Fix Corrupted Word Files: A Complete Guide

Microsoft Word is one of the most widely used applications related to writing, text formatting, and word processing. Though, sometimes while working on MS Word, you might encounter unwanted issues and errors. Chances are that you can get your Word file corrupt as well. In this case, you can follow some basic steps to learn how to fix corrupted Word files. There are all kinds of solutions to fix a Word document, depending on different scenarios. We have discussed all of these techniques to fix corrupt Word documents here.

Part 1 An All-In-One Solution: How to Fix Corrupted Word Files

If you don't want to go through any unwanted hassle while repairing a corrupt Word file, then why not use a dedicated repairing tool. Out of all the applications out there, Stellar Phoenix Word Repair is known to yield positive results in less time. Packed with numerous features, it is a must-have tool for every regular user of Microsoft Word.

file Repair Toolkit

  • Repair 4 types of files, namely Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Zip.
  • Offer excellent search options to find corrupted files instantly.
  • Preview and recover all the data contained in the corrupted files.
  • Repair files are corrupted due to different causes and from all devices.

Stellar Phoenix Word Repair is a user-friendly and highly advanced Word repairing software. It can fix a Microsoft Word corrupt file under different scenarios and that too without changing its formatting or getting rid of the existing data. The tool is compatible with all the popular versions of MS Word and supports DOC as well as DOCX files. By following a simple click-through process, anyone can learn how to fix a corrupt Word document using Stellar Phoenix. Here are some of its major features:

  • It can repair any Word file that has been corrupted due to different reasons and under various scenarios. The tool has one of the highest success rates in the industry.
  • There are three different repairing options (Simple, Advanced, and Raw Recovery) to repair all kinds of files.
  • You can also preview the recovered texts and documents in different ways (like full document, filtered text, or raw text).
  • The tool can even repair online media files (photos and videos) that are inserted in Word 2013.
  • The interface can help you search for a corrupt Word file as well if you can't identify its location.
  • It has an easy to use DIY interface and can fix all types of Word errors.
  • Supports both DOC and DOCX files as it is compatible with Microsoft Word 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, and more.

Part 2 How to fix corrupted Word files with Stellar Phoenix?

The tool runs on all the leading Windows versions and also features a free trial as well. To learn how to uncorrupt a Word file using Stellar Phoenix Word Repair, follow these steps:

Step 1: Install and Launch Stellar Phoenix Word Repair

Start by visiting the official website of Stellar Phoenix Word Repair and install the application on your Windows. Launch it whenever you wish to fix the corrupt Word document. Beforehand, close the existing Word document that you think has been corrupted.

Step 2: Select and load the corrupt Word file

Once you have launched the application, you can easily select the corrupt file. You can browse the entire drive or visit any specific folder. Additionally, you can select subfolders and make multiple selections as well.

The interface will let you know the number of selected files. After making sure that all the corrupt files have been loaded, click on the "Scan" button. This will repair the Microsoft Word corrupt files that are loaded. You might have to wait for a few seconds for the process to be completed.

Step 3: Preview and save the file

After completing the repairing process, the interface will provide a preview of the repaired Word file. You can switch between different files from the left panel and view their content on the right.

If you are satisfied with the results, then choose to save the file. You can save the file to a default location or provide any other location manually as well. Furthermore, you can save the whole document, the filtered text, or raw text.

Step 4: Use the advanced tool (optional)

In case if you are not satisfied with the results, then you can choose to perform an Advanced Repair as well. Just click on its option from the toolbar to start it.

If the Word file has been severely damaged and corrupted, then you can perform a Raw Recovery on it as well. Go to its icon on the toolbar to explore the raw recovery option.

Part 3 How to Fix "The File Is Corrupt and Cannot Be Opened by Word"

Too many times, while working with MS Word, you might encounter an error stating "The File is corrupt and cannot be opened".

