We experienced this particular problem very recently with a Word document that several people were collaborating on. The document was returned to us from a review cycle, and it lost most of its very intricate formatting.
In this case, the issue may have been the result of a .docx document being saved in compatibility mode (as a .doc file), but we were unable to duplicate the problem with other similar documents. In this particular instance, the styles were corrupted, and many of the styles reverted to the default Microsoft Office 2007 default font (Calibri) with basic formatting, but some of the styles their attributes, like file size and spacing, while other attributes were lost.
Reformatting was not an option, because it was a 50 page document, and we did not have the time to do this. The most efficient solution was to import the styles from a previous (healthy) copy of the document.
1. Click on the Manage Styles button on the Styles sidebar.
2. Click on the Import/Export button at the bottom of the Manage Styles window.
3. When the Organizer window pops up, click on the Styles tab. On one side of the window, choose the file that has lost its formatting. Once you’ve chosen the correct file, it will display a list of all of the available styles. On the other side of the window, choose the known good file, and a list of its styles will appear.
4. Highlight all of the styles in the known good document, and click the Copy button (which will display an arrow directed toward the corrupt document’s styles), and Word will copy all of the styles from the good document to the document having problems. When Word prompts you to copy over existing styles, make sure you do that. This will replace the styles that have changed with the original styles.
5. Once you have confirmed that the document styles have been repaired, save the document as a new .docx file.
Even though we used this technique to rescue the formatting on a document and save hours of reformatting, you can use this same technique to copy formatting from one document to another.
For instance, if you created a document with styles you really liked, and you wanted to merge some of those styles into another document, you can use this technique to copy the styles from one document to another.
Instead of choosing all of the styles, you would only choose the ones you wanted to duplicate in the other document, and copy them over (overwriting the existing files if deemed necessary to do so).
This is an easy way to merge your favorite styles from several documents into one document, and you can also use this technique to copy your favorite styles into your Microsoft Word Normal.dot(m) file for everyday use.