Word 2013 – How to recover corrupt DOCX documents

The following steps detail how I recover DOCX files that have become corrupted.

This process will only work for DOCX files and depending on the level of corruption it may or may not help you recover your document.

The corrupt documents I’ve come across always give the following message when opened

We're sorry. We can't open document name because we found a problem with its contents.
Details: No error details available.



The solution to this issue is to browse the DOCX document and it’s associated files, take a copy of the file that holds the document text and copy it into another blank DOCX document.

The steps below detail how to do this.

To be able to complete these steps you need to configure your computer to disable extensions for know file types. If you have not already done this , or not sure if you have, you need to first follow the steps here: www.itsupportguides.com/windows-7/windows-7-how-to-display-file-extensions

  1. COPY your corrupted document to a temporary location such as the desktop
  2. Open Word 2013 and click ‘FILE’ -> ‘Save As’ -> ‘Computer’
  3. MSWORD2013-RecoverCorrupt2
  4. Save the document the same temporary location, such as your desktop
  5. MSWORD2013-RecoverCorrupt3
  6. Rename the extension for both files to be .zip, for example CorruptDocument.docx.zip – this will allow Windows to browse the file contents
  7. MSWORD2013-RecoverCorrupt4
  8. Double-click on the corrupt document then open the ‘Word’ folder
  9. Right-click on the ‘document.xml’ file and choose ‘Copy’
  10. MSWORD2013-RecoverCorrupt5
  11. Go back to your temporary folder and choose ‘Paste’ – this is s nesecary step, you cannot directly copy and paste from one ZIP file to another using the built in ZIP file tool in Windows 7
  12. Right-click  on the document.xml file and choose ‘Copy’
  13. Double click on the new blank document then open the ‘Word’ folder
  14. Right-click in an empty area and choose ‘Paste’
  15. MSWORD2013-RecoverCorrupt6
  16. Select ‘Copy and Replace’
  17. Now return to your temporary folder and rename the blank document to be .DOCX, for exmaple Doc1.docx
  18. Double-click on the blank document and you should find it now opens and displays the data from the corrupt document. Some formatting may be lost, but the contents should still be accessible.

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6 comments on “Word 2013 – How to recover corrupt DOCX documents

  1. Hey Adrian,
    Help me please. when i double-click on the corrupt document it didn’t open and error ” The Compressed (zipped) Folder ‘C:……’ is invalid.

    1. Is the file size saying 0? It’s not sounding very hopeful but I would try opening it using 7zip (it’s a power tool that handles zip files – it might be able to work with a corrupt ZIP file better) and then failing that try online tools or programs that claim to repair either corrupt ZIP files or docx files (depending).

    2. Thanks for reply. Lemme explain my story…today when i open one of my word file to edit this error was make me shock and when i try other word files i see all the office files and also pdf files didn’t open. I dont know what happen also cant restore my system because of no point. I really stuck all my word files infected i think help me please how to remove this error how to recover.

    3. I don’t want to make you anxious … but if you’re finding other files are also not opening (saying they’re corrupted) it sounds like a much bigger issue, such as a hardware issue or malware (like a Crytpo-locker type malware – that encrypts all your files silently in the background then sends you a ransom to get your files back). First step I would do is check for malware using a tool like Malware Bytes https://www.malwarebytes.com/ If that passes I would then check for hardware issues – this process depends on the manufacture of your system, for example if you have a brand name system like ‘Dell’ they’ll have a hardware scanning tool available outside of Windows.

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