How to open files without proprietary software in Windows

Some file types require proprietary software to open, even for review, while others are simply mysterious to first-time users. Open Freely is a free app that lets users check out many common files, including those associated with Microsoft Windows.

It can be frustrating to receive an attachment or find a file online that you can't open. Maybe you don't have the latest version of MS Office, or maybe you just don't know what program is required. Open Freely is a great, free tool that lets you peek inside many popular file types. Here's how to use it: 

  1. Download and install Open Freely here. 
  2. When confronted with a file you can't open, launch Open Freely and click the open icon in the top left, then browse and select your file. (You may want to check the list of supported file types here first.) 
  3. Open Freely offers simple editing tools for documents, spreadsheets, and other such files. These should be familiar to most users. They're not as advanced as those you'd find in Office or similar suites, but they're functional. 
    Step 3: Review and edit document.
    Step 3: Review and edit document.
  4. It's also easy to print using Open Freely. Just click the printer icon at the top and you're all set. 

That's all there is to it. It's easy to enjoy media files or to review documents even on computers that aren't set up to handle the right file type.

Thanks to GHacks for the link!

About the author

    Rob Lightner is a tech and gaming writer based in Seattle. He has reviewed games, gadgets, and technical manuals, written copy for space travel gear, and composed horoscopes for cats.

     

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