How Do I Decode an Encoded Word Document?

By Tricia Goss

Microsoft Word 2013 provides the option of encoding text in files. People who share documents over the Internet with people who work in other languages, or with people using different computer systems, may use this feature to store the text as numeric values to ensure their recipients can download and use the files. If you open an encoded file and see only gibberish, Word did not detect the document's encoding standard correctly. Specifying the encoding standard will resolve this issue.

Step 1

Click the "File" tab and select "Options." Select the "Advanced" tab in the left pane.

Step 2

Scroll down to the General section. Select the "Confirm File Format Conversion on Open" check box and click "OK."

Step 3

Close the encoded file and reopen it. The Convert File dialog box appears. Select "Encoded Text" and click "OK."

Step 4

Choose the "Other Encoding" button and select an encoding standard in the list, which will display a preview of the text as it will appear using this standard. When you find the standard that correctly decodes the text, click "OK" to convert the file to a readable document.

Tips & Warnings

  • If all of the text appears as the same symbol repeated, such as a page of boxes or dots, you may not have the font installed that the creator of the document used. Installing that font should resolve the issue.