Word 2007 - Unable to read the document - Corrupt?

By ScottyCat ·
This is a question and also has a workaround in it, however I would like to tap the knowledge so I don't have to use the workaround. This is my original post on another forum.
I open a Word 2002 document in Word 2007 with the intention of doing a 'Save
as' and then working on the newly saved document with information pertaining
to the person intended to receive the information. This type of task is for
itineraries and not suitable for mail merge. I do this maybe 3 times a week.

Lately I have been getting the error message 'Unable to read the document.
It may be corrupt. Try the following....'
This has caused loss of data and obviously time re-doing the whole document.

I discovered that if I follow the steps below I will corrupt the document 50% of the time.
* Open donor document.
* Save As
* Copy a table from either Excel or the web(using IE7 - Does not happen with FireFox)
* Paste into the the newly saved document
* Keep on working in the document
* Save new document and close.
Opening the new document will have the error message.

If I change the sequence to:-
* Open donor document.
* Save As
* Close the new document.
* Open then new document.
* Then work on the document with cut and paste tables etc
* Save then close
Opening will be fine.

This is both a question to get more people to help with discovering why and under what circumstances this happens and is also a workaround for other people in this circumstance.

Questions are:
Why with tables?
Why with Word 2002 formatted documents? These documents have Artwork borders, pictures cut from the web and different fonts (Publisher would be more suitable but who has the $ for 11 copies when you are a charity organisation?)
Why only 50% of the time?
Why does it fail with IE7 as a browser for a table copy but not FireFox?
Is there something in Word 2007 registry/options that closes neatly when you
close the document, but does not if you just do a save without closing?

Love to hear from MS on this one. I would love to hear from any one!
Answer to first post from Beth Melton.

Well, I doubt you'll be hearing from Microsoft on this, they don't hang out in the newsgroups. :-)

Is this the document you start with the same each time? If so, then can you reproduce this error on other documents? If not, then it sounds as though some corruption lies in the donor document you are using to start the
others - it's just not showing up until later. (Is there are reason your donor document isn't a template so new files can be based on the template instead of the need to use Save As?)

See if this improves the situation, in the Open dialog box, select your donor document, click the arrow next to Open and then click Open and Repair.

Is there a reason these are stored in the old file format? There are many factors in document corruption when working with the old binary file types, tables are an element that are known to have instabilities. The version of
Word used to create the file doesn't really matter, Word 97-2003 uses the same binary file format.

The new XML format is much more stable and an added bonus is the file sizes are smaller. If a document saved in the Word 2007 format contains corruption then Word will be able to recover document excluding the corruption. That
means less work in document recovery. :-)

If the previous suggestion doesn't work, to use the Open and Repair option, then I would convert the file to the new format by clicking the Microsoft Office Button and then clicking Convert. If you need to retain the Word
97-2003 file format, after it's converted and saved, then save it as the Word 97-2003 format.

I know this doesn't answer your questions about why tables and why Excel or IE7 but unless something such as this can be reproduced on any document then more often than not no one really knows why.

Please post all follow-up questions to the newsgroup. Requests for assistance by email cannot be acknowledged.

Beth Melton
Thanks Beth, but no Cigar.

To answer some of your questions/responses.

It is not the same donor document opened each time. I thought it might be this and tried many others and then tried to analyse why some would fail but others wouldn't. There was no discernible pattern except that the consistent
failures had artistic borders and cut and pastes from the web. Plain text with headers & footers seemed to be OK but then as a 1st, 2nd & 3rd level support I do not have the time to investigate every document.

The repair option was the first port of call. In its own style the MS message basically said 'go forth and multiply with this document'.

Why are they stored in the old format? Well we upgraded to 2007 about 1 month ago (thanks to MS giving us donor copies through their charity arm) so all our documents are in the old format. Staff know that docx is better, however most of these itineraries go to people who would not have upgraded, hence when you do a 'save as' it saves it in the format of the 'donor' document.

