numbers.
    For example, to encode a URL that includes an ampersand (&), you would type %26 for the ampersand character. For more information about URL encoding, also known as percent encoding, see Percent-encoding on Wikipedia.

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