How to Repair a Corrupt or Damaged Word File

When your Microsoft Word .doc and .docx files are damaged or corrupted due to various reasons and you cannot open them successfully with Word, you can use the following methods to repair the corrupt file:

Note: Before starting a data recovery procedure, you need to make a backup of your original corrupt Word file. This is the most important step that many will forget.

    1. First, Microsoft Word has a built-in repair function. When it detects there are corruptions in your Word file, it will start File Recovery mode and try to repair the file for you. In some cases, if the File Recovery mode is not start automatically, then you can force Word to repair your file manually. Take Word 2013 as an example, the steps are:
      1. In the File menu, select Open.
      2. In the Open dialog box, choose the desired file, and click the arrow next to the Open button.
      3. Select Open and Repair, and then Word will try to repair the corrupt file and open it in a new document window. You can save the new document as a new file.

      The recovery procedures are a little different for different versions of Word. Below is a list of the article URLs that for different versions of Word:

      Word version Article URL
      2003 https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/troubleshoot/word/damaged-documents-in-word
      2007 to 2021 https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/open-a-document-after-a-file-corruption-error-47df9d48-2165-4411-a699-1786ac734bc3

      Based on our test, method 1 mainly works for the cases when corruptions occur in the tail of the file. But will not work when corruptions occur in the header or middle of the file.

    2. In case you have multiple damaged Word documents, use the VBA macro found in this article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/open-a-document-after-a-file-corruption-error-47df9d48-2165-4411-a699-1786ac734bc3. ┬áThis macro can batch open multiple files with the “Open and Repair” option.
    3. Several free third-party tools can also open and read Word documents, including OpenOffice, LibReOffice, AbiWord and Google Docs. Sometimes, these tools may successfully open a document that Word cannot. In such cases, once the document is opened, save it as a new, error-free file.
    4. For docx files, which are essentially a collection of files compressed in Zip format, corruption may be due to issues with the Zip file itself. In such cases, using Zip repair tools like DataNumen Zip Repair can help fix the problem, as described below:
      1. Suppose the damaged document is named mydoc.docx, then you need to rename it to mydoc.zip
      2. Using DataNumen Zip Repair to fix mydoc.zip, creating a repaired file named mydoc_fixed.zip.
      3. Rename mydoc_fixed.zip to mydoc_fixed.docx.
      4. Open mydoc_fixed.docx with Microsoft Word.

      When opening the repaired file in Word, you may encounter some warnings. Disregard them and Word will attempt to open and fix the file. If the file opens successfully, save the content to a new error-free file.

    5. If the aforementioned methods do not work, then you can use DataNumen Word Repair to solve the problem. It will analyze the damaged file and automatically create a new, error-free file for you.