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Cannot Convert a Document File to a Readable Document

Shane is using Word 2002. He writes a lot, and so uses many Word files. These days when he opens a Word file it will often times be a page full of yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy with two dots on top of each y. Once in a while Word suggests that he load a converter, which he does from the original Office installation discs. Even with the suggested converter loaded, the document still stays a page of yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy characters.

There are two possibilities at work here. First (and most likely), the document you are trying to load is corrupted. If the problem occurs with files you get from other people, it is possible that the files became corrupted in transmission. If the files are on your computer and they previously opened properly, then the problem could be because of some corruption on your hard drive. (You can run some good hard drive diagnostic programs to figure out if this is the problem.)

The section possibility is that what you are trying to open is not really a Word document, but a different type of file created by a different program. It is even possible that the file is one of the temporary files created by Word. (These temporary files are supposed to be deleted when you normally exit a Word session, but may not be deleted if you exit Word abnormally.)

You will want to identify and rectify the underlying problem with the files. If it is some type of corruption on your hard drive, then you should get that fixed. If it is some type of corruption in the files being provided by someone else, you should get new files from the other person.

Finally, if the file you are having problems opening work just fine on another Word system, then you may want to check into doing a reinstall or repair of your Word installation. It could be that something this simple is all that is required to fix the problem.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (581) applies to Microsoft Word 2002.

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Comments for this tip:

Allen    09 Dec 2015, 08:12
GeordieLad: That explains it! The "open and repair" feature was not added to Word until Word 2002; it was not available in your version of the program.


GeordieLad    09 Dec 2015, 06:29
Allen: Still using Word 2000.

Allen    08 Dec 2015, 09:02
GeordieLad: What version of Word are yo using?

GeordieLad    08 Dec 2015, 06:41
Thank you Allen for that pointer. However, the resultant menu I get from that dropdown arrow is Open, Open Read Only or Open as Copy - with Open in Browser grayed out. This applies to all of the files in the folder, regardless of File Type (although, understandably, Open in Browser becomes an active option for .html file types). Could it be because I don't have any corrupted files? If not, why haven't I got the Open and Repair option?

Any further advice will be appreciated.
Allen    07 Dec 2015, 09:00
GeordieLad: The "Open and Repair" option is not found through the "Files of Type" drop-down list. It is found by clicking the drop-down arrow next to the Open button.

Hope that helps.

GeordieLad    07 Dec 2015, 06:03

Sorry if I'm being a bit of a thicko but I can't find that Open and Repair option listed in the drop down list for “Files of type” in my Word 2000. Maybe it's because I haven't got a corrupted file to work with (I've even tried corrupting the name of a good file) - or maybe I'm not looking where you intended. Whatever, can you please explain further?

Regards and thanks in anticipation.
Ken Endacott    06 Dec 2015, 05:43

Click File > Open

In the dialog box, select the file that requires recovery.

The Open button at the bottom has a down arrow to the right. Click this arrow and select Open and Repair. If the file is not too badly corrupted then this will recover the document.

The last resort XML method only works on .docx files which are compressed using the zip method. The approach is to unzip the file thus allowing a text editor to read the text even though you may not be able to understand the embedded XML instructions. You can also use a XML editor that might recover the formatting. Many of the commercial recovery programs do this for you.

.doc files are not compressed and you can look into them directly with a text editor.
GeordieLad    05 Dec 2015, 05:34
For Ken Endicott:

By Open > drop down menu, do you mean the “Files of type” box which has a dropdown option listed as Recover Text from any File (*.*)?

Just needed clarification but thanks for all of your other useful comments or offerings.
Ken Endacott    04 Dec 2015, 06:09
Word has a document recovery option in the drop down menu on the Open button in the Open window.

Other than that there are numerous products available to recover documents, google "corrupted word documents".

If all else fails you may be able to recover unformatted text by changing the file extension to .zip and looking at the xml version with a text editor or an xml editor. Make sure that you work on a copy of the file.
GeordieLad    03 Dec 2015, 07:21

Assuming you saved the file as a Word .doc or similar, have you tried loading it, highlighting it (Alt+A) and selecting Arial in the font box of the main toolbar? If this makes your text readable, proceed from there with whatever font you wish.

Best of luck.
Dagim    02 Dec 2015, 10:41
Hi,I changed the font of a document I was writing to one of microsofts chess-looking fonts and accidentally saved it. Now all I see is a page full of ??????????????. Helppppppp?!?!?!

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