Viewing Word Documents in WPF using VB.NET

WPF does not support functionality to view Microsoft Word documents but there is a work around this problem. This article demonstrates how to view a word document in WPF using DocumentViewer control using VB.NET.
  • 9956

WPF does not support functionality to view Microsoft Word documents but there is a work around this problem. WPF DocumentViewer control is used to display fixed documents such as an XPS (XML Paper Specification) 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 that is used to work with Office documents.

Add Reference to XPS and Office Interop Assemblies

Before we do any actual work, we must add reference to 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 rest of the assemblies hosts the functionality Office Interop and 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 reference to these assemblies, you right click on Add Reference on the project name in Solution Explorer. On the .NET Framework, select ReachFramework and other assemblies from the list and click OK button. Figure 1 shows ReachFramework in 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. 

Imports System.IO

Imports Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word

Imports Microsoft.Win32

Imports System.Windows.Xps.Packaging

Convert Doc to XPS

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

The ConvertWordDocToXPSDoc method takes a full path of a word document file and new full path of XPS document and converts doc file to an xps file. 

Private Sub BrowseButton_Click(ByVal sender As System.ObjectByVal e AsSystem.Windows.RoutedEventArgs)


        ' Create OpenFileDialog

        Dim dlg As Microsoft.Win32.OpenFileDialog = New Microsoft.Win32.OpenFileDialog()


        ' Set filter for file extension and default file extension

        dlg.DefaultExt = ".doc"

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


        If (dlg.ShowDialog() = TrueThen

            Dim fileName As String = dlg.FileName

            If (dlg.FileName.Length > 0) Then

                SelectedFileTextBox.Text = dlg.FileName


                Dim newXPSDocumentName As String =

                    String.Concat(System.IO.Path.GetDirectoryName(dlg.FileName), "\", _

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

                documentViewer1.Document =

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


            End If

        End If

    End Sub

XPS Viewer Application

Let's create a WPF Application using Visual Studio 2010 and add a TextBox

, Button, and a DocumentViewer. Here is 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 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 Function ConvertWordDocToXPSDoc(ByVal wordDocName As StringByVal xpsDocName AsStringAs XpsDocument


        Dim xpsDoc As XpsDocument

        ' Create a WordApplication and add Document to it

        Dim wordApplication As Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word.Application = NewMicrosoft.Office.Interop.Word.Application()



        Dim doc As Document = wordApplication.ActiveDocument

        ' You must make sure 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)



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

            Return xpsDoc

        Catch ex As Exception


        End Try


        Return Nothing

    End Function 



Run the Application

Just run your application, click the Browse button, select a word document and your output will look like Figure 4.



Figure 4


More Articles

© 2020 DotNetHeaven. All rights reserved.