Guide to Fixing Corrupt MS Word Documents

How can you tell if your MS Word document is corrupt? For technical writers, discovering that your user guide has become corrupt is not good news. The effort you spent writing, editing and producing the document is now in jeopardy, especially if you cannot recover the lost text.

Guide to Fixing Corrupt MS Word Documents

Guide to Fixing Corrupt MS Word Documents

Corrupt Documents: Examples

It works different ways. For example, you may be prompted with a message that the document that you’re trying to open is corrupt, for instance, that the normal.doc file is missing or corrupt.

Other examples are when opening the corrupted documents causes your computer to exhibit unusual behavior. This may happen because the application attempts to make decisions about what to do next based on incorrect information in the corrupted document. One example is when you have different ‘pointers’ pointing to different templates. MS Word doesn’t know which to follow and crashes.

This article shows how to reduce your chances for encountering corruption and how to recover a corrupted document.

Corrupt Documents: Common Causes of Corruption

Here are three reasons:

  1. Conversion – Document corruption may arises when a document is converted from one format to another and back repeatedly. This process is sometimes called round-tripping.
  2. Transfers – Storing, accessing, and saving a files across different media. While memory sticks are ideal for transporting files, once you are ready to work on the file again, be sure to save the file to your computer’s hard drive or you may get a read access error.
  3. Macro virus – this works like a conventional computer virus, but takes advantage of Word’s structure and functionality to replicate and trigger when certain events occur. Many macro viruses are only nuisances and don’t cause any damage, but some can be quite dangerous.

Tomorrow we will look at how to identify a corrupt document.