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Microsoft reportedly demos Office Reader app for Windows 8

Designed for tablets and PCs, the new app would let you read Office documents, PDFs, Web pages, e-books, and other files, The Verge reports.

Office Reader will reportedly let you view Word documents and other types of files.
Office Reader will reportedly let you view Word documents and other types of files. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft may have cooked up a new Windows 8 app that can display a variety of different files.

Code-named Office Reader, the app supports Office documents, PDFs, Web pages, e-books, and electronic textbooks, according to The Verge. Citing sources familiar with Microsoft's Office plans, The Verge said that the app was demoed at an employee-only meeting on Thursday by Kirk Koenigsbauer, a corporate VP in charge of Microsoft Office.

Beyond just displaying different files, Office Reader will let you interact with them. For example, users of Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet could use a Surface Pro stylus to mark up and make notes on a document. Those notes then appear in a sidebar, similar to the way the Track Changes feature works in Microsoft Word.

Office Reader will also tie in with Bing, according to The Verge's sources. Selecting text from a document can trigger a Bing search, which then displays its results in the sidebar.

Microsoft already provides free Office viewers, which allow you to read, copy, and print various MS Office documents without requiring the Office application itself. But Office Reader seems ready to stretch that concept further by supporting other types of files and gearing up as a Windows 8 app.

Office Reader is one of Microsoft's "Gemini" Office improvements, all of which are expected to launch next year and beyond, the Verge added.

A spokesman for Microsoft told CNET that the company isn't commenting on this reported new app.

Update, 9:10 a.m. PT: Added information about when the updates are expected to be released.