When Word documents break

If a Word document won't open, you've got a host of repair and recovery options

On November 6th, an article appeared in the New York Times that all Word users should review.

The question in the Q and A column was Is it possible to extract the content from a corrupted Microsoft Word 2003 file that won't open? Turns out there are a number of options.

When opening a file with File -> Open, the "Files of Type" drop-down menu has an option to "Recover Text from Any File."

A more ambitious approach is to repair the document. In Word 2002, 2003 and 2007, use File -> Open, navigate to the file and select "Open and Repair" from the drop-down menu on the Open button.

In addition, the article links to Microsoft Knowledge Base articles with additional tips, and, a commercial product.

Let me add, that recovering and repairing may help or hurt. Thus, I suggest attempting each on a copy of the broken document, one created exclusively for this purpose.

See a summary of all my Defensive Computing postings.

Tags:
Security
About the author

    Michael Horowitz wrote his first computer program in 1973 and has been a computer nerd ever since. He spent more than 20 years working in an IBM mainframe (MVS) environment. He has worked in the research and development group of a large Wall Street financial company, and has been a technical writer for a mainframe software company.

    He teaches a large range of self-developed classes, the underlying theme being Defensive Computing. Michael is an independent computer consultant, working with small businesses and the self-employed. He can be heard weekly on The Personal Computer Show on WBAI.

    Disclosure.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments
    Latest Galleries from CNET
    The best and worst quotes of 2014 (pictures)
    A roomy range from LG (pictures)
    This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
    Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)
    Google Lunar XPrize: Testing Astrobotic's rover on the rocks (pictures)
    CNET's 15 favorite How Tos of 2014