This means that the MS Word file has been severely damaged and can't be retrieved by the application. If you want, you can use Stellar Phoenix to resolve this issue. Besides that, the following suggestions are also recommended to fix corrupt Word document.

1. Scan the File System Errors with CHKDSK

The CHKDSK (Check Disk) is the native command of Windows to repair any bad sector and the files stored in it. If your MS Word file has been corrupted due to the same issue, then the command might be helpful.

Firstly, visit the Run application and type cmd to launch the Command Prompt. Now, you can go to the directory where the Word document is stored or simply type CHKDSK followed by its path. You can use the following format:

CHKDSK < drive << path < filename>> [/R]

Once you press enter, simply wait for a while as the Word file would be repaired.

2. Use the Inbuilt "Open and Repair" Utility

Almost all the Microsoft Office tools have a native feature that can repair a file automatically. Accessing it is extremely easy. Just launch Microsoft Word on your computer and go to its File menu > Open. A browser window will be launched so that you can select the corrupt Word file. Now, instead of opening it the usual way, click on the dropdown button and choose to "Open and Repair" the file instead.

3. Recover from the Previous Version

One of the best things about MS Word is that it automatically stores the previous versions of a file in its cache. Therefore, if the present version has been compromised, then you can still access your data through an existing version.

Just launch Microsoft Word on your computer and go to File > Open. Now, browse to the location where the Microsoft Word corrupt file is stored. Instead of opening it, you can view its previous versions. Later, you can compare both the versions to fix corrupt Word document.


4. Recover Text from Any File

Sometimes, when a Word file is corrupted, its existing extension is changed. In addition to that, a file can also get corrupt if you have forcefully changed its extension or converted it. The good news is that you can still learn how to uncorrupt a Word file in this scenario.

As you launch Microsoft Word on your system, simply choose to open a file. By default, it will only show the DOC and DOCX files. Go to the File type/extension dropdown option and choose the "Recover text from any file" feature. Now, you can view all kinds of files. Just select the file of your choice and let Word extract all the textual content from it.


5. Open the Corrupt File as a Copy

If nothing else would work, then you can simply open the corrupt file as its copy and try to recover its data. In this method, the original file won't be damaged in any other way. To fix Word document, launch the application and go to File > Open. Browse the corrupt Word file and click on the dropdown icon adjacent to the Open button. From here, you can choose to open the file as a copy.

Part 4 How to Fix Corrupt Word Document That Can Be Opened?

If you can open a corrupt Word document, then you can easily recover its data (at least the textual content).

There could be different reasons for the content to become unavailable or unreadable. In this case, you can follow these suggestions to fix Word documents.

1. Save the Corrupt Word File as RTF Format

RTF stands for Rich Text Format which was earlier used in MS Word and is still accepted by editors like Notepad or WordPad. Therefore, you can simply save the file in RTF format first and later try to access its content. Saving a file as RTF is extremely easy. Just open the document, go to the File menu, and click on the "Save As" option. Now, go to the File format dropdown menu and choose RTF as the selected format. Later, you can open the RTF file in Word or even WordPad.


2. Open Word Document in Draft Mode

It was in Word 2010 when Microsoft introduced the Draft mode to its signature application. Beforehand, make sure that the Draft mode is enabled on your Word. Go to its File menu > Options > Advanced and turn on the Draft mode option from here.

Now, go to the "View" tab on the main menu and click on the "Draft" option. Once the Draft mode has been enabled, you can try to open the corrupt file again.

3. Recover from the Previous Version

The newer versions of Microsoft Office (like 365 and MS Word 2010+) also save the edited documents in the background. In case if you can't open the file the usual way, then try this method. Launch MS Word and go to its Options. In some versions, it is listed under the Info tab. Go to the Manage Documents option and choose to recover previously unsaved documents. From here, you can access the previous versions of a Word document that could be corrupted presently.

4. Open Word Files with Notepad

Since Notepad is a basic word processor, it can often be used to resolve unwanted issues with a corrupt Word file. It has its encoding system that often works and lets us access the textual content from a damaged file. Opening a Word file in Notepad is extremely easy. Simply select the file, right-click it, and choose to open it with Notepad.

