Google Docs Viewer review: Embed a PDF or PowerPoint file in your website without Flash

First published on May 23, 2010

In Google search results, you might have noticed that PDF results can be viewed in “Quick View”, showing you an in-browser representation of the file without having to open an external program or browser plugin. You can use this same viewer to display files inline in your website.

Google Docs Viewer is free and easy to use. It officially supports .pdf, .ppt, and .tiff / .tif files. I’ve also had success using it with some (but not all) Microsoft Word (.doc) files.

From a technical standpoint, Google Docs Viewer seems to convert pages to images for viewing, and then has quite a bit of supporting JavaScript for viewing controls. The one requirement is that you have a public URL for that file.

To quickly view any file in your browser, simply open a URL such as this:

To embed it within a webpage, use code such as:

<iframe src="" width="425" height="560"></iframe>

The “embedded” URL parameter removes some of the full view controls for more compact viewing. You can adjust the width and height as needed and the viewer adjusts quite well.

Here’s an example embedded PDF:


One Response to “Google Docs Viewer review: Embed a PDF or PowerPoint file in your website without Flash”

  1. Spyros says:

    Hehe nice crap thanx :) It’s a nice idea for presenting a pdf that i’m creating for my blog. Maybe it would be good to use that to make viewing even easier.

Speak your mind

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Click to hear an audio file of the anti-spam word