- Why Word Files Get Corrupted
- How to Fix a Damaged Word Document That Cannot Open
- How To Fix a Damaged Document You Can Open
- Option One: Copy All Text But the Last Paragraph
- Option Two: Open Word With Default Settings
- Option Three: Change Your Printer Driver
- Option Four: Force Word to Fix the File
- Option Five: Modify the Document Format And Then Switch Back to Word
- Option Seven: Switch Between Document View Options to Get Rid of the Damaged Content
- Option Eight: Open the Damaged File With Notepad
- Option Nine: Use Specialized Software To Recover Damaged Files
Getting over the heartbreak of losing your work can be very difficult, especially when you’ve put in long hours of effort. Microsoft has worked hard to improve Word to avoid such sad stories, but they still find a way to occur.
Being here means that you’re dealing with a damaged Word file, which is a good thing because it shows you’ve not resigned yourself to losing the document for good. Luckily, some troubleshooting techniques have shown good results, and we’ll be walking you through them.
Before you start, you should know that the troubleshooting process is lengthy, but you might be lucky and get your document back after applying the first few fixes. The time you’ll spend recovering the file shouldn’t be an issue when you consider how important it is.
So, stick with us as we show you how to recover corrupt MS Word files.
Why Word Files Get Corrupted
Word files can become corrupted for various reasons. Some common causes of Word file corruption include:
- If your computer or Word application unexpectedly shuts down while you’re working on a document, it can lead to file corruption.
- Sometimes, bugs or glitches in the Word software itself can cause file corruption, especially if you’re using an outdated or unstable version.
- Problems with the storage medium where the Word file is saved, such as a hard drive or flash drive, can result in file corruption. This includes bad sectors on the storage device.
- Malicious software can infect Word files, altering their content and potentially corrupting them.
- Extremely large Word files are more susceptible to corruption, especially if they contain complex formatting or embedded objects.
- Using advanced or unsupported features in Word documents, such as specific fonts or macros, can lead to compatibility issues and corruption when opened in different Word versions or software.
- Third-party add-ins or plugins for Word can sometimes conflict with the software and cause file corruption.
- Saving Word documents over a network connection can be risky if there are interruptions or issues with the network.
Quick Fix: Why Does My Internet Keep Going In and Out?
- Problems with your computer’s hardware, such as RAM or a failing hard drive, can contribute to file corruption.
- Accidental actions like force-quitting Word, deleting crucial parts of a document, or making incorrect edits can result in corruption.
To prevent Word file corruption, it’s essential to regularly save your work, maintain up-to-date software, use reliable storage media, keep your system and antivirus software updated, and be cautious when handling large or complex documents. Additionally, creating backup copies of important files can help recover data in case of corruption.
How to Fix a Damaged Word Document That Cannot Open
Option One: Open the Damaged Word File in Draft Mode Without Updating Links
The Draft Mode or Draft View is a watered-down version of the Print Layout, which is how you likely use Word. The view removes certain complexities and allows you to see your document the way it will appear on paper. Preventing Word from updating links allows the document to load in its original state.
- Open Microsoft Word.
- In the View tab, click Draft.
- Go to the File Menu.
- Select Options and click Advanced.
- In the Show document content section,
- Check the boxes for “Show picture placeholders” and “Use Draft font in Draft and Outline views”.
- After that, scroll down to the General section and uncheck the box for “Update automatic links at open”.
Next, let’s try to open the damaged document:
- Open Word.
- Go to the File Menu, and click Open.
- Locate the damaged document and select Open.
Option Two: Insert the Damaged Document as a File in a New Document
- Go to the File Menu, and click New.
- Click Blank document, and then select Create.
- In the Insert tab, choose Insert Object.
- Click Text From File.
- In the Insert File dialog box, navigate to the damaged document.
- Click Insert.
Option Three: Create a Link for the Damaged Document
Start by creating a blank document.
- Open Word.
- Go to the File Menu.
- Select New.
- Create a blank document.
- In the newly created document, type “Test.”
