Mar 192013

Word 2007 recently balked when re-opening a file I had spent quite some time on, with “The file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents”. Not to worry, I said to myself, the Details>>> button will tell me what’s wrong. I couldn’t have been more wrong, it said “No error detail available”. This is bad programming at its worst. If Word has figured out that the file is unreadable, it must by definition know why it can’t read it; either it can read it or it can’t and it has to know why. If one of my programmers did something like that they’d be enjoying a very long weekend, apparently not the case at Microsoft.

Some Googling later I’d discovered a raft of morons trying either to make me download some virus-riddled software or promising to repair my file for 22$. SavvyCorrupt is a prime example, he has the balls to post on SourceForge, but without publishing the source. TechRepublic has the usual collection of spam links and if you’re really have a soft spot for viruses, you might like to try wordrepairrecovery DOT com, repairmyword DOT com and all the other spammers.

The solution is remarkably simple and little-advertised: Open Office. I installed it and opened my ‘damaged’ docx file with only a slight loss in fidelity; a “Save As .DOC” and I was a happy man.

As our American friends would say, “your mileage may vary”, but it worked perfectly for me.