Why isn't the document opened from a 'Template'? There are many reasons why
not. Mostly that no itineries are the same. Some run to two pages some to 7
or 8 with differing info, so a document close to what will happen now is
used. If a template was used you would get a border, welcome message and some
contact details the same. Every thing else would have to be cut and pasted
from other documents taking more time. This not to say that 25+ templates
could not be created.

Thanks for you input.
As there is a workaround I am not loosing too much sleep on this - it is
just annoying and anything to help others in the same place as I was is worth


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All Answers

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We woould not buy MS if it were not a monopoly

by I In reply to Word 2007 - Unable to rea ...

The only solution you have is to use OpenOffice (used to be StarOffice) on any Linux machine and open it. Then you should be able to open without a problem at least.

In my opinion, the Windows OS and the MS office should be frozen at Windows XP and MS Office 2003.

My ID "" is obviously a joke.



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Why does it have to be a Linux machine ???

by OldER Mycroft In reply to We woould not buy MS if i ...

Why not use Open Office on a PC ?

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Or even

by Tig2 In reply to Why does it have to be a ...
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And, why bother to reply if.....

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to We woould not buy MS if i ...

you don't have a solution to the current problem. Suggesting they switch applications isn't necessarily a solution. It's an oppinion.

If you don't have a solution to the problem, then don't answer. Take your oppinions to the discussion forum.

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Must you copy n paste from the web?

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to Word 2007 - Unable to rea ...

Not sure what it is that you're copying, but is it possible to copy from the web, paste it into Notepad to remove the HTML formatting, then copy from Notepad to Word and adjust the formatting there? Or, if it's table data, copy from Notepad into Excel, then copy from Excel into Word?

The reason I'm asking is because copying directly from the Web into a document creates so much background formatting information, including links to where you're copying from, that it often confuses the document when a Save As is performed. If you can elliminate the path directly from the web to the document, it MAY solve the entire problem.

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Copy & Paste from Web - a must have!

by ScottyCat In reply to Must you copy n paste fro ...

Thanks thumbsup2. What we do is print itineraries for sick kids with a life threatening illness (that is what we as a charity do to help - only one aspect) so that they can enjoy their travel that we provide. In some cases it is a simple as what a travel agent provides, in others because there are different circumstances (wheelchairs, medical equipment etc) cut and pasting from the web is required for maps or pictures of what to look for or hotel provided info so that it is all in one document.

If I was not forced to use IE7 I wouldn't but so many web pages still only work properly with IE the staff have to use that.

Thanks for posting something useful unlike the previous opinionated zealots who just clog forums like this.

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There is a solution if u only want the text of the corrupted file

by lichtseeker2000 In reply to Word 2007 - Unable to rea ...


I experienced the same problem with Word 2007. But I thought it was because I used a cracked version of MS Word. I see I'm not the only one experiencing this and I was doing the same thing by cut/copy and paste from the web.
But here is a solution if u want to save 90% of the text. Try opening the file with MS Notepad. This method I used because I wasn't planning to do the text all over again.
I hope this helps and those MS people are forcing us to use the 2007 Office.


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Great workaround

by schoolwebsites In reply to Word 2007 - Unable to rea ...

Thanks for the workaround. I've found the same problem also occurs for me but under different circumstances. Here are the steps I've been following:
* Open a Word 2002 document in Word 2007
* Edit it including adding comment tags.
* Save using compatibility mode (Word 2002)

File is corrupted about 50% of the time and unable to be opened by either Word 2002 or Word 2007. Have lost many hours of work this way. "Open and Repair" doesn't work and "Recover from any file" puts me further back than where I started.

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Word 2007 Corrupt file fix?

by ScottyCat In reply to Great workaround

We have upgraded to SP1 of Office 2007 and this corruption has not occurred since.
One wonders what Microsoft did in their patching!

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Libnks to Freeware and Free Services for Recovering Corrupt Word DOCX Files

by socrtwo In reply to Word 2007 - Unable to rea ...

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