Besides that, you can also launch the Notepad application on your system. Go to its File menu and click on the "Open" button. Simply browse the location and open the Microsoft Word corrupt file now.

5. Rebuild the File Header

As you know, every file contains metadata such as its header, body, footer, and so on. Sometimes, there could be a problem with the Word document's header or even the entire header section could be missing.

To rebuild the file header, you can take the assistance of any hexadecimal editor. Once you open the file in a Hex editor, you can view various hexadecimal codes. Now, alter the header or type the relevant codes to build its header. This is a technical solution and would require prior knowledge of Hexadecimal codes.


Part 5 What is a DOCX File?

It was with the release of Word 2007 when Microsoft launched its new extension .docx that replaced the existing .doc extension. It reduces the size of a Word document and provides various formatting options to its users as well. DOCX is an XML based and open extension that was initially developed by Microsoft. As of now, it is used by other Word processors besides MS Word-like Open Office, Kingsoft Writer, Libre Office, and even Google Docs.

If you have a DOC Word document, then you can easily convert it to a DOCX version or vice-versa. For instance, if you have a DOCX document, then go to its File > Save As menu and choose to save it as a Word 97-2003 document. This will automatically convert the DOCX file to a DOC document. If it is a DOC file, then you can save it to a Word document and choose DOCX as its extension.

Some of the major features that the DOCX extension supports are:

  • Inclusion of hyperlinks
  • Better formatting options for tables, charts, images, and so on
  • It takes lesser disk space than DOC files
  • Seamless modification, editing, and formatting options
  • Insertion of JPG, GIF, and even videos of all kinds
  • Integration with mathematical formulas
  • Advanced styling like shadowing, skewing, and more
  • Better recovery and repairing options
  • The file can easily be converted into other versions like XML or PDF

Part 6 What causes a Microsoft Word File to get Corrupt?

Even though by now you know how to fix corrupted Word files in different ways, it is important to know what could have caused the problem in the first place. In this way, you can avoid these unwanted situations and protect your Word documents.

  • An unexpected shutdown: It happens when your system shuts down or is restarted when the Word file is still being used and is closed unexpectedly. Just make sure that your system has backup power to avoid this.
  • A malware attack: A virus attack can also corrupt your file. Different kinds of malware can make your file inaccessible, change its encoding, or make it unreadable. To avoid this, you can maintain its backup and save it to any other secure location.
  • Change in metadata: If the header or any other meta component of the file has been corrupted or removed, then it can also damage the file. It can be resolved using a third-party tool like Stellar Phoenix.
  • Corrupt storage: A bad sector on the system's drive or a corrupt storage unit can also tamper with the quality of your files. Since the storage unit has been corrupted, it will automatically affect all the data present in it.
  • Change in file's extension: If you have forcefully changed the extension of the document, then it can also make it inaccessible. The Word application might not recognize the file or can face difficulty encoding it.
  • Third-party tools: Sometimes, unreliable third-party tools can also mishandle the Word file and change its meta component, making it corrupt.
  • File conversion: There are all kinds of online and offline file converters available. Sadly, the overuse of an unreliable tool and the multiple conversations of the file from one format to another can also affect its data.
  • Other issues: Besides that, there can be other reasons for a file to get corrupt. For instance, if the Word application has been corrupted after a bad setup, then it can also damage the file. A problem with the encoding of the file can also make it unreadable.

After reading this guide, you would be able to learn how to fix a corrupt Word document for sure. As you can see, Stellar Phoenix Word Repair is a powerful and user-friendly tool that can fix corrupt Word documents of all types and under different scenarios. Without any prior technical experience, you can use the tool and repair any Word file like a pro. Give it a try and share this guide with others to teach them how to uncorrupt a Word file. Also, you may want to how to recover a corrupt Word file.

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