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Have you ever tried to open a file just to find out that you don’t have something installed that is able to handle it? That’s where the Universal File Viewer comes in. This free portable app is able to open most filetypes, and prevents you from having to hunt down the right app for the job. It supports most text, images, videos, documents, and many more. If you feel that it is lacking in some way stroll on over to the plugins page to see if one of the compatible add-ons already addresses your complaint.

Overall I’d say the range of filetypes that Universal File Viewer supports is rather amazing, but there is one downside. Microsoft office formats will only be supported if you actually have Office installed. That sucks because I could see wanting to use this on a machine that doesn’t have Office installed, and you may argue that this negates some of the usefulness of the app. On the flip side this portable program starts up way faster than the Office suite does, and can definitely serve as a trusty sidekick for viewing those Office docs.

I have a more extensive list of file extensions supported at the end of the article, but this is a pretty good overview:

  • Text, Binary, Hex, Unicode: any files, of unlimited size (even 4Gb+ sizes are allowed)
  • RTF, UTF-8: RTF and UTF-8 encoded texts
  • Image: all general graphics formats: BMP JPG GIF PNG TGA TIFF… plus all formats supported by IrfanView/XnView external viewers
  • Multimedia: all formats supported by MS Windows Media Player: AVI MPG WMV MP3…
  • Internet: all formats supported by MS Internet Explorer: HTML PDF XML MHT…
  • MS Office: all file types of MS Office (if installed): DOC DOCX XLS PPT…
  • Converters: some types can be viewed as plain text: DOC DOCX PDF PPT ODT…

Sound useful? The entire package is available as a no-install download, and uses just 10MB of your drive. In terms of performance I’d say this is pretty well optimized considering how fast it is able to open files, and the fact that it uses only 11MB of memory when viewing most documents.

Universal Viewer Homepage (Windows only; Portable Freeware)

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the formats supported:

  • Images: bmp, ico, wmf, emf, jpg, jpeg, jpe, jfif, png, gif, rle, dib, tga, tif, tiff, psd, fax, eps, icb, win, vst, vda, pcx, pcc, rpf, rla, sgi, rgba, rgb, bw, pdd, ppm, pgm, pbm, cel, pic, pcd, cut, pal, psp, jp2, jpc, pnm, ras, mis, ani, cur
  • Media: avi, mpg, mpeg, mpe, mpv, mp3, mp2, mp1, m1v, m2v, mpv2, mp2v, mpa, m1a, m2a, asf, lsf, lsx, ivf, wav, mid, midi, rmi, kar, aif, aifc, aiff, au, snd, mov, qt, 3gp, 3gp2, 3g2, 3gpp, ra, rm, ram, rmvb, rpm, rt, rp, smi, smil, roq, asx, m3u, pls, wvx, wax, wmx, wmv, wma, wmp, wm, cda, ac3, dts, vob, ifo, d2v, fli, flc, flic, mka, mkv, ts, tp, tpr, pva, aac, mp4, ogm, ogg, divx, vp6, m4a, m4b, vqf, ape, mpc, flac, flv, dvr-ms, wtv
  • Internet: htm, html, xml, xsl, mht, pdf, swf, xps, shtml, xhtml, shtm, stm, php, php2, php3, asp, pl, vrml, plg, htt, htx
  • Office: odt, ods, odp, odg, odf, odb, odm, ott, oth, ots, otg, otp, sxw, sxc, sxg, sxi, sxd, sxm, stw, stc, std, sti, doc, dot, docx, docm, xls, xlt, xlsx, xlsm, xlsb, ppt, pptx, pptm, pps, ppz, pot, wbk, wps
  • Text Converter (files that can be viewed as plain text): doc, dot, docx, docm, xls, xlt, xlsx, xlsm, xlsb, ppt, pptx, pptm, pps, ppz, pot, wbk, wps