Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Determining if a Document is Corrupt.

Determining if a Document is Corrupt

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 27, 2021)

Vivian noted that there are times she suspects that a document may be corrupt, but she doesn't really know for sure. This leads her to wonder if there is an easy way to verify the integrity of a document or to easily tell if a document is corrupt.

The short answer is that there is no way to easily tell if a document is corrupted. The internal structure of Word documents is quite complex, and complexity always presents the possibility of corruption. The severity of the corruption can manifest itself in different ways. Some problems may result in a minor "glitch" (such as a character or two changing in a document) that can be easily corrected. Other problems may result in document instability or, in severe cases, a document that is completely unusable.

If you suspect a document is corrupt and you can still open the document, these steps represent the "tried and true" first line of trying to recover the document:

  1. Open the corrupt document.
  2. Create a brand-new document.
  3. Switch to the corrupt document.
  4. Press Ctrl+A. This selects the entire document.
  5. Hold down the Shift key as you press the Left Arrow key. This makes sure that the very last character in the document (the ending paragraph mark) is not selected.
  6. Press Ctrl+C. This copies the selected portion of the document to the Clipboard.
  7. Switch to the new document (the one created in step 2).
  8. Press Ctrl+V. The contents of the Clipboard are pasted into the blank document.
  9. Save the new document.
  10. Close the document you suspect is corrupted.

There is something else you can try, as well. When you are attempting to open a document, you'll normally find yourself staring at the Open dialog box. Use the controls in the dialog box to locate the file you think is corrupted, then click the down arrow at the right of the Open button. In the resulting options, choose Open and Repair.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13284) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Determining if a Document is Corrupt.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Excluding a Specific Add-In at Startup

Got an add-in that you don't want loaded each time that Excel starts up? Here's a few ways that you can exclude it.

Discover More

Wrapping Text Around a Graphic

Place a graphic in your document, and you may want to make sure that your document text "wraps" around the edges of the ...

Discover More

Faster Text File Conversions

Want to make your importing of text data faster than ever? Here are some ideas you can apply right away.

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Incorrect Page Counts Shown in Status Bar

A common statistic to see on the status bar is what page number you are working on in your document. If the page numbers ...

Discover More

Setting a Document Naming Convention

Want your document file names to follow a specific naming convention? Word doesn't provide a direct way to set up your ...

Discover More

Opening a Word Document when Starting the Computer

Some people use their computers for little else, other than to work on Word documents. If that is the case with you, then ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.