Document Presentation For Websites

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 18, 2009
Updated • Feb 9, 2014

There is not really a standard out there for document presentation on websites. Many webmasters rely on widgets and scripts to display documents on their websites. This makes it sometimes confusing for visitors who have to deal with documents that they can only download and various interfaces for document presentations on the website itself.

Doc Shots tries to bring in more control by allowing webmasters to present documents on their websites easily. The visitor can view a selected document right on the website in an overlay with basic controls, such as downloading, printing, searching and zooming. It feels like a document viewer on the web and resembles desktop document viewers enough to make it easy for visitors to use it.

Webmasters have to be registered users of the service before they can configure Doc Shots for their website. Registration is free on the other hand and not problematic or time consuming at all. The configuration of the document presentation script can be customized by setting the width and height of the overlay window. Other options include the display of related items and document storing policies.

Webmasters receive a JavaScript code in the end that they have to embed in the source code of their website to make use of the document presentation engine. The script will automatically recognize popular document formats such as .doc, .pdf, .ppt, .xls. Hoovering over document links or clicking on the documents will open the document presentation overlay on the same website.

The first viewer will experience a small delay while opening the document as the conversion is initiated at that time. It is therefor a good idea to be the first viewer so that regular visitors do not experience the delay. Visitors can still right-click the document and save it to their computer system directly.

Update: The service does not seem to be available any longer.

A popular solution these days is to make documents publicly available on services such as Microsoft SkyDrive or Google Drive.

While that means that the document is not embedded directly on the site, a link leads directly to a viewer so that it can be read with just  the click of the mouse button.


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  1. Glenn said on April 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    DocShots by Docstoc is now proven to be a “scam”. It makes false claims to preview documents without leaving your website. The java script they offer for doing this is a fraud. They even admit in their FAQ that this does NOT work and they cannot understand why, yet they are perfectly happy to continue deceiving people by promoting a “fake”.

  2. Vanillaman said on October 22, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Although this is useful, I’ve been trying it for a few days now, and discovered it has a major flaw. It does claim to provide the ability to “hover over links” to expand your multiple documents. However, this is NOT the case, and it does not provide any reliable guidance for achieving this.

    It may just be ambitious on the creators part and may be planned, but for now, it doesn’t exist. I’ve contacted its creator, but they have no explanation for this, which is pretty odd.

  3. Vanillaman said on October 16, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Great find Martin. This is fantastic time saver. It also enhances your website or blog, so it’s great for presentation. I wish I had found this before. Now I’m adding it to my site immediately.

    1. Martin said on October 16, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      Glad that you like it ;)

  4. matt said on April 5, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    its docstoc not doc shots

    1. Martin said on October 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      Actually the website is called Doc Stoc, but the service reviewed here is called Doc Shots.

  5. JV said on March 18, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Oh! Thanks for the tips here. I think this is also effective in a way.

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