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)

2

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

Jumping to a Relative Section

Navigating through a long document can be challenging, at times. Here's a way you can move forward or backwards in your ...

Discover More

Setting Your Default Directory

You may want to have all your Excel workbooks stored in a specific location on your system. Here's how to set the default ...

Discover More

Displaying a Count of Zeros on the Status Bar

Excel allows you to display the results of several common worksheet functions on the status bar. The available functions are ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Dates Updating when Converting

Word allows you to convert documents from WordPerfect format to Word. In doing so, you may notice that some dates in the ...

Discover More

Complex Searches for Documents

When working with lots of documents, you may have need from time to time to discover which of those documents contain some ...

Discover More

Confirming File Conversions

Open a file that isn't a Word document and Word will still try to convert it to a Word document. If you want Word to let you ...

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 for this tip:

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 one more than 2?

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


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.

Links and Sharing
Share