I'm doing some research for a product and need to find commercial or open source library/functions that will allow my product to open/read as many different file types as possible.

We are writing a file parser (Windows platform primarily), and the more libraries the better.

I would license from someone like OpenFreely - but they don't even answer the phone :)

  • What filetypes are you looking for? There are quite a few filetypes, asking for a whole bunch of libraries to open all of them may be way to broad.
    – Tom
    Aug 2, 2016 at 16:58
  • Fundamentally there are only 2 file types - text and binary with Unicode blurring the line a bit. If you are looking to open a multitude of file types either in, or looking like they would in, their associated application then you will be looking at paying 1000s or millions per licence. Too broad! Aug 2, 2016 at 17:42
  • @Tom - I agree... but you know marketing - more the merrier :) we have the officedocs covered, but looking for some of the legacy stuff (quattropro, WordPerfect all versions, etc.)... anything is better than non!
    – Jason R
    Aug 9, 2016 at 15:13
  • Agreed @Steve Barnes - I was just hoping for a vendor somewhere who has consolidated these libraries.
    – Jason R
    Aug 9, 2016 at 15:14
  • @JasonR - I am getting the impression that you are only looking for Office type files, i.e. Word Processors, Spreadsheets, Basic Images - your question as asked cover everything from CAD, DNA Sequencing, IC Design, Control Systems, the lot. Maybe your question should be clarified to show the types of file types that you are interested in. Aug 9, 2016 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


A commercial library that I would recommend taking a look at is the LEADTOOLS Imaging SDK. The LEADTOOLS Imaging SDK contains support for loading/viewing/manipulating/saving 150+ file formats. Depending on the file formats that you wish to support, LEADTOOLS may be able to allow you to only use one library instead of many different ones saving you time and money.

We have an online hosted HTML5 Document Viewer demo that you can use to view your document or image files:


The LEADTOOLS SDK will allow you to load your files with just a few lines of code in multiple programming languages including C/C++, C#, VB.NET, and Java on Windows. Here is an example in C# using the RasterCodecs class and the RasterImage class:

using (RasterCodecs codecs = new RasterCodecs())
    using (RasterImage image = codecs.Load(inputFilePath))
       // Your input file is now loaded into memory in the RasterImage object so you can do with it as you wish
       // You can load the file into a viewer, process the file, or save the file out to another file format

Just as a disclaimer. I work for the company that wrote this library.


Syncfusion provides file parsing libraries for Excel - Essential XlsIO, Word - Essential DocIO , PowerPoint - Essential Presentation and PDF - Essential PDF.

Essential XlsIO

The whole suite of controls and libraries is available for free through the community license program if you qualify (less than 1 million USD in revenue). Note: I work for Syncfusion.

  • Thanks Davis - will check this out... we have the native office stuff covered, but the PDF will be helpful for sure!
    – Jason R
    Aug 9, 2016 at 15:15

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