When it comes to digital documentation, Microsoft Word files dominate the scene due to their user-friendly interface and versatile features. However, like other digital data, MS Word files can sometimes become corrupt due to various reasons, rendering them inaccessible. This can be frustrating, especially if it’s an important document and you don’t have a backup.

how to repair a corrupt ms word document

Looking at the error message “Word experienced an error trying to open your file” is really bad. Users often find it hard to handle such scenarios and look for effective solutions to repair the corrupted Word file.

In this guide, we explain the steps of the repair process, the possible reasons behind file corruption, and the most common symptoms that indicate a corrupted document. This comprehensive yet easy-to-understand guide is undoubtedly an important help for anyone facing MS Word file corruption. Whether you’re tech-savvy or not, this guide will effectively guide you through the repair process.

How to Fix a Corrupt MS Word File

Before we get into the tips on how to fix corrupted Word documents, let’s first understand why this error occurs and why it might have happened to you.

What Corrupts an MS Word File?

Usually, a Word file will be corrupted if it is not saved properly. Below, you will find some reasons why your MS Word document may have been corrupted:

how to repair a corrupt ms word document

  • Power outages: If your computer’s power is interrupted while you are working on a Word document, the document may become corrupted. This can happen if your computer’s battery is dead or there is a power outage.
  • Software crashes: Another reason why your Word file gets corrupted is software crashes. If there is an error in the software or your computer’s memory is depleted, the MS Word software may crash, and the file you are working on will be damaged.
  • Improper shutdown: If you do not shut down your system properly, your Word documents may get corrupted. It is always advisable to close all tasks, save them, and then shut down your system properly.
  • File transfer: A Word document can get corrupted during file transfer. If there is a problem with the storage media or the file transfer is interrupted, the file may get corrupted.
  • Hardware failure: If your system’s hardware fails while you are working on a Word document, this can cause a Word file to become corrupted. This can happen due to a hard drive failure or other problems with the system’s memory or hardware.
  • Virus or malware infection: If your computer gets infected with a virus or malware, your files, including Word documents, may also get corrupted.

Simple Steps to Recover a Corrupted MS Word File

Using Open and Repair Command

Microsoft has a built-in tool to repair corrupted Word files. It is easily accessible and can help you repair your corrupted files.

Step-By-Step Guide to Repair Word Document Using Open and Repair Command:

  1. Press the Start button or click the Start icon on your screen.
  2. Search for Word and launch the Word app.
  3. Click Open – in the left side panel.
  4. Now click Browse and a new window will open.
  5. Search for the damaged document and select it.
  6. On the bottom-right side of the new window, click on the drop-down and select “Open and Repair.”

repair word document using open and repair command

This will repair the damaged MS Word file and open the file in Word. This is the fastest and easiest method to recover a damaged Word document. However, if for some reason it does not work, try the other methods listed below.

Using Google Docs

Another way to recover data from a corrupted Word file is to use Google Docs. When the document is opened in Google Docs, you can make a copy of it and save your data.

Step-By-Step Guide to Repair Word Document Using Google Docs:

  1. Open Google Chrome and go to Google Docs.
  2. Tap on the Open File Picker icon/folder icon just below the template area on the right side of the screen.
  3. Now, click Upload and a new window will open.
  4. Select the corrupted Word document you want to repair and open it.

repair word document using google docs

Once the document is uploaded, it will automatically open in Google Docs. Make a copy of it and download it. If that doesn’t help either, try the next step.

Using a New Word Document

You can also use a new Word document to recover data from a corrupted Word file. To do this, you just need to open a new Word file and try to paste the corrupted file into the new doc file. Chances are pretty high that the corrupted file will be opened, but it may fail. Try it anyway!

Step-By-Step Guide to Repair Word Document Using New Word Document:

  1. Open a new Word document.
  2. Tap Insert on the ribbon.
  3. Look for the Object button next to the “Text Box” icon.
  4. Select Object from the drop-down list.
  5. Now click Create from File and locate the damaged file.
  6. Select your file and click Open.

repair word document using new word document

This would have opened your corrupted document, as shown above. If that’s not the case, we have a few more methods you can use to repair your corrupted Word file.

Using Notepad

It is possible to recover the text data without formatting by using Notepad on your computer. You will get the data as plain text and lose all formatting and images.

Step-By-Step Guide to Repair Word Document Using Notepad:

  1. Go to the location of the corrupted file on your computer.
  2. Right-click on the file and select the “Open with” option.
  3. Click Notepad. If Notepad does not appear automatically, click “Choose another app” and then Notepad.

repair word document using notepad

Copy and paste the text and save it in another document. However, sometimes you get gibberish in the Notepad document, which is why many don’t prefer this route. But if you’re lucky enough to recover your text data, it’s worth a try.

Other Methods

There are some other methods you can try if none of the above work for you. Some of these are:

a. Recovering Data as text

The steps are similar to the first method we discussed above.

