How to Open a Corrupt Microsoft Word Document

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While Microsoft Word is essentially the standard when it comes to modern word processing, this program is not without its quirks. One of these issues is the creation of corrupted files. These corrupted files can be created by registry or system errors. However, even though Microsoft Word will initially refuse to open these files, there are things you can do to unlock the files and view your content in Microsoft Word.

  • Use WordPad (which is found under the "Accessories" tab) to open the document. Open the program and select the corrupted file. Then go to the "Save as" area and select ".rtf" as the file format. Then try to re-open in Microsoft Word.

  • Open a blank Word document, then open the "Insert" menu and select "File" (in Word 2007, go to "Object," then "Text from File"). Select the corrupted file and then press the "OK" button ("Insert" in Word 2007). The document should then insert itself into the new blank document.

  • Launch Microsoft Word and then press the "Open" button. Instead of selecting your file, go to the bottom and select "Open any file" (or "Recover Text From Any File" in Word 2007) and then select your corrupted document.

  • Use another program to open it. If you have an alternative word processing program, like Word Perfect or Open Office Writer installed on your computer, try opening the corrupted file in those programs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most of these methods will recover text, but formatting and paragraph options will likely be lost in transition.

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