'The file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents' Fixes

Ever have this error pop up: 'The file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents' error message while trying access your office documents like .docx or .xml files? On this page, we have provided three solutions including EaseUS office file recovery software to help!

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 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Table of Contents

Overview

There are three ways in all to fix 'The file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents' problem. The table below is an overview of the solution, read detailed content for full steps. 

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Windows Fixes - The File Cannot Be Opened
  1. Fix 1. Use Open and Repair...Full steps
  2. Fix 2. Use Google Docs...Full steps
  3. Fix 3. Use Word repair tool...Full steps
Mac Fixes - The File Cannot Be Opened
  1. 1. Edit the User Account Permissions...Full steps
  2. 2. Restart your Mac in Safe Mode...Full steps

"When I try to open a .docx file, Microsoft Word 2013 doesn't allow me to access the file and flashes an error message saying 'The file [.docx] cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents.' Clicking on the details displays an 'unspecified error'. Is there a way to recover the word document or its contents?" 

The file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents

Causes of the Error

There are many reasons to stop Microsoft Office from working correctly and saying the .docx or .xml file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents. The following are the most common causes for Word files cannot be opened.

  • Large-sized files (Files are over 200kb threshold and contain non-text elements.)
  • Old and new versions are not compatible
  • Complicated functioning and advanced operations
  • Corruption or damage of the storage media that used to save Word document

Windows Fixes - The File Cannot Be Opened Because There Are Problems with the Contents

Getting an error prompt, 'The file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents' is quite common when you try to open your office documents like .docx or .xml files. On this page, we have created three solutions, including a third-party Word file recovery software to help! Now, you can opt for any solution accordingly.

Fix1. Use Open and Repair Feature 

The Word built-in "Open and Repair" feature can probably fix the issue of corruption detected on the document.

Step 1. Start Word.

Step 2. On the "File" menu or the Microsoft Office button, click "Open".

Step 3. In the Open dialog box, click to select the blank Word file.

Step 4. Click the down arrow on the "Open" button, and then click "Open and Repair".

The file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents

Fix2. Use Google Doc 

Step 1. Send the corrupted Word file to your Gmail account. 

Step 2. Click the attachment to open it in the Google Docs previewer.

Step 3. Click "Open With Google Docs". The document should open and be viewable.

Step 4. Click "File" > "Download As" > "Microsoft Word (.docx)".

Step 5. Use Microsoft Word to open the document you just downloaded.

fix the file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents with google

Fix3. Use Word Recovery Software 

If the above two direct solutions don't work and the problem still exists when you open the Word document, you can continue troubleshooting with EaseUS disk data recovery to retrieve and repair damaged or corrupted DOCX files of MS Office 2019/ 2016/ 2013/ 2010/ 2007. It is highly recommended to get rid of the error "Word cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents" from your Word document. This application resolves all types of error messages that Word file shows while viewing its contents.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Step 1. Choose the Word file location

Choose the drive or a specific folder and click the "Scan" button.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Locate your Word files

The software will start immediately scanning all lost data on the selected drive. After the scan, click the "Documents" option in the left panel. Choose "Word" from the category bar. Then, click "Preview".

scan word files

Step 3. Recover Word files

After previewing the lost Word files, select the desired Word files and click "Recover". Then, select a folder to store the Word files.

select word documents and recover

Except for file recovery, EaseUS data recovery software is capable of recovering lost files from formatted disk/partition, emptied recycle bin, lost partition, damaged/corrupted hard drive, etc. 

Don't miss: How to recover unsaved Word documents on Windows 10

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Mac Fixes - The File Cannot Be Opened Because There Are Problems with the Contents

What if you are a Mac user? How to fix the file that cannot be opened or changed? The error indicates that Live doesn't have the required permissions to access the file. It happens when you are trying to open or save files on the same machine, or an external hard disk, or any other location with restricted access rights. You fail to open files because the current user account doesn't have read/write permissions for the content of other user accounts on your Mac. You can fix this error with the solutions below:

Solution 1. Edit the User Account Permissions

Step 1. In Finder, select the folder that contains the affected file.

Step 2. Hit cmd Apple + I  to open the Info dialog for this folder.

Step 3. In the "Sharing & Permissions" tab, assign "Read & Write" to your current user account.

Step 4. Hit "apply" to enclosed items so that all other sub-folders are also read/write enabled for your user account.

fix the file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents on mac

Solution 2. Restart your Mac in Safe Mode

Another way to fix this error is to boot into safe mode and fix the error. Here's how:

Step 1. Turn off your Mac. Then, turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key.

Step 2. Keep holding the Shift key until you see the login screen, then release the key.

Step 3. Log in (you may need to log in a few times). Then, try opening a file using Preview in safe mode, does it work?

boot into safe mode to fixthe file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents on Mac

Conclusion

The file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents error can be solved with these solutions on Windows 10/8/7 and macOS. If you still have problems, you can contact us to get additional help.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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