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How to Recover Severely Corrupted Word File According to Different Scenarios (Can Open or Cannot Open)

Find answers on this page to how to recover severely corrupted Word file that can open or cannot open in Word 2003 ~ Word 2019 and Word included with Microsoft 365.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

Table of Contents

word corrupted image

Corruption issues in Microsoft Word are not strange at all. Compared with lost Word file recovery, which some professional file recovery software can do well, repairing a corrupted file asks for more patience and skills. The more severely the File gets damaged, the more complex the file content can be restored. Despite that, for a corrupted Word .doc/.docx file, there are still some fixable ways available. To help you fully understand how to recover severely corrupted Word files in Windows 10/8.1/8/7 with confidence, we divide the event into two scenarios followed by corresponding solutions:

Scenarios Step-by-step Troubleshooting
The Corrupted Word Does Not Open Fix 1. Open the File in Draft mode...Full steps
Fix 2. Open with "Recover Text from Any File"...Full steps
Fix 3. Open the File in a new document...Full steps
Able to Open but Data Corrupt Fix 4. Use the Open and Repair Word Tool...Full steps
Fix 5. Copy content to a new document...Full steps
Fix 6. Start Word from default settings...Full steps
Fix 7. Adopt the document view...Full steps

What Makes A Word Document Corrupt - Badly?

Anytime you cannot open a file normally, you should suspect file corruption. In addition, even you can open the File, but data shows weried character or the File turns blank, indicating that the file data has been partially or entirely damaged. How did you note the file problem? Have you ever done the following things before the event? If yes, that's probably the reason.

  • Abrupt Power failure or system shutdown while editing, downloading, or transferring the File.
  • Change the Word file format too frequently from one format to the other
  • Read/write the Word file on a hard drive with too many bad sectors
  • The computer has been infected by malware and viruses
  • The Microsoft Word application crashed or froze

How to Manually Repair Severely Corrupted Word with 7 Simple Tricks

There is no guaranteed way to 100% protect a computer file from being lost or ruined unless making a real-time backup. When you happen to receive an error reporting the File in Word has been corrupted, you should take the right action to repair the corruption without delay.

Scenario #1. The Word File Does Not Open from the start

The error followed by a Word file you cannot open at the moment is usually about "The file is corrupt and cannot be opened." The given four solutions are generally helpful to fix this kind of not opening issue.

Fix 1. Open the File in Draft mode

  • Open Word and navigate to View and then Draft
  • Select File > Options > Advanced
  • First, find the Show document content section, check the box in front of Use draft font in Draft and Outline views, and Show picture placeholders.

open word in draft mode to fix severely corrupted word file

  • Go on scrolling down to the section of General, uncheck the options of Update automatic links at open and select OK and then close Word.
  • Restart Word and select the damaged document to open

Fix 2. Open the File with "Recover Text from Any File"

Do not use the double click method to open the File because it will prevent you from opening it correctly in Word. Instead, use the available feature in Word like this.
  • Open Word and go to File> Open > Browse.

use the recover text from any file feature to fix severely corrupted word file

  • Select the problematic Word document by navigating to its file location and select Recover Text from Any File (*.*) from the dropdown menu
  • Click Open

Fix 3. Insert the File in a new document

This method takes two procedures of [1] creating a new Word file [2] Insert the damaged document content into the new document. 

  • Select the File menu, and then select New
  • Select Blank document, and then select Create
  • On the Insert tab, select Insert Object, and then choose Text From File.

insert the damaged file in a new document to fix a corrupted word file

  • In the Insert File dialog box, locate and select the damaged document. Then, choose Insert.

insert the damaged file in a new document

Scenario #2. Able to Open the Word File but Data Corrupt

The other case is that you can open the File in a usual way in Word but stop by some unspecified errors. The content may consist of unreadable characters and the formatting and layout are in a mass. You must use different methods to tackle this kind of issue.

Fix 4. Use the Open and Repair Word Tool

  • In Word, select File on the Ribbon, and then select Open
  • In the Open dialog box, click once to highlight your Word document
  • Select the arrow on the Open button, and then choose Open and Repair

use open and repair to fix severely corrupted word file

Fix 5. Copy content except for the last paragraph to a new document

* Keep in mind one critical step: Copy only the text between the sections breaks if your document contains section breaks. Do not copy the section breaks.

  • In Word, select File and then choose New
  • Select Blank document, and then select Create
  • Next, choose File and then select Open
  • Select the damaged paper, and then select Open
  • Copy the contents of the document, and then paste the contents into the new document

Fix 6. Start Word from default settings

Run Word using the default settings can exclude the factors of some add-in and NOrmal.dotm template issues that cause your Word file from constantly corrupting.

  • Close all the Word documents on your PC
  • Press Windows+R keys to open Run
  • Type winword.exe /a and click OK

open word from default settings to fix severely corrupted word files

  • Once Word opens up, go to File and click on Open
  • Browse to the damaged Word file and click on Open

Fix 7. Adopt the document view to remove damaged data

If the pages of a document are truncated, it may help remove the damaged content by switching the document view. First of all, open the corrupted Word file and scroll down page by page to check which page number (try to write it down on a notebook) has damaged content that is causing the document to be truncated. Then, switch views to remove the damaged content as follows.

  • On the View tab in the Document Views group, select Web Layout or Draft view.

switch document view to fix severely corrupted word file

  • Scroll to view the content that was displayed before the document appeared to be truncated
  • Select and delete the next paragraph, table, or object in the File
  • On the View tab in the Document Views group, select Print Layout. If the document continues to appear to be truncated, continue to switch views and delete content until the File no longer seems to be truncated in the Print Layout view
  • Save the document

Are you having more issues not mentioned on this page? Check the links for further help.

How to Fix A Word File Won't Open After Recovery

After reading through the article, you can easily find answers to how to recover severely corrupted Word files that can open or cannot open in Word 2003 ~ Word 2019 and Word included with Microsoft 365. The given methods are based on manual operations and Microsoft support without using third-party Word repair tools. If you wish to repair Word documents that won't open after recovering, use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your PC. It works primarily as a reliable Word file recovery utility, additionally, with the ability to repair the corrupted Word documents that cannot open or are seemingly broken after recovery.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, and then scan disk with corrupted documents. This software enables you to fix damaged Word, Excel, PPT, and PDF files in same steps. 

select the disk with corrupted documents

Step 2. EaseUS data recovery and repair tool will scan for all lost and corrupted files. You can find the target files by file type or type the file name in the search box. 

find corrupted documents

Step 3. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can repair your damaged documents automatically. After file preview, you can click "Recover" to save the repaired Word, Excel, and PDF document files to a safe location.

repair corrrupt documents

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Approved by Evan Galasso

Evan Galasso is a digital forensics and data recovery engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field. He presents opinions on the current state of storage media, reverse engineering of storage systems and firmware, and electro-mechanical systems of SSDs and HDDs.

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