Nothing is more frustrating than working on a Word document only for it to be corrupted. A corrupt file can’t be opened, making it impossible to edit or print out.

But there’s no reason to lose hope. In this guide, we’ll go through all the ways to recover your Word file and bring it back to normal.

Why Was My File Corrupted?

There are a number of reasons why a file gets corrupted. It could be due to a power interruption. It could also be because you removed the storage device where the file is saved and bypassed the safely remove option.

It’s also possible for the storage device itself is damaged.

How to Recover Corrupt Word Documents

Note: Before using any of the data recovery methods listed below, create a copy of the corrupt Word file and place it in a safe location in your computer.

Repair Word File Using Microsoft Word

Word has a built-in tool for fixing corrupt files. In most cases, this should be enough to fix the problem.

Open Microsoft Word and go to File > Open. Locate and select the corrupt file. But instead of opening the file as normal, use the drop-down menu and select Open and Repair instead.

Word will try to repair the file and open it afterward. If that does not work, try to repeat the process — only this time, select Recover Text From Any File from the drop-down menu to replace All Word Documents.

Recover Text Using 7-Zip

7-Zip is free software that’s used to compress or uncompress files. The idea for this method is to use the program to get the text from the corrupt file using 7-Zip File Manager.

First, you must download and install 7-Zip. Open done, open the program. Search for your file and select it.

Click Extract. A window will pop up. You can set a destination or use the default save location. Click OK to continue.

7-Zip will create a folder in the location you specified. The folder will have the same name as the corrupt file.

Open the folder and double-click the Word subfolder. Inside you’ll find an XML file labeled Document.

Open any web browser and open the Document file there. This would reveal the text inside the corrupt file.

Note: A corrupt file would look messy by nature and not structured like a typical XML file.

From here, you can copy the text and paste it onto a new Word document.

Always Have a Backup Copy

The best way to ensure that you don’t run into this kind of issue is by having a backup file.

You can create a copy of your Word document and upload it to a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

As an added bonus, you can edit the uploaded Word files and edit them anytime as long as you have a stable internet connection.

You can also have Word create a backup copy automatically by configuring its settings.

Go to File > Options > Advanced. Locate the Save subsection and tick Always Create Backup Copy.

Having a contingency in place will spare you from the headache that comes along with corrupted documents.