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How to Recover the Text and Data in a Word Document

Microsoft Word is so popular, it’s practically the default word processing software. But it’s not infallible. If your Word document is on the fritz or won’t open, try these .docx repair tips to recover your work.

If your Word document is corrupted, you’ll often get a message like: “Word experienced an error trying to open the file.” This can stem from a range of issues.

Determine Whether it’s a Damaged Document or a Deeper Problem

If one file is acting up, it’s tempting to assume it’s an isolated issue with just that file. But before you go through the trouble of trying to fix that document, check a few of your other Word files. If you use any other Microsoft Office programs like Excel or Outlook, check some of those files for strange behavior as well. If you’re seeing similar problems across multiple files, you may have a hardware or software issue to deal with, not just a problem with that specific file. Here are a few behaviors to watch out for:• Renumbering pages in a document• Shifting page breaks in a document• Flawed layout and formatting for no apparent reason• Unfamiliar characters on the screen that you didn’t put there

First, Cover Your Bases

You may be getting this error message for reasons other than a corrupted Word document. Eliminate those possibilities first. Check your permissions to make sure you’re not locked out of the file for some reason. Then check your computer’s CPU and memory usage. Sometimes people experience issues opening Word files when their computer is too overloaded and bogged down by processing tasks.

After you’ve checked those two things and know for sure that’s not the cause of your problem, move on to troubleshooting.

How to Recover Your Text and Data

Open Word and navigate to the file that’s giving you problems. Instead of opening it, select “Recover Text from Any File” in the file type dropdown menu options. Now, open your file. You should be able to open it and see your text without any problems.

Of course, no fix works 100% of the time. If that doesn’t solve your problem, try forcing Word to repair the file.

Force Word to Repair the Word Document

In Word, click “File” and “Open.” Navigate to the corrupted file. On the “Open” button, you’ll see an arrow that creates a dropdown menu. In that menu, click “Open and Repair.” Word will then try to troubleshoot the file on the back end, which should leave you with a usable file again.

Dealing with damaged Word documents is frustrating and stressful, especially if you do the bulk of your work in Word. But knowing a few .docx repair tips can go a long way in preserving your peace of mind.

To prevent running into issues with recovering Word files over and over again, we strongly recommend setting up your Word files to back up automatically. That way, you’ll always have a version of documents to fall back on, and you won’t have to worry about losing your information all the time.

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