Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Opening a Backup File.

Opening a Backup File

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 31, 2011)


In other issues of WordTips you learned that Word does not automatically save backup files of your documents, but that you can enable such a feature. If you instruct Word to save backup files, there will undoubtedly come a time when you want to open one of the backup files. The process of opening a backup file is very similar to the process of opening a regular document. Follow these steps:

  1. Select Open from the File menu or click on the Open tool on the toolbar. Word displays the Open dialog box.
  2. In the File Name box, type *.WBK and press Enter.
  3. Use the controls in the dialog box to navigate to the folder that contains your backup file.
  4. Select the desired backup file from the list of files.
  5. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1180) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Opening a Backup File.

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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What is four less than 8?

2016-04-03 14:26:40


I do everything you say, but the document opens up in gobbledegook, for lack of a better word. It's unreadable junk. How can I get to the actual text? Thanks, I really hope someone can help me.

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