Microsoft Office Interop Word is an option when creating/reading Word files (DOC, DOCX, RTF) from C# or VB.NET application, but it has many drawbacks.

Issues when using Microsoft Office Interop (Word Automation) from C# or VB.NET are:

  • Requires a license for Microsoft Office on every client machine.
  • Requires that all client machines have the same version of Microsoft Word installed.
  • When using Interop, Microsoft Word is loaded in the background, taking computer resources and loading a large number of files and DLLs.
  • Microsoft Office applications (including Word) were designed as UI applications and because of that API is very slow. Generating a simple document with 30 paragraphs takes 10.2 seconds on our test machine.
  • Microsoft doesn’t recommend using Word Automation (or any Office Interop) on the server, see Considerations for server-side Automation of Office.

We are proud that our Word .NET library is one of the best alternatives for Microsoft Office Interop (Word Automation).

GemBox.Document Free is free of charge while GemBox.Document Professional is a commercial version licensed per developer. Find more information about supported features.


Better than Word Automation

With Microsoft Office installed on most business desktops it is tempting to use Microsoft Word Interop. Look at the following table for good reasons not to do so:

Microsoft Word automationGemBox.Document component
Requires a license for Microsoft Word on every client machine.Requires that only the developer using our component has one GemBox.Document developer license, even if the developed application is to be installed on thousands of client machines.
Requires that all client machines have the same version of Microsoft Word installed.Files generated with GemBox.Document are compatible with Word 2007, Word 2010, Word 2013, OpenOffice and LibreOffice, so any of these products can (but don’t have to) be installed on a client machine.
When using automation, Word is loaded in the background, taking few MB and loading a large number of files and DLLs.GemBox.Document is a single component taking around 2 MB. An additional memory is allocated only when needed to perform certain operations.
Microsoft Word was designed as UI application and because of that API is very slow. Generating simple document with 30 paragraphs takes 10.2 seconds on our test machine.GemBox.Document is designed for processing large numbers of Word files. The same test took 0.12 seconds on our test machine (85 times faster than Microsoft Word).
Microsoft Word API is exposed as COM object. This results in the same disadvantages as with calling any COM object from the managed code (type conversions, need for COM wrapper, poor integration with .NET Framework etc.).GemBox.Document is a pure .NET component, designed and developed to conform to Microsoft standards for .NET libraries.


Outperforming competition

When comparing and evaluating different document reading / reporting products, don’t forget the following considerations:

Plain and fair licensing

We don’t charge additional server licenses. You can use our component for unlimited number of projects (you don’t need to purchase additional “OEM licenses”). Also, we don’t force you to purchase subscription packages.
Our licensing is very simple; every developer working with our component needs to be covered by a developer license. We don’t care if it is a Windows or web application, how many servers you use or if you have just one or millions of customers.


In the case of desktop application, you don’t want your user to wait 20 seconds for every single report. In the case of web application, you want your server to simultaneously support as many users as possible. On our test machine GemBox.Document needs 0.1 seconds to read and write single DOCX file of 2 pages (30 paragraphs, 900 words with various formatting).

Performance example is included in the GemBox.Document Examples, so you are free to do the test yourself and see how our component performs with the data you require.

Clean and easy to use API

GemBox.Document is designed and developed to conform to Microsoft standards for .NET libraries. It also enables you to access document elements in a more natural way. For example, the same task of adding a formatted paragraph with GemBox.Document looks like this:

Run boldRun = new Run(doc, "This text is bold.");
boldRun.CharacterFormat.Bold = true;

Run normalRun = new Run(doc, " This text is not bold.");

section.Blocks.Add(new Paragraph(doc, boldRun, normalRun));

and like this with automation:

Paragraph para = doc.Content.Paragraphs.Add(ref oMissing);
string boldText = "This text is bold.";

para.Range.Text = boldText + " This text is not bold.";

Range range = para.Range;
object unit = WdUnits.wdCharacter;
object count = -(para.Range.Text.Length - boldText.Length);

range.MoveEnd(ref unit, ref count);
range.Bold = 1;

100% managed code

Some similar products (and actually Microsoft Word object) are old COM components with .NET RCW (Runtime Callable Wrapper). This may bring many performance and interoperability disadvantages as every method call you make goes through the wrapper until it reaches C++ code. On the other hand, ourGemBox.Document component is 100% managed, written entirely in C# and designed to support both Visual Basic .NET and C# in equal manner.

Download the Free Version of GemBox.Document

GemBox.Document Free delivers the same performance and set of features as the Professional version. However, the Free version is limited to 20 paragraphs. You can use the free version for any purpose, including commercial applications.
If you want to see how fast and efficient GemBox.Document performs for large files, you can enable Trial mode right from within the free version.

Get the GemBox.Document Professional for unlimited use

GemBox.Document is a standalone .NET component for fast reading, writing, editing, converting and printing of DOCX, DOC, PDF, HTML, XPS, RTF, and TXT files using C# or VB.NET with one simple API.