- Go back to the File Menu and click Save.
- Enter “Recovery link,” and select Save.
Next, create a link to the document:
- Select the text you’ve entered in the document earlier (“Test” in our case)
- Go to the Home tab at the top of the window and click on Copy in the Clipboard group.
(You can also press the Ctrl + C keyboard shortcut to copy the text after selecting it.)
- Click on File in the top-left corner of the window.
- Select New.
- Click on Blank Document, and then click on Create.
- Once the new document opens, go to the Clipboard group in the Home tab and click on the arrow under Paste.
- After the Paste menu slides out, click on Paste Special.
- When you see the Paste Special dialog window, select the radio button for “Paste link”, and then choose “Formatted Text (RTF)”.
- Click on the OK button.
Finally, change the link:
- The text you copied will now appear as a link. Right-click it, hover your mouse pointer over the Linked Document Object, and then click on Links in the expanded menu.
- When the Links dialog box opens, single-click on the linked Word file, and then click on the Change Source button.
- Once the Change Source dialog window appears, navigate to the broken Word file that you’re trying to repair, select it, and then click on Open.
- Click on the OK button in the Links dialog window.
- The contents of the broken Word document will now appear if any recoverable text or data exists.
- Now, right-click on the linked text that you pasted and select Linked Document Object >> Links.
- Make sure the file is selected once the Links dialog box opens, then click on Break Link.
- Click on Yes once the following message pops up:
“Are you sure you want to break the selected links?”
Option Four: Open the Document Via the “Recover Text from Any File” Converter
The “Recover Text from Any File” converter has some limitations you should be aware of. It won’t keep your document’s fancy formatting, and it can’t save things like pictures, fields, or drawings. But don’t worry, it will hang onto important stuff like field text, headers, footers, footnotes, and endnotes, presenting them as simple text.
Here are the steps to take:
- Go to Word.
- Click File Menu and select Open.
- Under Files of type, select Recover Text from Any File(.).
- Choose the document you want to recover.
- Click Open.
Once the document has been recovered using the “Recover Text from Any File” converter, you may notice some binary data text that hasn’t been converted. This text tends to appear mainly at the beginning and end of the document. Before saving the file as a Word document, it’s important to remove this binary data text.
How To Fix a Damaged Document You Can Open
Option One: Copy All Text But the Last Paragraph
If your document has section breaks, copy only the text between those breaks. Don’t copy the section breaks themselves, as they might cause problems in your new document. To do this easily, switch to “Draft view” when you copy and paste between documents. Just go to the “View” tab and choose “Draft” from the “Document Views” options.
Start by creating a new blank document:
- Go to File on the Ribbon, and select New.
- Next, open the damaged document.
- Copy the contents of the damaged document.
Next, paste the contents into the new document:
- In the damaged document, first press CTRL+END, and then CTRL+SHIFT+HOME.
- Go to the Home tab and click Copy in the Clipboard group.
- In the View tab, click Switch Windows in the Window group.
- Select the document you’ve created earlier.
- On the Home tab, click Paste in the Clipboard group.
Option Two: Open Word With Default Settings
You can launch Word with its default settings using the “/a” switch. When you do this, Word won’t load any add-ins, and it won’t use your current Normal.dotm template. To restart Word with these default settings, simply use the “/a” switch.
- Close Word if you have it running.
- Click the Start button.
- Search for Run.
- In the Run dialog box type the following command:
- When Word opens, click File in the Ribbon, and select Open.
- Locate the damaged file and see if you can open it now.
Option Three: Change Your Printer Driver
Try a different printer driver and see if it can fix your damaged Word document issue.
- Go to Search and type in Devices and Printers.
- Select Add a printer.
- In the Add Printer dialog box, click Add a local printer.
- Select Use an existing port, and click Next.
- Under the list of Manufacturers, click Microsoft.
- Choose the Microsoft XPS Document Writer.
- Click Next.
- Next, click the Use the driver that is currently installed (recommended) option.
- Click the Set as the default printer check box.
