Seamless viewing of Office documents in iOS apps is made simple with the PDFTron PDF SDK. Office files are converted directly to PDF in the client, and then displayed with a PDF viewer. No server, Microsoft Office license, or other third party software needed.

Although this blog will explain how to add an Office viewer to iOS apps (Swift and Objective-C), this is also possible on all major platforms through a single unified API, including Android and Xamarin.

If you are interested in trying this out for yourself you can download our trial.

linkStep 1 - Convert From Office to PDF

First we'll convert the .doc, .docx, .pptx or .xlsx file to PDF directly in the client:

func ConvertOfficeFile(_ inPath: String, outPath: String, options: PTConversionOptions) {
    let pdfDoc = PTPDFDoc() pdfDoc, in_filename: inPath, options: options)
    pdfDoc?.save(toFile: outPath, flags: e_ptremove_unused.rawValue)

linkStep 2 - Display the Documents

You can now display the converted file saved in outPath like this:

// Create a PTDocumentViewController
let documentController = PTDocumentViewController()

// The PTDocumentViewController must be in a navigation controller before a document can be opened
let navigationController = UINavigationController(rootViewController: documentController)

// Open an existing local file URL.
let fileURL: URL! = Bundle.main.url(forResource: "sample", withExtension: "pdf")

documentController.openDocument(with: fileURL)

// Show navigation (and document) controller.
self.present(navigationController, animated: true, completion: nil)

Here's what it looks like:

You can read more about displaying a PDF in our documentation.

linkConverting Other File Formats

PDFTron SDK can also convert a variety of other file formats to PDF for viewing, such as images (.jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .png, .bmp etc.), markdown (.md) or comic book archive (.cbz). Here's how:

func ConvertNonPDFFile(_ inPath: String, outPath: String, options: PTConversionOptions) {
    let documentConversion = PTConvert.streamingPDFConversion(inPath, options: options)
    let pdfDoc = documentConversion?.getDoc()
    pdfDoc?.save(toFile: outPath, flags: e_ptremove_unused.rawValue)

These converted files can now be viewed in the same way as the PDF.

linkAdding More Functionality

For a richer document experience, the PDFTron SDK makes it easy to add more functionality to the viewer:

  • Annotation creation and editing
  • Form filling
  • Text search
  • Page manipulation
  • Customizable UI controls
  • Multi-tabbed PDF viewing
  • Reflow
  • Night and custom viewing modes
  • And many more...


Adding an Office document viewer to your iOS app is simple with the PDFTron SDK. To give it a try, download a trial and check out our documentation.

For further guidance, please get in touch. The developers who helped build our SDK from the ground up would be happy to walk you through your options.