  1. Press the Start button or click the Start icon on your screen.
  2. Search for Word and launch the Word app.
  3. Click Open – in the left sidebar.
  4. Now, click Browse and a new window will open.
  5. Search for the corrupted doc and select it.
  6. At the bottom right of the new window, click the All Files drop-down menu and select Recover Text from Any File.
  7. Open the document.

recovering data as text

Once the document is open, copy all the data and paste it into another document.

b. From Version History

This method is only useful if you didn’t restart or shut down your computer after the file was detected as corrupted. Also, you must be using the same computer on which the file was created. So if you’re using a different system, this method won’t work.

  1. Navigate to the folder where your corrupted file is located.
  2. Right-click on the document and click Restore previous version (if you don’t see this option directly, look under Show more options)
  3. A new window will open, where you can see the previous versions of the selected document.
  4. Choose OK to open it.

recovering data from version history

Using a File Repair Tool

If you are looking for ways to fix a corrupted file, you will find a plethora of tools and platforms that promise to recover data from a corrupted Word file. In reality, however, very few of them actually work.

Below you will find some tools and platforms that can actually help repair a corrupted MS Word file:

A. Online tools:

  1. https://online.officerecovery.com/word/
  2. https://onlinefile.repair/rtf
  3. https://word.recoverytoolbox.com/online/
  4. https://onlinefilerepair.com/word

B. Desktop tools:

  1. Wondershare Repairit
  2. GetData Word Repair

Tips to Prevent MS Word Files From Getting Corrupted

You can protect yourself from data loss and prevent MS Word files from getting corrupted with just one setting: the Autorecover function!

The Autorecover function saves the file data as a recovery file periodically at a certain time interval. If your system crashes (which is the most likely cause of file corruption), your file will be saved as a recovery file if this setting is enabled. When you restart your file, AutoRecover will try to open your document from the last saved state.

You can also recover your file from this path:

  1. C:\Users<UserName*>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word
  2. C:\Users<UserName*>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

*Enter your actual UserName there.

To enable this feature,

  1. Open Word
  2. Go to File, and then Options.
  3. A new window will open. Find the Save option on the left side of the ribbon.
  4. Select the Auto Save Files checkboxes.
  5. Make sure that the time interval in the Save AutoRecovery Information Every x Minutes section is small, such as 3 or 6 minutes, so that you can recover most of your data.
  6. Also, make sure that the Keep the last auto-recovered version when I close without saving box is checked.

how to turn on auto recovery in ms word?

That’s it. With this small setting, you can save your work from being lost and prevent files from being corrupted.

Also, saving your files to OneDrive is a great way to make sure your work is always backed up and accessible from any device.

Wrapping Up – Recover Your Data from the Corrupt MS Word File

I hope this blog was helpful for you to remove data and repair your corrupted MS Word file. All the methods mentioned above have been proven to work and can definitely help you in such difficult situations. Moreover, the above-mentioned tools and platforms are also useful for repairing corrupted files.

However, I recommend you always keep the auto-save feature enabled to avoid such problems.

FAQs About Fixing Corrupt MS Word Files

1. What causes an MS Word file to become corrupt?

There are several reasons why an MS Word file can get corrupted. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Power outage,
  • Software crashes,
  • Hardware failure,
  • Improper shutdown,
  • File transfer failure, etc.

2. Can Word Documents be recovered?

Yes, it is possible to recover Word documents. There are recovery tools built into Microsoft Word that you can use to recover data. One of these is the automatic recovery file in this path:

  • C:\Users<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Word
  • C:\Users<UserName>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\UnsavedFiles

3. How do I recover a document I accidentally deleted?

You can easily recover your accidentally deleted documents and files from the Recycle Bin. You can also check your Windows backup to see if the backup is enabled.

4. Can you uncorrupt a Word document?

Yes, we can uncorrupt a Word document by using the built-in repair feature in Microsoft Word or a third-party file repair tool. Here’s how:

  • Open Microsoft Word.
  • Click on the “File” tab.
  • Select “Open”.
  • Browse to the location of the corrupted Word file and select it.
  • Click on the arrow next to the “Open” button and select “Open and Repair.”
  • Word will try to repair the file. If it is successful, the file will open normally.

5. How can I tell if a Word file is corrupted?

There are a few ways to tell if a Word file is corrupted. Here are some of them:

  • The file does not open. This is the most obvious sign that a Word file is corrupted. If you try to open the file and it does not open, then it is likely corrupted.
  • The file opens, but the content is garbled. If the file opens, but the content is garbled or unreadable, then it is also likely corrupted.
  • The file opens, but the formatting is incorrect. If the file opens, but the formatting is incorrect, such as the text is all jumbled together or the fonts are changed, then it is also possible that the file is corrupted.
  • The file opens, but there are errors. If the file opens, but there are errors, such as missing pages or sections, then it is also possible that the file is corrupted.
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