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PDFs in the Word Web App

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We’ve just added a new capability to Office Web Apps. On SkyDrive,, and Office 365 you can view PDF files using the Word Web App. PDFs attached to mail or stored in SkyDrive are quickly viewable in the browser regardless of device or whether you have PDF viewing software installed.

Additionally, for SkyDrive you can convert PDFs to editable Word documents. This allows you to “release” the text in PDFs without requiring PDF editing software. Please note that the conversion does not change the PDF itself. Converting creates an entirely new file. Also, depending on the content of the original PDF, the formatting of a converted Word document may vary from the original.

Since we enabled this new feature we have displayed millions of PDFs for our users. But if you haven’t had a chance to try this yet, here’s how you can:


On SkyDrive, just clicking a PDF will view the file in Word Web App. If you prefer to download the file to display in your current PDF viewer, right click and select Download.

With, select “View online” at the bottom of the PDF attachment icon. To download, click the icon anywhere else.

Outlook Web App (Exchange)

Using Outlook Web App, hover over the PDF attachment icon to reveal the Preview link. Click it to use Word Web App. To download, click the icon.

SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint

We recently rolled out to SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint; however, after we enabled this capability we heard that customers began to encounter issues.

We spent some time investigating and determined that the best course of action right now is to temporarily remove the PDF viewing capability from Office Web Apps on SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint Online. We are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible so that we can restore the functionality in a way that resolves the current issues.

You can always download the PDF

From within the Word Web App you can also download the PDF by clicking “Download” in the toolbar at the top of the document.


Nick Simons
Office Web Apps Program Manager

  1. Maggie Hart
    This article was very interesting and helpful.

  2. Heather Cupples

    This article was very interesting and helpful.

  3. Steven Collier

    While this feature is great, why did you end up having 3 different icons for pdf, and 3 different methods to view the file. Please make it more consistent for users.

  4. felixthecat

    why its not supported in office web viewer yet ?

  5. So, there is no OCR for the PDf atconversion – only text layer from PDF file will appear in DOCX as editible text, anything else as picture. It would be good if this blog post would make it clear at spot, without going for unclear to generalised referencing.

  6. What is a limit of the size of PDF files to be viewed/ converted?
    I have 13MB PDF with recent Acrobat XI manual, it neither opens nor,of course, can be converted.

    It would be good to know what features of PDF standard are supported in viewer and which are not, and what about PDF/A files.

  7. thijsdeschepper

    Great news. Any idea when this feature will be available for on premise Office Web Apps servers?

  8. yogesh.karira

    This is great. Is this feature available with Office Web Apps Server 2013 on-premise?

Comments are closed.