How Do I Repair a Corrupted Word File? (Corrupted Microsoft Word Files that Won’t Open)

How to repair a corrupted Microsoft Word file that would not open?

“Corrupted Word files” refers to files that you tried to open in Word, and couldn’t for some reason. Sometimes you would get a message that they are corrupted, whereas other times Word would simply say that it can’t open them.

Follow these steps:

1. Check that the corrupted Word file name is in the format “name.doc” (where name is the name of your file, then a dot (“.”) then the extension “doc”. For example danny.doc. If it isn’t, right click on the file, select “Rename” and change the file’s name to this format.

2. Some newer versions of Word (e.g. Microsoft Word 2007) have a repair option. To see if yours does, open Word, select File–> Open, choose the corrupted file (but don’t open it yet). You will notice that next to where it says “Open”, there is a little drop-down arrow. Click on this and change the option to “Open and Repair”, then click on it.

3. If the above didn’t work, the next option (which usually works) is to open your corrupted Word file with Open Office – a free office suite that is compatible with Microsoft Word documents. Here’s how:

    – Download Open Office from – it’s completely free, but is a big download, so will take some time, depending on your connection speed.
    – Click on the downloaded file to install it and follow the installation wizard.
    – From your Program Files menu open “ Writer” (Go to Start–> Programs–> –> Writer)
    – Now use Openoffice Writer to open your corrupted file (File–>Open)
    – Once opened, save it again using File–> Save As and ensure you change the “Save as type” in the menu to Microsoft Word 97/2000/xp (or the version that you have).
    – Open your reclaimed file in Word.

4. Still no luck? The next step is to use the free WordRepair utility as a last resort. It was free at the time of writing, and does a good job of opening corrupted Word files, but you lose all your formatting, and hence it is the last on this list.

If all the above didn’t work, it is likely that your file is in a really bad way. If you are a business and it is business critical, then there are professionals who may be able to help. If your corrupted file is encrypted or password protected, then your changes are lessened still.

Good luck!

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