ActiveX + Preview + Office + Web

ActiveX + Preview + Office + Web Plugin

Let's call it the ActiveX Plugin for short, even though it handles more than just that.

This is a meta-plugin which allows a large number of viewers to work in Opus, including those which work with File Explorer and Outlook (e.g. the MSOffice preview handlers), as well as many which work with Internet Explorer.

The ActiveX plugin comes with Directory Opus but depends on other components to actually do anything. Several come with Windows, as well as other software like Office, while additional viewers can be downloaded from third parties. Some of those viewers are also discussed on the forum, and work via this plugin.

Between Opus releases, you can sometimes download a newer version of this plugin from the plugin's web page (but this is rare these days, unless you see a post about test versions on the forum; updates usually just come with Opus).

The ActiveX plugin allows Directory Opus to view various document types within the Opus viewer pane.

The plugin will hook other programs and viewers into Opus, depending on which compatible software you have installed.

It is designed to work with the following:

  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., via preview handlers which come with MS Office, or via alternative QuickViewPlus preview handlers)
  • Legacy Microsoft Office (embedding the Office apps themselves in the viewer pane; not recommended with modern Office where preview handlers work better; no longer recommended vs the top method)
  • The standalone MS Office Viewers (free, but possibly legacy; no longer recommended vs the top method)
  • Open Office (instructions, but may not work with recent versions until when/if their viewers are fixed)
  • Internet Explorer (for HTML, MHT, XML, etc.)
  • Adobe Reader (PDF)
  • PDF-XChange (PDF)
  • Fox-It Reader (PDF)
  • Sumatra (PDF) (make sure you check the extra option in the installer)
  • Shockwave Flash (SWF) (If Flash is installed)
  • Windows built-in Preview Handlers made for Explorer and Outlook (E-mails, Contacts, Fonts, etc.)
  • Microsoft XPS documents
  • Windows Media Player (but the Opus Movie plugin is generally better for movie playback)
  • Zip file contents
  • AutoCAD (DWG, DWF, etc.) (instructions)
  • 3D Object preview (fbx, glb, glbt, obj, ply, stl) (via Mixed Reality Viewer built in to Windows 10; Opus 12.10 and above)
  • DjVu (instructions)
  • SVG (instructions)
  • Quick View Plus (instructions) (views hundreds of formats) (very old versions of QVP can be used via the MultIView plugin instead; newer versions provide preview handlers which should work with this plugin; last tested with QVP 11)
  • And more...

(Related: Autodesk Inventor thumbnails in Opus.)

The plugin includes the ability for 64-bit versions of Opus to use both 32-bit and 64-bit ActiveX viewers. For example, this enables 64-bit users to view PDF and Flash files within the Opus viewer pane, even though Adobe have not produced 64-bit versions of their components.


The configuration dialog allows you to specify which types of ActiveX controls should be used to view different files. You can also disable certain Preview Handlers entirely if you find they get in the way of other viewers which you prefer. (Some are disabled by default, for example Vista's plain-text handler.)

Word document:

Excel document:

MHT web page archive:

QuickTime .mov:



Shockwave Flash:
(Only if Flash for IE is still installed.)



More Info:

For History, the Known Issues list the To-Do list and Translation Tips, please see the plugin's web page:

1 Like

Viewing Office Documents:

You need something installed that provides either a preview handler or an ActiveX control for viewing Word files.

The only things I know of which provide those and work properly these days are MSOffice itself and QuickViewPlus.

(In theory, LibreOffice's ActiveX control, which is an option during installation, can do it as well, but it has not worked properly in years unless they have fixed it recently.)

[Jan 2017: Cleaned up lots of old discussion that was not very relevant any more.]

I had some machines that did not show Excel-files in DO-preview-pane. It's a know Office-Bug (I think only 2016), so I share an easy fix for that here.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


"{00020827-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"="Microsoft Excel previewer"

Download fix (.reg-file):

Microsoft Office Excel Preview (422 Bytes)

I have Office 2019 installed but when I try to preview all office files I get the "exception caught by ActiveX plugin...". The ActiveX plugin is activated in my plugin list.

Can you display Office files successfully in File Explorer's viewer, or is it broken there as well?

Which version of Opus are you using?

Yes the preview works fine in Explorer. I am on 12.12.

Please post a screenshot of the plugin's configuration window via Preferences / Viewer / Plugins.


I think it looks like yours?

That looks correct.

The error you're seeing means the Word viewer which comes with Office is crashing when asked to display the file, but that's as much as I can tell you from here.

Doing a Repair on the Office install will sometimes fix things, although it's less likely if things are working OK within File Explorer. (Still worth a quick try, though.)

I don't have Office 2019 to test with, but I do have Office 365 which (at least as I understand things) should be essentially the same software at the moment, until they start diverging, and the viewer is working OK here with that.

I might suspect anti-virus or similar security tools are breaking the viewer if it is run inside of Opus, maybe because they are killing processes which try to open your document files and aren't on a whitelist.

4 posts were split to a new topic: Word and Excel document thumbnails

Thanks Leo for the suggestion. The only security tool I have is Windows Defender, I tried to disable real-time protection but doesn't help. I also tried to run Opus in Administrator mode but it doesn't help.

I had the same problem

F3 previewer via Metaplugin is really too slow for me.

What is F3 previewer?

Which file format is slow?

Is it also slow in File Explorer?

The plugin in question only acts as a bridge to allow third party viewers to work inside Opus. If those are slow then using an alternative viewer or talking to the people who make the slow viewer are your options.

Apologize for unclear post.
I was calling "PDF preview handler" (Adobe PDF for vista as indicated in the screenshot) via hotkey "F3" to preview the PDF files. It did take seconds to load the files.

Presumably it’s the same in File Explorer? (Assuming the same viewer is being used in both.)

Have you tried another PDF viewer?

Yes, it's the same PDF viewer.
I will try other slim viewers. Thank you.

Microsoft Excel Macro-Enabled Worksheet (.XLSM) preview do not show up in Viewer Pane. Is it possible to enable it?

Not that I know of, but it’s up to the viewer, which is part if Excel rather than Opus. I think Microsoft block previewing those files for safety reasons.