Repairing Microsoft Word files

It's not uncommon for a MS Word document to be restored, but then find that the file will not open with Word.  If this happens, don't worry as there are several things you can try before giving up hope of ever seeing your text again.

1 - Try exporting the file

If you were able to open the file in Word, but the info in the document is corrupted,  try saving it in an alternate format. Sometimes, using a format such as RTF or TXT will cause some of Word’s codes to be stripped from the document, which often fixes the problem.

2 - Extract the raw text

If you are unable to open the file with Word, this usually means that the whole Word file structure is lost. If this is the case, try opening the file with other application that supports Word files or open the file in a simple text editor (some enhanced version of Notepad like Notepad++ for example). Then scroll through the file to see whether you can find any raw text that you can salvage.

3 - Use Word’s text converter

You may also be able to recover the text portion of a document using Word’s text converter. Click File > Open. When the Open dialog box appears, select the troublesome Word document. Then, choose Recover Text From Any File from the Files Of Type drop-down list and open the document. This is very similar to extracting the raw text as this will only allow you to recover ASCII text , so you will lose Word formatting and items such as graphics.

4 - Use Open And Repair

Word has a built-in function that sometimes allows it to repair the file. Click File > Open. When the Open dialog box appears, select the troublesome Word document but instead of clicking Open, click on the little arrow on the button and select Open and repair.