Now it is possible to view attached Word documents within the browser as opposed to the previous cumbersome methodology of downloading, saving and opening of the files locally. This was a development alongside the added features to the Google docs, which is now compatible with almost any file type.

Previous methods

Previously there were two options to view an attached Word document in Gmail. One was to download the attachment and view locally, and the other option was to view as HTML which did not support docx file format. If the attachment was to be saved within Google docs, a manual approach was required to download and upload the Word document again. The latest Gmail feature to view doc and docx file formats within the browser itself, eliminates most of the usage problems of attached Word documents.


It’s just a click of the link and boom, the attached Word document loads in another tab in no time. Not only it is so much convenient to view the file, but also to download, edit or print it off the browser tab as well. This neat little feature is no doubt a reason for an enhanced user experience in Microsoft Office and Gmail integration.

Integration with Google docs

Edit online and save the attachments to Google docs are two most important options that have been enabled right from the browser view of the Word document. Seamless integration of Google docs within the browser view bypasses the using of the local computer to download or save the attachment, ultimately making it a safe file transfer to be initiated even using public computers.

Security aspect

E-mail attachments are a commonly used medium of malware file transportation, thus downloading of such attached files is posed with a security risk to the local computer specially when there is no anti virus protection installed. However, viewing the attachments within the browser limits the scope of the risk to the browser, rather than the whole system. Although the new view feature does not eliminate security risks completely, it allows the browser to act as an added layer of defense.

Overall benefit

Microsoft Word being a highly popular word processor, integration and any development of Microsoft Word within Gmail is so significant. Specially the integration of Google docs directly into the browser view tab has been the dark horse of all the improvements made. Overall, Google has expanded its usability by adding extended features with regard to Microsoft Word.

Both Microsoft Office and Gmail have high market shares within their corresponding software niche. Naturally Word files get transferred back and forth within Gmail accounts so often and Its a great move by Google to enable view options within browsers for Microsoft Word attachments. Not only it is now possible to view Word attachments within browser tabs but also they can be edited and saved directly onto Googe docs.