- Click Next and then Finish.
Try opening the damaged document again and see if the problem persists. If so, move on to the next fix.
Option Four: Force Word to Fix the File
- Go to the Open dialog box in Word.
- Click once to highlight the needed document.
- Click the arrow on the Open button.
- Next, select Open and Repair.
Check if the repaired document can now open and display properly. If not, move on to the next solution.
Option Five: Modify the Document Format And Then Switch Back to Word
- Open the damaged document.
- Go to File on the Ribbon.
- Click Save as.
- Go to Other Formats.
- In the Save as file type list, click Rich Text Format (*.rtf).
- Click Save.
- Close the document.
Now, you will need to do the same thing in reverse:
- Go to the damaged file and click Open.
- Go to File and select Save as.
- Click Word Document for the Save As type.
- Rename the document, and click Save.
Check if the problem persists. If so, try saving the file in a different format and going through the steps above again.
Option Seven: Switch Between Document View Options to Get Rid of the Damaged Content
If your document seems incomplete (some pages are missing), you can try changing the document view and removing the problematic content to resolve the issue.
- Open the damaged document in Word.
- Scroll to the last page that is fully displayed before the text gets truncated.
- Make a note of the text that appears on this page.
- Next, go to the View tab.
- Click Web Layout or Draft View.
- Scroll to the last page that is fully displayed before the text gets truncated.
- Select and delete items that follow: text, table, image, etc.
- Go back to the View tab.
- This time, select Print Layout.
- If your document still looks truncated, go on to switch between View options and delete damaged content until your document is no longer “cut-off” in Print Layout view.
- Save this version of the document.
Option Eight: Open the Damaged File With Notepad
By following the steps below, you’ll lose all the fancy formatting, but the aim is to get back the actual content.
- Go to Windows File Explorer.
- Locate the damaged Word file.
- Right-click it and select Open with.
- Select Notepad.
The document will now open in Notepad. Note that you may see extra code and text around the original content.
- Remove all the extra content, if needed.
- Go to Save as and rename the document.
Also Read: How to Reduce the Size of a Word Document?
Option Nine: Use Specialized Software To Recover Damaged Files
When faced with a corrupted Microsoft Word file, users have the option to employ specialized software designed for file repair and recovery. These software solutions, such as Stellar Repair for Word, DataNumen Word Repair, or Kernel for Word Repair, offer powerful tools to scan and repair damaged Word documents. They can often recover not only the text but also formatting, images, and embedded objects that may have been lost due to corruption.
Expert Tip: Use a PC-optimizing tool like Auslogics BoostSpeed. By optimizing various aspects of your computer’s performance, such as cleaning out junk files, defragmenting the hard drive, and fixing registry errors, you can significantly reduce the risk of data corruption. A well-maintained system is less prone to crashes and software conflicts, which can lead to file damage. Additionally, BoostSpeed’s real-time monitoring helps identify and resolve potential issues before they escalate, contributing to a more stable and reliable computing experience.
Knowing how to repair and recover corrupted Microsoft Word files can be a valuable skill, saving you from data loss and frustration. With the right techniques and software, you can often salvage your valuable documents and continue your work uninterrupted. Remember to keep backups and stay prepared for any unexpected file mishaps in the future.
Can I Fix a Broken Word File Without Using Special Software?
Yes, you can repair a corrupted Word file without any special software. Try opening it with built-in recovery tools or by copying and pasting its content into a new document.
What If I Can’t Recover All the Information From a Damaged File?
If you can’t retrieve all the data from a corrupted file, consider using backups or reaching out to others who may have a copy of the missing content.
How Often Should I Make Backups of My Word Documents?
It’s a good practice to back up your Word documents regularly. Depending on your work frequency, consider daily, weekly, or monthly backups to safeguard your important files.
Is There a Way to Prevent File Corruption Completely?
While you can’t entirely eliminate the risk of file corruption, you can reduce it by regularly updating software, using reliable storage, avoiding abrupt shutdowns, and creating backups as a safety net.