Cannot Convert a Document File to a Readable Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 8, 2016)

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.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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