I am looking for a document reader that can open Microsoft Word documents for reading. I am using Mac OSX.

Features I want include:

  • Loads very quickly. I would prefer it if the program opens almost immediately.
  • Small memory footprint. I don't want a program that requires a lot of memory or CPU time. Instead, I'm hoping for an app I can be using while using multiple other resource-intensive apps, like Chrome and an IDE, without affecting my computer's performance.
  • Can read .doc and .docx files

Features I don't need:

  • I only want to read documents, not edit them.

Features that would be nice:

  • Easy to copy text from the document and paste it elsewhere
  • Can read other word processors' formats, like Open Office .odt
  • .doc or .docx or both? Commented May 3, 2015 at 4:34
  • @SteveBarnes Good question. I updated my request - I'd like to be able to open both.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 4:37
  • Tricky as the formats are very different. Commented May 3, 2015 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


One possibility would be to use pandoc to convert the word processor format document to one you can open in your browser or IDE - I would suggest html for the former and markdown for the IDE. You could even convert to an e-book format such as epub as there are several lightweight viewers.

The one downside is I don't think it supports the older Microsoft .doc format.

Pandoc is free and cross platform.

Input formats: docbook, docx, epub, haddock, html, json, latex, markdown, markdown_github, markdown_mmd, markdown_phpextra, markdown_strict, mediawiki, native, opml, org, rst, t2t, textile, twiki

Output Formats: asciidoc, beamer, context, docbook, docx, dokuwiki, dzslides, epub, epub3, fb2, haddock, html, html5, icml, json, latex, man, markdown, markdown_github, markdown_mmd, markdown_phpextra, markdown_strict, mediawiki, native, odt, opendocument, opml, org, pdf*, plain, revealjs, rst, rtf, s5, slideous, slidy, texinfo, textile

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