Word Found Unreadable Content on Mac, Can I Recover the Word Document

This article will introduce effective ways to fix the Word found unreadable content on Mac error. Install the professional Word document recovery software, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac Pro, to recover your problematic Word files!

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Word document is a commonly used text editing tool at work that you will inevitably use. However, many Mac users have reported that they have encountered Word recognizes unreadable content. If you just open a Word document for editing and suddenly receive an error message that Word found unreadable content on your Mac, this must be a very unpleasant experience.

I am receiving the above message when I try to open a Word document. The file type is .docx, and the full message is 'Word found unreadable content in (file name).docx. Do you want to recover the contents of this document? If you trust the source of this document, click Yes.'

And after you click the "Yes" option, it will show you the information that:

Word experienced an error trying to open the file. Try these suggestions:

  1. Check the file permissions for the document or drive.
  2. Make sure there is sufficient free memory and disk space.
  3. Open the file with the Mac Text Recovery converter.

Suppose Word found unreadable content on your Mac; don't worry! We will introduce effective methods to solve this problem in this guide.

Word Found Unreadable Content on Mac - Possible Causes

This error message "Word found unreadable content on Mac" usually appears when a Word file is corrupted or infected with malware. However, there are several other reasons why the above error may be displayed, and your Word document may become inaccessible.

Check out the possible causes of unreadable content in a Word file:

  • 😰Your Mac has encountered a virus attack: the Word document is corrupted, resulting in loss of content of the file and unreadability.
  • ⚠️Accidental crash of the Word program: An accidental crash of the Word program, or not exiting correctly the last time you edited the document, can lead to errors in the file.
  • ❌Bad sectors on Mac hard disk: These bad sectors may corrupt the data on the drive and make your Word document inaccessible.

After learning the possible causes, we will introduce 4 effective ways to fix corrupted files on Mac, which fix the unreadable content of Word files. But before we show you the four practical fixes, it's suggested that you recover your Word document with unreadable content first. Keep reading!

Recover Word Documents with Unreadable Content on Mac

Imagine a Word document you have been working on for weeks suddenly prompted, "Word found unreadable content". How big the panic is!

Can you get the unreadable Word content back? The answer is yes; we recommend that once the Word app finds unreadable content, you should stop editing the Word document with unreadable content and install the powerful file recovery software EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac Pro to recover the Word document, which also can recover unsaved Word documents on Mac without AutoRecovery.

This professional file recovery software can recover unsaved Word documents on a Mac and repair Word documents with unreadable content. With this text recovery converter, you can recover the Word document with only three steps!

Take a look:

Note: You can create a backup by clicking the "Disk Backup" on the left first. The software will recover the document from the backup image. It can prevent further damage to your disk and data, making it safer and more reliable.

Step 1. Scan for lost documents

Select the location where your important Word/Excel/PPT/Numbers/Pages documents were lost and click "Search for lost files".

select a location and scan for lost documents on Mac

Step 2. Find lost documents on Mac

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately start a scan on your selected disk volume. Meanwhile, the scanning results will be presented in the left pane. Select "Documents" and you can quickly filter the DOC/PDF/PPT/XLS files you've lost earlier.

choose the lost documents

Step 3. Recover lost/deleted documents

Select the target files and preview them by double-clicking them. Then, click "Recover" to get lost documents back at once.

recover lost documents from Mac

Share this article on social media to help others protect their files in case of sudden data loss.


How to Fix Word Found Unreadable Content on Mac

In this part, we will show you four proven methods to fix the Word found unreadable content on a Mac issue; take a look!

Fix 1. Check the Word Document Permission

Sometimes, Word documents prompt that it finds unreadable content because the document is set to read permissions. In order to check whether it is a permissions problem causing the Word document content to be unreadable, you need to refer to the following steps:

Step 1. Right-click the Word document and opt for the "Properties" tab.

Step 2. Select the "General" tab, uncheck the "Read-only" option, and save the changes by clicking "Apply" and "OK".

If the Word document is stored on an external hard drive, you should check the hard drive permission. Read this article to fix the permission issues.

mac external hard drive read only

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Fix 2. Use the Recovery Feature in the Word App

When you encounter the Word found the unreadable content problem and want to open and repair a DOCX file on Mac, you can follow the steps below to fix the error:

Step 1. Launch the Word app on your Mac.

Step 2. Click "File > Open" and find the drop-down menu titled "Enable".

Step 3. Click "Recover Text from Any File" to recover your Word document.

Do you know AutoRecovery Word on Mac? Even if you accidentally click the "Don't Save" option when exiting a Word document, you can recover it.

accidentally pressed don't save on Word Mac

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Fix 3. Reinstall the Word App on Your Mac

If you have not just one file with unreadable content but multiple Word documents with this problem, then you should be alerted that perhaps there is a problem with your Word program, such as Word crashing on a Mac. You should uninstall the Word app first and pay attention to saving your editing documents. Then, open the App Store on your Mac and reinstall the Word app.

Fix 4. Restore the Word Document from the Time Machine

Apart from the above three methods, you can recover the previous version of the Word document on a Mac from a Time Machine backup. Check out the following steps:

Step 1. Go to "Applications" on your Mac, and open "Time Machine".

Open Time Machine backup.

Step 2. Scroll the time and date to find the backup.

Step 3. Select the Word document and click "Restore" to retrieve the old versions.

Restore previous version of lost document from Time Machine backup.

Here's an article that guides you to fix the Time Machine backup that is not visible.

Time Machine backups not visible on Mac

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There are multiple solutions to fix the Time Machine backup not visible on Mac, such as restarting in safe mode. Read more >>


This article introduces four ways to fix the Word found unreadable content on Mac, including checking permission, using the Recovery feature, reinstalling the Word app, and restoring the file from Time Machine. To protect your file security, install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac Pro to recover your Word documents.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her game experience on Facebook or Twitter.

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