How to Change Encoding in Word

By Casey Anderson

Properly encoding a Word text file ensures that when someone opens the file in another program, it will appear readable. This is particularly important if you share files that are composed using different applications and languages. Without encoding, a document may end up as a garbled mess if the program you use to open it doesn't use the same language. There are two ways to encode a document in Microsoft Word 2013: when you first open a file, and when you save a file.

Encoding When Opening

Step 1

Click the "File" menu in Word, choose "Options" from the list, and then click "Advance."

Step 2

Check the box next to "Confirm File Format Conversion" under the section marked "General." Close the text file, and then reopen it.

Step 3

Choose "Encoded Text" in the Convert File dialog box that appears.

Step 4

Select "Other Encoding," and then choose the encoding standard you'd like to use from the list of options. Click "Preview" to see what the file text will look like.

Encoding While Saving

Step 1

Click the "File" tab, select "Save As," and then choose where you would like the file to be saved on your computer.

Step 2

Type the name of your document in the box marked "File Name." Click the down arrow next to the Save As box, and then select "Plain Text."

Step 3

Click "Save" to open the File Conversion window.

Step 4

Select the type of encoding under "Text Encoding." Choose "Windows (Default)" to use standard encoding, "MS-DOS" for older DOS-based documents or "Other Encoding" to choose from an additional list of options.

Step 5

Check the Preview box in the window to see if the encoding has made the text readable. Click "OK."

Tips & Warnings

  • When using the Save method, any text marked in red in the Preview window may not be encoded correctly, in which case choose a different encoding type.