Fortunately, there is a growing number of online alternatives to having to install this or that piece of software.
Google's been working on a number of "viewers" first for Gmail to enable users to view attachments without having to download them and then in Google Drive.
Supported file types
Google Drive viewer helps you preview over 16 different file types, listed below:
- Image files (.JPEG, .PNG, .GIF, .TIFF, .BMP)
- Video files (WebM, .MPEG4, .3GPP, .MOV, .AVI, .MPEGPS, .WMV, .FLV)
- Text files (.TXT)
- Markup/Code (.CSS, .HTML, .PHP, .C, .CPP, .H, .HPP, .JS)
- Microsoft Word (.DOC and .DOCX)
- Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
- Microsoft PowerPoint (.PPT and .PPTX)
- Adobe Portable Document Format (.PDF)
- Apple Pages (.PAGES)
- Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
- Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
- Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF)
- Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
- Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
- PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
- TrueType (.TTF)
- XML Paper Specification (.XPS)
- Archive file types (.ZIP and .RAR)
In fact, Google Drive is now probably the best online tools for viewing all sorts of files. It supports over 30 file types well depending on how you count. 30+ is the official figure if you count all extensions you get over 40 file types.
While many of them may be common image, video or text formats which are supported by most browsers some are more obscure.
For one, it supports all common Microsoft Office formats, .doc, .docx, .xls and .xlsx, .ppt and .pptx, for documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Keyboard shortcuts for the Google Drive viewer
Open Ctrl + O
Download Ctrl + S
Play/Pause Video Space
Compact controls Ctrl + Shift + F
Edit description Ctrl + Alt + E
Open Ctrl + O
Of course, you can convert some of these files to local native formats so you can edit them rather than just view them. Google Drive even comes with OCR so it can try and extract text from scanned PDFs or images.