How to Convert Unreadable Files to Word

By Adrian Grahams

Any computer file can incur damage and become unreadable as the result of a hardware crash or software problem. Once a file has become unreadable, you will not be able to open the document to view or edit it in the usual way. To ensure that you don't lose the information in the document, you can try to recover the text from the unreadable file. Microsoft Word includes a useful tool that converts and recovers the text from damaged Word and non-Word files. You can access the conversion and recovery utility from the "Advanced" settings in Microsoft Word.

Convert an Unreadable Non-Word File

Step 1

Launch Microsoft Word. Click "File" in the top navigation menu then select "Options" from the context menu.

Step 2

Click the "Advanced" tab in the Options box. Click the check box beside "Confirm File Format Conversion on Open" to select and tick this option. Click the "OK" button.

Step 3

Click "File" in the top navigation menu, then select "Open" from the context menu.

Step 4

Select "Recover Text From any File" from the pull-down file type list at the bottom of the "Open" window.

Step 5

Find the unreadable file that you want to convert to Word. Click the document to highlight and select it. Click "Open." Microsoft Word will convert and recover the text so that you can read and edit it.

Convert an Unreadable Word File

Step 1

Launch Microsoft Word.

Step 2

Click "File" and select "Open" from the context menu.

Step 3

Select "Recover Text From any File" from the pull-down file type list at the bottom of the "Open" window.

Step 4

Find the unreadable file that you want to convert to Word. Click the document to highlight and select it.

Step 5

Click "Open." Microsoft Word will convert and recover the text so that you can read and edit it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although the utility will convert and recover the text from any document or file, you will lose any formatting, style or embedded graphics. You can add these again once you've recovered and opened the file in Word.