How to recover corrupt Word Documents

The problem

It can be deplorably frustrating when you try opening your perfectly fine word documents only to be greeted with the error message below.

Word error

Word docx file

If this has happened to you, then this post was written with you in mind.

Does this mean you cannot ever read your files? Well, fortunately you still can. I would want to show how you too can quickly fix this problem.

You would need a few tools and even fewer steps to fix it. In no time at all, you will be able to read your Word documents.

What you need

  • A file editor (I used Notepad plus plus)
  • A zipping or file archiving program ( I used WinRAR )


When you have the tools to salvage the situation, all that is left is a little direction.


I should first start with a little notice. And that is you should be comfortable changing file extensions. If you are not, then you might end up permanently corrupting your file!

With that out of the way, let us commence with the steps;

Change from Word to Zip

  • You first start with your word document.

Word docx file

  • Change the .docx file to .zip format.

Word error details

  • Extract just the one corrupt .xml file from the compressed folder. That file would have been the one that showed up in the error message.

Word error details

  • By using your word editor pretty print the .xml file with line breaks. All we are trying to do here is to format the xml file into several lines instead of one long line.
  • Save the .xml file back into the .zip file.

Word error details

Change from Zip back to Word

  • Change the .zip file back into .docx file

Word error details

Half way done

Hold on a minute, you are still not done yet;

  • Open the .docx file again. You will have an error. But this time around you will be able to determine which line number the error occurs on.

With that piece of information you now know which block of code to take out. Once this block is taken out, your headache is also gone.

Change from Word to Zip for a second time

  • Change the file from .docx back to .zip

Word error details

  • Extract the corrupt .xml file from the .zip
  • Open the .xml file and delete that entire block of code.
  • Save the .xml file
  • Save the .xml back into the .zip file

The final touch

  • Change the extensions of the .zip file back to .docx

And viola your problem is solved.

I honestly hope that it proves to be useful to someone out there.

Thank you for reading. Do not forget to subscribe, bookmark, and share the post. Have a great day. Cheers.

Anthony Eli Agbenu would love to get in touch
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