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office question

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When trying to open a .DOCX file in Word 2013  I receive the following error message:

“there was an error opening the file.”

What can be causing this to happen?

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    WTT Tech Teacher

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Hi Renaud1 and welcome to our forum. There can be many causes, so to try and narrow down the list of possibilities.....please do the following:


1 Try and open the .docx file concerned on a different computer that is known to work well..... can this computer open the file?

2 Can you open any .docx files on your computer using MSOffice 2013?

Let us know the results and we will do our best to help



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    GeekU Admin

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Also, try copying the .docx file and renaming it with a .zip extension E.g. filename.docx => filename.zip


Double-click on it - does it open now?

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If you are still experiencing the issue read more info here 

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When a Word document file is corrupted, then you can try several methods to recover it:

1. First of all, you can try the recovery function integrated with Microsoft Word, as follows:

1) On the File menu, click Open.
2) In the Look in list, click the drive, folder, or Internet location that contains the file that you want to open.
3) In the folder list, locate and open the folder that contains the file.
4) Select the file that you want to recover.
5) Click the arrow next to the Open button, and then click Open and Repair.

You may find more information about this at:

http://support.micro...kb/893672/en-us (for Word 2007/2010/2013)

2. Second, since Word 2003, it provides a "Document Recovery" or "AutoRecover" mechanism so that when Word is shutdown abnormally, the Word file being edited will be recovered when Word is launched next time, which makes the file recovery possible.

See below:


for more detailed information.

3. Third, you may also try OpenOffice to open and repair the corrupted document. OpenOffice is a free and open source software which is compatible with Word document. Sometimes it can open the corrupt document that Word cannot open.

You can get OpenOffice at http://www.openoffice.org/

4. For docx files, they are actually a group of files compressed in Zip file format. Therefore, sometimes, if the corruption is only caused by the Zip file, then you can use Zip repair tools such as WinRAR at http://www.rarlab.comto repair the file, as follows:

4.1 Assuming the corrupt Word file is a.docx, then you need to rename it to a.zip
4.2 Start WinRAR, go to "Tools > Repair Archive" to repair a.zip and generated a fixed file a_fixed.zip.
4.3 Rename a_fixed.zip back to a_fixed.docx
4.4 Using Excel to open a_fixed.docx.

There may still be some warnings when opening the fixed file in Word, just let ignore it and Word will try to open and repair the fixed file. If the file can be opened successfully, then you can just save the contents into another error-free file.

5. If 1, 2, 3 and 4 does not work, then you may try third-party tools such as DataNumen Word Repair at


It provides a free demo version so that you can try to see if the data you want can be recovered or not.

Good luck!

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