In any list of documents in a system it is a good idea to add some thumbnails of the document so that your users can get a quick overview of what a document looks like before downloading it. This is a good alternative to just displaying an icon of the document type.
Creating Word document icons is very simple thanks to a service called LiveDocx. LiveDocx was created as a web service to allow the easy creation of most document formats from a simple template. However, it is possible to send a normal Word document as the template file and get an image of the file in return.
The best way to use LiveDocx with PHP is to use the LiveDocx class contained within Zend Framework. You can use this outside of a Zend Framework application by including the file Zend/Service/LiveDocx/MailMerge.php at the top of your script.