Fixing Corrupt MS Word Documents

How do you fix a corrupted MS Word document? There are several techniques you can use to correct a corrupted document. Choose the method that relates to the nature and severity of the corruption and the nature of the behavior exhibited. Although many of these methods work, not every corrupted document can be recovered.

Fixing Corrupt MS Word Documents

Fixing Corrupt MS Word Documents

Convert the File to Another Format, then Convert it Back to Native Format

This is the easiest and most complete document recovery method; always try it first.

  • Save the file in RTF file format; this format preserves the formatting in your Microsoft Word for Windows document.
  • Reopen the document in Word, and
  • Convert it from RTF to .doc or .docx

If this method succeeds, the file corruption may be removed during conversion.

If the corruption persists after you save the file in RTF file format, save the file in the following file formats:

  • Other word processing formats
  • Text Only
  • HTML

Saving files in Text Only format frequently corrects the document corruption problem; however, all document formatting is lost. This method requires more reformatting; therefore, use it only after other file formats fail to correct the problem.

Copy Everything Except The Last Paragraph Mark To A New Document

Word associates a wide variety of formatting with the last paragraph mark, especially section and style formatting.

If you copy everything except the last paragraph mark to a new document, the corruption may be left behind in the original document.

In the new document, reapply the section or style formatting.

Note: You can select everything except the last paragraph mark by pressing CTRL+END, then CTRL+SHIFT+HOME.

Copy The Uncorrupted Portions Of The Document To A New Document

If you can identify the location of file corruption in your document, copy everything except the corrupted portion to a new file, then use the following steps to reconstruct your document:

  • Copy the uncorrupted portions of your document to a new file
  • Save a copy of the corrupted document in Text Only format.
  • Open the Text Only file.
  • Copy the text from this file that was in the corrupted section
  • Paste that text into the file that contains the uncorrupted portion of your document.
  • Reformat the sections you pasted, and then save the recovered document.

Copy Text and Paste As Unformatted Text

If you can open the document but it exhibites odd behavior that could be due to corruption.

  • Select and copy the text
  • Create a new document
  • Choose Edit > Paste Special > Unformatted Text.

This strips all of the formatting and underlying problems within the document and provides a clean copy of the text within the document use styles to quickly reformat the document text.

Save in Word 6.0 Format

If the document can be opened, save it as a Word 6.0 document. If that is not successful, save it as a Word 2.0 document. This often allows the file to be recovered without corruption.

Open The Damaged Word Document In Draft Mode

Sometimes you can open a document successfully in draft mode when it will not open in other views. Once you open the file, you may be able to recover or repair the file.

To switch to draft mode in Word, choose Normal from the View menu, then choose Options from the Tools menu, select the View tab, and select the Draft Font option.

-or-

Run the following macro to turn off screen updating, open your damaged document, switch to draft mode, and then reactivate screen updating:

Sub Main

ScreenUpdating 0

FileOpen .Name = "FILENAME.DOC" ' substitute your filename

ToolsOptionsView .DraftFont = 1

ScreenUpdating

 

 

 

End Sub

In the preceding macro, substitute the name of your damaged document for the “FILENAME.DOC” argument text.

Using this macro may enable you to open documents that you cannot otherwise open due to damage that affects printer setup, page layout, or screen updates in Word. For example, if a general protection (GP) fault occurs in Word before the document opens, you may be able to avoid the GP fault by opening the document using the preceding macro.

Next we look at how to recover text from any MS Word file.

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