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Word Control for .NET

, 28 Jan 2003 GPL3
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Writing a control to use MS-Word in your own Application like a windows-form.
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This control allows you to use MS Word 2000 in your own projects such as a windows form. Of course that's a little "dirty trick". But if you have some documentation to display and you want to use Word for it, here is the solution.


I was working on an internal research project and we developed a tool to teach C++, and there was a problem about how to display the exercises. The main problem was, I had difficult formulas in these descriptions so the only possible solution was to convert the files to PDF or to another file format. With PDF I had a problem, because I couldn't edit the documents afterwards. So, I was looking for an ActiveX or .NET control for MS Word. Finally, I couldn't find one. So I decided to write one for .NET.

How to use the control?

It's almost too easy to use the form. You just need to add a link to the winwordcontrol.dll.  The steps are:

  1. Goto your Toolbox.

    Visual Studio Toolbox

  2. Click right. Select "Customize Toolbox".

    Toolbox Cutomizing

  3. Select the ".NET Components" tab.
  4. Select the winwordcontrol.dll using the file browse dialog. Click OK. After that you will find a new form in your toolbox called "winwordcontrol".

    Toolbox winwordcontrol/winwordcontrol

Drag and drop it just like any other form. The only thing you should know is how to control it. At this moment, there are four methods:

winwordcontrolinstance.LoadDocument(<string path>); 
With LoadDocument you can load all files Word can handle. Please specify the complete path! This is the only method that is probably useful for everyone. All the other methods are not necessary for normal use.
This method closes the actual document. This is mostly not necessary because LoadDocument() can handle multiple calls without calling CloseControl() before.
Preloading. This method should be used if you don't want to wait in the main program until Word is finished starting.
Reactivates all the Menubars.

The control will automatically start Word if it's not already open and it will display the document.

How does this work?

The basic idea is to instantiate the Word application, as everybody knows, with:

wordInstance = new Word.Application();
Now we have the Word application in a separate window. How do we get this window in our control? The answer is ... Win32 API. We need to import some API functions from user32.dll as shown here:
public static extern int FindWindow(string strclassName, string strWindowName);

static extern int SetParent(int hWndChild, int hWndNewParent);

[DllImport("user32.dll", EntryPoint = "SetWindowPos")]
static extern bool SetWindowPos(
	int hWnd,               // handle to window
	int hWndInsertAfter,    // placement-order handle
	int X,                  // horizontal position
	int Y,                  // vertical position
	int cx,                 // width
	int cy,                 // height
	uint uFlags             // window-positioning options
[DllImport("user32.dll", EntryPoint = "MoveWindow")]
static extern bool MoveWindow(
	int hWnd, 
	int X, 
	int Y, 
	int nWidth, 
	int nHeight, 
	bool bRepaint
const int SWP_DRAWFRAME = 0x20;
const int SWP_NOMOVE = 0x2;
const int SWP_NOSIZE = 0x1;
const int SWP_NOZORDER = 0x4;
This is the most complicated part... because it's NOT documented at all. We need a Pointer to the Word window, so we use FindWindow to find it. What's the name of the window? - "Opusapp" Actually, I don't know what this name means, but it works perfectly.
wordWnd = FindWindow( "Opusapp", null);
So, now we can define our control as a parent to Word:
SetWindowPos(wordWnd, this.Handle.ToInt32(), 0, 0,
	this.Bounds.Width-20, this.Bounds.Height-20,
Everything else should be pretty easy and it is well documented in the official documentation for the Word namespace.

Points of Interest

You may be interested in my other projects. Please visit my private homepage If you use this stuff or if you use just parts of it, I would appreciate if you mention my name. Wink | ;-)


  • 23.01.03 First release
  • 25.01.03 Update minor changes (performance enhancement)


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU General Public License (GPLv3)


About the Author

Matthias Hänel
Germany Germany
I am a developer with a Computer Science degree. I am programming Visual C ++ for over 7 year now and C# for about 3 years. If you want to know more about me please look at my homepage:

Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: Strange Fixes to Strange Problem Pinmemberweilidai200124-Jan-11 3:51 
GeneralThanks! [modified] PinmemberMember #568413511-Mar-09 4:24 
GeneralHtml PinmemberMember 387334311-Mar-09 2:22 
GeneralIt doesn't work for Word 2003 Pinmemberfelixdisc3-Mar-09 8:02 
GeneralRe: It doesn't work for Word 2003 Pinmemberfelixdisc4-Mar-09 7:55 
GeneralAnother approach using standard .NET Webbrowser component PinmemberHoward Jachter13-Jan-09 14:59 
GeneralRe: Another approach using standard .NET Webbrowser component PinmemberBen Robbins4-Feb-09 22:27 
GeneralRe: Another approach using standard .NET Webbrowser component PinmemberHoward Jachter4-Feb-09 22:53 
You can address avoid messages and having word open in it's own window by applying the following registry fix:
*** VISTA and WORD 2007 Open In Place fix ***
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Word.Document.8 --> create subkey BrowserFlags and assign it DWORD value of 0.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Word.Document.12 --> create subkey BrowserFlags and assign it DWORD value of 0x024 (36 decimal value).
Creating and editing these keys prevents having the program to run as administrator (instead of editing the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT section). -- The keys above should override what appears in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
Also, you might consider executing some code against the Word object model to instantiate the environment before loading your document. You can record a Word macro to produce this code.
GeneralRe: Another approach using standard .NET Webbrowser component PinmemberHoward Jachter4-Feb-09 23:02 
Questioncan i use this control in web form Pinmemberbhushannankar2-Jan-09 20:28 
Questionhow to disable all toolbar PinmemberMember 357101322-Sep-08 17:43 
AnswerRe: how to disable all toolbar Pinmemberwhylazy21-Oct-12 17:49 
QuestionCan't Find Winwirdcontroll in the list PinmemberJimilybibilybob19-Apr-08 9:57 
QuestionCommandBars Error Pinmemberswje8-Apr-08 0:19 
GeneralVC++.NET 2003 and word [modified] Pinmemberminad_78611-Sep-07 1:40 
GeneralThe rpc server is not available PinmemberSalman Sheikh4-Sep-07 3:33 
GeneralRe: The rpc server is not available Pinmemberyi20083019-Dec-08 0:31 
GeneralRe: The rpc server is not available PinmemberMember 361548728-May-09 17:04 
QuestionWinWordControl and Landscape Pinmemberrandy120031-Aug-07 4:03 
QuestionTaskpane and event handler probleme need some help Pinmemberspeedyc8616-Aug-07 1:44 
Generalcheck spelling and grammar for the word document Pinmembervinh_2001pt22-Jul-07 20:10 
QuestionCan we load another application that is not MS product into this form? Pinmembertuine200619-Apr-07 12:09 
QuestionProblem with opening/Saving a Document PinmemberRakesh B Singh23-Feb-07 3:21 
AnswerRe: Problem with opening/Saving a Document [modified] Pinmembernpkinh18-May-07 0:15 
AnswerRe: Problem with opening/Saving a Document Pinmemberbidalah16-Aug-07 11:30 

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