Universal Document Viewer

Martin Brinkmann
May 12, 2009
Updated • Sep 10, 2017
Software, Windows software

We reviewed the document viewer TextMaker Viewer 2009 a while ago. It was a program that could display the content of various document formats like the popular pdf, txt and doc formats but also newer formats used by Microsoft Office 2007 and the latest version of Open Office.

While it did provide a nice way to open all of these formats without having to install an Office suite, it lacked behind in usability and more importantly speed.

Universal Viewer is another application that is probably better suited when it comes to the reading of documents.

It has been designed to open document formats but also other formats like images and photos, multimedia files like videos or audio and Internet files like htm or xml; hence the universal in the name.

Universal Document Viewer

The program is driven by plugins that add support for various file types. The plugins are the same that are used by Total Commander which ensures the availability of many plugins for various file formats.

Universal Viewer is a viewer that displays the information in a basic but highly accessible fashion. Only the main content is shown without additional formatting. Take a look at a comparison between the same document in Microsoft Word 2007 and Universal Viewer:

document viewer

This can be a problem as some of the formatting is lost when text content is displayed in the interface. This means that you won't get specially formatted headings, lists, links, or even bold or underlined text.

Universal Viewer is therefore a basic viewer that can display pretty much any format. It comes with the following feature set:

  • Full support for Unicode filenames
  • Built-in functions of several popular plugins: images, multimedia, webpages view
  • Support for multiple codepages: ANSI, OEM, EBCDIC, ISO, KOI8, Mac etc.
  • Toolbar, status bar, other interface improvements
  • Auto-reloading of file on changing, "Follow tail" option
  • Displaying of line numbers
  • Displaying of non-printable characters
  • Combined Unicode/Hex mode (call Unicode mode twice)
  • More modern RegEx search library
  • Print preview
  • EXIF viewer

Some of the more commonly used plugins, for example to display Microsoft Office 2007 documents are linked from the developers homepage directly while others can be found on Total Commander plugin websites which are also linked there. Plugins can be added directly from within Universal Viewer.

Universal Viewer itself can be downloaded as a portable version or installer. A Pro version of the viewer is available as well which adds several new features to the application.

Core differences include support for viewing Excel and Word documents without Office installation, a built-in PDF plugin so that Adobe software or Foxit is not required, a new multimedia player with support for over 170 formats, support for complex RTF documents, support for over 400 RAW image formats, and a conversion feature for images.


Universal Viewer is a fast and lightweight document viewer that can be used to quickly look at the contents of virtually any files on the computer system.

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  1. topsris said on May 15, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    thank your post i love portable version

  2. Rush said on May 12, 2009 at 2:25 am

    This is a great find, Martin. Nice to have on the flash drive. Thanks.

  3. Rarst said on May 12, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Main viewer for me. It’s very fast and eats enough formats to be default choice.

    Especially good for large text files when I only need to skim without editing.

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