How to recover your corrupt word documents


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Reading Time: 3 minutes

It can be deplorably frustrating when you try opening your perfectly fine word documents only to be faced with an error message.

If this has happened to you, then this post was written with you in mind.

Sometime earlier this week this occurred with me.  Just like me you would be oblivious as to why this is the error came up. Does this mean you cannot ever read your files? Well yes you can.

I would want to show how you too can quickly fix this problem. You would need a few tools and steps to fix it though and be able to read your word documents.

What you need

  • A file editor (I used Notepad plus plus)
  • A zipping or file archiving program ( I used WinRAR )

The steps

When you have the tools to salvage the situation, all that is left is a little direction. I should first start with a warning. And that is you should be comfortable changing file extensions. If you are not, then you might end up permanently corrupting your file.

With that out of the way, let us commence with the steps;

  • You first start with your word document.

  • Change the .docx file to .zip format

  • Extract just the one corrupt .xml file from the compressed folder. That file would have been the one that showed up in the error message.

  • By using your word editor pretty print the .xml file with line breaks. All we are trying to do here is to format the xml file into several lines instead of one long line.

  • Save the .xml file back into the .zip file.

  • Change the .zip file back into .docx file

You are still not done yet. However we are half way through.

  • Open the .docx file again. You will have an error. But this time around you will be able to determine which line number the error occurs on. With that piece of information you now know which block of code to take out and which is causing you so much headache.

  • Change the file from .docx back to .zip

  • Extract the corrupt .xml file from the .zip

  • Open the .xml file and delete that entire block of code.
  • Save the .xml file

  • Save the .xml back into the .zip file

  • Change the extensions of the .zip file back to .docx

  • And viola your problem is solved.


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