Stellar Knowledge Base

How to Resolve the Error 'Word was unable to read this document. It may be corrupt'

 Modified on: February 9, 2017 |    60879 views

MS Word is a largely used application of MS Office suite. Computer users of different cadres use this application at different levels. For example, students use it for doing their assignments, whereas professionals use it for maintaining the documentation of their work. Despite its usability, the files created with this application (the document files) often get corrupt. An error message that a MS Word 2003 user gets when his Word document gets corrupt is:

"Word was unable to read this document. It may be corrupt"

Generally, this Word document error message occurs when your Word document gets corrupt. Mentioned below are some of the common reasons for corruption in Word document file:


  • Virus infection
  • Unsupported version of MS Word
  • Many times, the word document gets corrupt when you transfer it from one computer to another.

Resolution: You can try any of the below-mentioned resolutions to fix this error message:

Change the File Extension: The file extension supported by MS Word 2003 is .doc. So, check the extension of your Word document file and ensure whether it is .docx or not. If this is so, then go to 'File >> Save As' and save the file with .doc extension, and then try to open it.

Checkout the Service Pack: If your file has the correct file extension, but you still are facing the same problem, then make sure that your file has Office 2003 installed and that it has Service Pack 3. If you do not have this service pack installed, then obtain it for Office 2003.

Try 'Open and Repair': The 'Open and Repair' option of MS Word application facilitates repairing a corrupt Word document. Follow the below mentioned steps to use this utility:

  • Go to 'File' menu and click 'Open'.
  • Select the file that you want to open by a single click; however, do not double-click the file.
  • In place of clicking 'Open', click the small arrow provided at the 'Open' button and select 'Open and Repair' option.

By following these steps, MS Word will repair your corrupt Word document and open it for you.

Professional Word Repair Utility: If none of the above-mentioned resolutions are able to do the needful for you, then use of a professional Word file repair software is recommended. Efficient Word recovery software repairs your corrupt Word document and restores its data without causing any kind of loss. Stellar Word repair software is one such utility that repairs corrupt MS Word files without altering their original formatting.


2 User Comments

I get a message Invalid file format when attempting to open a recovered file.


Chris Freels




We understand the inconvenience caused to you.

Kindly let us know whether you have recovered this word file by our recovery software or by third party software.

If you have recovered by our software and if there is no preview is available of the same in our recovery software as well, it means file is fragmented.

You may try our Word Repair software in order to repair this corrupted file.

Please installed demo version from the below link.

Once you satisfied with preview results, you may purchase the software in order to save repaired file.

Moreover, you may submit ticket using below link for getting further assistance:


Technical Support
Stellar Data Recovery


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