Your Windows 10 PC is probably home to Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, photos, videos, audio files, and more. Wouldn’t it be great if you could view or play each of those files quickly and easily without having to open them through their associated applications? You can perform that feat with help from a file viewer.
Beyond helping you check out your own files, a file viewer can help you view unknown files that are sent to you. In some cases, you may not know which program to use to open such a file. In other cases, you may not even have the necessary application on your computer.
The File Explorer in Windows 10 comes with its own preview pane that can display certain types of files. However, you can also enlist the aid of several third-party programs, including QuickLook, WinQuickLook, Air File Viewer Pro, File Viewer Plus, and All Video Player HD.
File Explorer Preview Pane
First, let’s check out the preview pane in File Explorer. Open File Explorer, click on the View tab and then select Preview pane. Click on a file you wish to view, such as a Word document, Excel sheet, PowerPoint presentation, PDF, or image. The file appears in the preview pane. Increase or decrease the size or width of the file by dragging the separation bar left or right.
QuickLook offers a cool and convenient way to display files. Install this free app, and it integrates into File Explorer. There’s now no need to manually open any type of preview window or pane. In File Explorer, just select the file you want to view and press the spacebar. The QuickLook window quickly pops up to display the file in a dedicated window.
You can view a variety of file types, including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, HTML files, and even ZIP files. You can even play many audio and video files. In order to use the program with Microsoft Office files, you’ll need to install a free plug-in, which you can find on the developer’s Available Plugins page.
You can also easily navigate through multi-page documents and scrub through audios and videos. As with File Explorer, you just resize the window to increase or decrease the size of the viewed file. And you can open a file through its native application just by clicking on the Open button.
Cool File Viewer
With the free version of Cool File Viewer, you can view a limited number of file types and play certain audio and video files. However, the true power of this program comes with its in-app purchases or the $20 paid Pro version.
The full Cool File Viewer Pro program gives you the ability to view PDFs, all types of images, and a variety of video and audio files. You can view and extract compressed files in ZIP and RAR formats. Plus, you can view and edit Microsoft Office documents.
Cool File Viewer doesn’t integrate directly into File Explorer but runs as a small standalone window. You can position the window alongside File Explorer and then drag and drop each file you want to see into Cool File Viewer.
Another way is to click on the Choose button in Cool File Viewer and select the file to view. You can also peek at files through File Explorer by choosing the “Open with” command and then Cool File Viewer.
File Viewer Plus
The free version of File Viewer Plus can display files from Microsoft Word and Excel as well as PDFs, image files, and HTML files. You can also play a variety of audio and video types. To view additional files, like PowerPoint presentations, you’ll have to shell out $29.99 to upgrade to the paid version.
Like Cool File Viewer, File Viewer Plus runs as a standalone window that you can position next to File Explorer if you wish. Drag and drop each file you want to view on top of the window or grab a file by selecting it from the File | Open command. You can also view files directly in File Explorer by using the “Open with” command and selecting File Viewer Plus.
The File Viewer Plus window is feature packed. Open a Word document or Excel spreadsheet, and the toolbars and commands for Word or Excel appear. You can then change the formatting and other attributes to view the file in different ways.
With the paid version, you can retain whatever formatting changes you make and then save, convert, or print the file. Open an image file, and you can adjust the brightness, contrast, sharpness, size, rotation, and other effects.
By default, File Viewer Plus displays an info pane next to the displayed file with its metadata and other details. However, you can turn off this pane and the toolbars to view the file full screen.
All Video Player HD
Looking for a program that can play video and audio? Look no further than All Video Player HD. With this utility, you can tune up a variety of video formats, including MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV, MP3, M4A, and M4B. The app is versatile as you can access and play videos and audio files a variety of ways.
Drag and drop a file from File Explorer onto the All Video Player HD window, and it immediately starts playing, or just open a file from within the program itself. You can add an entire folder of video or audio files, and All Video Player HD will queue them up to play one after another. You can easily view a history list of past audio and video files that you’ve played and replay any of them.
All Video Player HD can even play videos from ISO files and certain DVDs by loading the .vob files from the disc’s VIDEO_TS folder. The app can also play videos and audio directly from the web through a URL. You can view any file’s metadata, such as the size and frame rate. The basic version is free but saddles you with ads. Pony up $4.99, and the ads go away.