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: Determining if a Document is Corrupt.

Determining if a Document is Corrupt

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 16, 2013)

3

Vivian noted that there are times she suspects that a document may be corrupt, but she doesn't really know for sure. This leads her to wonder if there is an easy way to verify the integrity of a document or to easily tell if a document is corrupt.

The short answer is that there is no way to easily tell if a document is corrupted. The internal structure of Word documents is quite complex, and complexity always presents the possibility of corruption. The severity of the corruption can manifest itself in different ways. Some problems may result in a minor "glitch" (such as a character or two changing in a document) that can be easily corrected. Other problems may result in document instability or, in severe cases, a document that is completely unusable.

If you suspect a document is corrupt and you can still open the document, these steps represent the "tried and true" first line of trying to recover the document:

  1. Open the corrupt document.
  2. Create a brand new document.
  3. Switch to the corrupt document.
  4. Press Ctrl+A. This selects the entire document.
  5. Hold down the Shift key as you press the Left Arrow key. This makes sure that the very last character in the document (the ending paragraph mark) is not selected.
  6. Press Ctrl+C. This copies the selected portion of the document to the Clipboard.
  7. Switch to the new document (the one created in step 2).
  8. Press Ctrl+V. The contents of the Clipboard are pasted into the blank document.
  9. Save the new document.
  10. Close the document you suspect is corrupted.

If you are using Word 2003 there is something else you can try, as well. When you are attempting to open a document, you'll normally find yourself staring at the Open dialog box. Use the controls in the dialog box to locate the file you think is corrupted, then click the down arrow at the right of the Open button. In the resulting options, choose Open and Repair.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3798) 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: Determining if a Document is Corrupt.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Data Source File in Word 2003

The security features introduced in Word 2003 resulted in a change in the dialog boxes you see when opening mail-merge source ...

Discover More

Closing Documents after a Hyperlink

When you click a hyperlink that takes you to another document, Word dutifully opens the new document in its own window. What ...

Discover More

Continuing Macro Lines

Program a macro, and you can easily find that some lines get very long. If you want to shorten the lines so they are more ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Full Path Names in Word

An easy way to display the document's full path name in the title bar.

Discover More

Moving Quickly Between Directories

Want an easy way to move between directories using the Open dialog box? With just a little bit of up-front typing, you can ...

Discover More

Can't Save Edited Document

Each day of using Word is filled with opening documents, editing them, and then saving those changes to disk. So it can be ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 0?

2017-05-05 11:20:51

bence zakonyi

just saved my life!
Thank you very much, your advice is more than helpful!


2015-05-12 07:35:46

Shane

Thank god for this, I would have lost my 400 word document otherwise, thank you so much


2014-10-29 08:30:53

JosephGal

DOC Repair Kit is a comprehensive Microsoft Word DOC repair tool with immense potential and an interface that makes the entire procedure a snap. Based on a lightning-fast proprietary core, the program knows how to repair Word DOC files in situations when other tools appear completely helpless.

For more information: http://www.doc.repair/

If this way didn’t work, try to find the answer here: http://www.filerepairforum.com/forum/microsoft/microsoft-aa/word/392-how-to-repair-word-after-the-file-is-corrupted-and-cannot-be-opened


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.